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.
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.
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.
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!
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.