A hungry caterpillar birthday cake
CrashGirl’s first birthday Miffy cake was a mammoth effort. Unfortunately I had set the bar quite high. So, what’s an exhausted mother to do? Make sure I clear that bar! Staying with the favourite book theme we went for Eric Carle’s Hungry Caterpillar.
Sticking to my tried and true method, I did a Google image search. There were so many results, and it didn’t take long to realise the original inspiration seemed to be coming from Coco Cake Cupcakes in Vancouver. Lindsay has a blog which features her Hungry Caterpillar creation. I also found some great biscuits / cookies in the shape of fruit with cute holes in Cake Central’s cake gallery. The crash test kitchen for this project was my own and I was helped by my Dad who helped with icing duties (I had learned my lesson from last time!)
There were no step-by-step instructions for this one. So here’s what I did.
We were going to be catering for 30+ people so a dozen cupcakes in the shape of a caterpillar wasn’t enough. I found a great recipe on Melissa’s Frugal and Thriving blog for a cake batter with over forty variations. I figured it would work for cupcakes too! I made chocolate, carrot and banana muffins. Those that weren’t used for the caterpillar became ladybirds, bees and butterflies. I made a bigger chocolate cake and used some for the caterpillar’s head.
I used the same cream cheese icing as I did for the Miffy cake. Check out the Miffy post for the recipe and tips on how to colour and mix it. For the caterpillar’s body I roughly swirled the colours together to get (a slightly close approximation) of Eric Carle’s wonderful artwork. I used multi-coloured sprinkles for his little spines along his back, and his feet are made from licorice sticks.
I really should have stopped at the caterpillar, but no, I had to:
- make the fruit shaped biscuits which I cut out around cardboard stencils, poked a hole with a drinking straw and iced with royal icing
- include all the foods the caterpillar ate on Saturday!
- turn the extra cupcakes into ladybirds (with chocolate chip spots), bees (with banana chip wings) and butterflies (with strawberry slices for wings)
- bake a whole bunch of other biscuits in the shape of icecreams, flowers and more butterflies
Here’s the spread!
- I was a bit exhausted after this lot!
- I had fun
- Everyone loved it – especially CrashGirl who still talks about it today!
- I still hadn’t learned my lesson – suppose I never will!
My top 5 tips for making this work (not stuffing it up)
- Use empty cupcake cases to work out the shape for your caterpillar on whatever platter or board you have.
- Splash out and buy gel food coloring. Liquid colouring thins out your icing too much. Use a tiny bit on a toothpick to add colour gradually.
- Let go of your perfectionist ways and get some helpers
- Perhaps stick to just one insect and give the ladybirds, bees and butterflies a miss
- Use a bit of royal icing to ‘glue’ the smarties/pebbles onto the plate
This was a quick retrospective crash test. CrashGirl is now 3 and a bit, so there has been another birthday cake since then. I’ll be writing up a quick crash soon on how to make a rainbow 3rd birthday cake.