My daughter loves books, so when it came to making her 1st birthday cake, I looked to her book collection for ideas. The one book that seemed to have the easiest recognizable character to copy was ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. I looked at the other Hungry Caterpillar cakes on this site for ideas and then set to work!

I used two gluten free, low allergen packet mud cakes. I baked one in a Bundt tin (a ring with ridges), and one in a loaf tin. I then cut up the Bundt cake and remodelled it to form the body. One full Bundt cake was just right for that part. I then cut the head from the loaf cake. I’m a bit fussy and not confident in my shaping abilities, so I scanned, enlarged and printed the book cover on 2xA4 sheets of paper, which I used as a template for the shaping, which really helped.

We decided to go with a plain white back ground to look just like the book, so we covered the cake board with white paper and clear contact for ease of cleaning. I joined the cake pieces together using bamboo skewers. For icing I made a double batch of Vienna/butter cream icing.

To save on expense, I used the random collection of food colouring we had in the cupboard and mixed the colours till I had a red for the head, three different greens for the body, and some yellow for the top edge. I tried to swirl the greens to get the rough ‘paint’ look of the book, but that didn’t work well as they blended as I spread the icing. I’d keep them separate next time. I tried to alternate the greens for definition between each caterpillar ‘section’. I then spread a line of yellow along the top edge for the spines to go in.

For the spines I used shredded coconut, which I put into two plastic freezer bags, one with a few drops of red food colouring, the other with blue, and then I rubbed the bags to colour the coconut. I then used tweezers to put the coconut along the top in little groups of red and blue. I made the feet out of caramel fudge, which I shaped like plasticine and attached each with a toothpick. The eyes, nose and antennae were cut out of those chewy jelly frogs, though the eyes needed a bit of yellow icing behind them to keep them looking yellow over the red icing of the head.

The antennae were skewered onto toothpicks and then stuck into the head. We then made a paper sun and cut down a big leaf from the garden for context, and VOILA! My very first decorated cake!