Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake

I got an email about doing a cake for a first birthday party. The client and I sent some emails back and forth trying to come up with a cake that would fit her little girl. She sent me a link of a cake she really liked and wanted to replicate. From the link and talking to her we came up with my take on the Very Hungry Caterpillar cake.
Very Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday Cake

I started this by making two 6 inch cakes. I cut both in half and used 3 of the halves to make the head and the last one to carve the butterfly. I filled and stacked the head with Italian buttercream and covered it with red fondant. I bought a tub of the Duff Goldman red fondant and found it to be horrible to use. It was very streaky and did not cover the cake well. I had to recover the head because of this. I used oval cutters for the eyes and inlayed the green into the yellow. I used a circle cutter for the mouth. Since the board was so long, I had to make all the pieces of the cake ahead of time and then assemble on the day it was delivered.
Very Hungry Caterpillar cake head closeup

Next I used a piece of wax paper and cut out the shape I wanted for the butterfly. Using the template I made, I cut out the butterfly and covered it with a layer of buttercream. I originally covered the butterfly in white fondant and placed pieces of colored fondant on top. I didn't really liked the look of the finished butterfly. So I started over and covered it with lavender fondant. Then using the story book as a reference, I added different colored fondant to the wings.
Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake-butterfly closeup

I made the cupcakes the day before delivery so they would stay fresh. I made the same buttercream I used for the cake and divided it in half. I colored one half with leaf green and the other with leaf green and golden yellow. I then put a little of each in the piping bag with a star tip. By doing this I was able to get a very neat swirl pattern on the cupcakes.
Cupcake with swirled green buttercream

Next came assembly! I took the head off the cake round and placed it on the cake board. Then I placed all the cupcakes where I wanted them to make the cupcake train. Once I had everything where I wanted it, I used royal icing to secure it all to the board. Dan and I then placed chocolate jimmies around the edge to represent the hair on the back of the caterpillar. I then placed the butterfly on the board and used the jimmies as the antennae. I didn't like the way the fondant edge looked on the head of the caterpillar, so I added a thin red ribbon around the cake so the bottom looked clean. I made the feet of the caterpillar out of black fondant and secured them with royal icing. I printed out an apple pattern and used it to cut out the apple out of fondant. I free handed the leaf and used a knife to make the veins. I used a round tip to take out a hole in the fondant in both and then filled in with black holes. I colored the remaining royal icing pink to do the writing and eyes on the butterfly. Finally I added the antennae on the butterfly using a wooden dowel and black fondant, and my take on the Very Hungry Caterpillar cake was complete!
Very Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday Cake-left side with appleVery Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday Cake-right side with leaf

1) Add ribbons onto cakes before you secure the cupcakes down. It will be a lot easier
2) Try to picture what the final look will be when you are decorating a cake. I didn't with the butterfly and ended up having to start over because I didn't like the final look the first time.
3) Give yourself extra time when you are using a new product. When I tried the Duff fondant and didn't like it at all, I was glad I gave myself plenty of time to recover the cake with something better.
4) Using cutters and tips to inlay the fondant gives a nice clean look and prevents the fondant from getting too thick.


  1. Lauren Brody-HyettOctober 24, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    This cake is absolutely beatiful and we can't thank you enough!
    Thank you Thank you! It made her birthday party so special.
    She ate like a hungry caterpillar all year and is blossoming into a beautiful butterfly.
    Of course she LOVED eating it (and so did we!)
    You did such an amazing job.
    -Lauren, Dave, Charlie and Amelia

  2. This is a very nice idea! I just love it. This is something my kids would want for their birthday.

  3. That is beautiful! I love it. I'm sure the person who got it loved it too. I sewed a VHC dress for a friend's daughter's birthday. It's on my blog:
    Please visit!
    I was born in PA and lived in Camp Hill for a couple years. I love the countryside in PA.

  4. hey! you did a great job! sorry it took me so long to read your post! thanks so much! ^__^

  5. You have written a fantastic website.

    My webpage - cakes delivered