The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Cake was made from a basic Victoria sponge recipe (300g Self Raising flour, 300g butter, 300g caster sugar & 6 large eggs). I creamed the sugar and the butter, and then added the eggs and the flour a little at a time. Once mixed, I divided the mixture between a greased ring cake mould (27cm) (USA – bundt tin) and a greased loaf tin (USA – pound tin). The cakes baked for approx 22mins at 180 degrees C. but as every oven is different, it is important to keep a close eye on them and check the consistency with a knife to get that perfect, moist cake. Allow to cool completely on a rack before icing.
I made the shape by using the ring cake for the body (cut in half to get the bendy shape) and cutting the head from the loaf tin. I also took some leftover cake from the loaf tin to extend the tail a little at the end. Once I was happy with the shape, I used butter cream to stick the cake together and to form a moist and smooth base for the icing. I coloured lumps of fondant icing in different greens/turquoise and yellowy-greens, then rolled these into a number of different sections for icing body. I roughly cut these into ovals, triangles, rectangles and hour-glass shapes and laid these on the cake, so that they overlapped one another and there were no gaps.
Once I was happy with the position of a layer, I trimmed any excess from the cake (top and bottom) to ensure a smooth edge. To create the random layered look, I laid these sections over the cake at different points – so that when finished some layers were lower and others were higher – i.e. there was not a consistent layering from left-to-right or right-to-left. The aim was to create a textured and layered look, as in the book.
For the head, I used quite a lot of red dye and laid it over the cake as one piece, then trimmed. The eyes where made of yellow fondant icing for the ‘white’ of the eye, and the iris was made from green fondant icing laid on top. The nose and antenna were also fondant icing – I went for a brown colour, although it is more purple in the book. Finally, the feet were made of jellied sweets with a yellow back (Monkey faces from ASDA). I cut them to the right shape with scissors and stuck them in place with butter cream. Fondant icing would have worked just as well, though.
This was my first attempt at making a novelty cake, and with some ideas from this website and others of my own, I was surprised how easy it was!