My beautiful little niece has been touring around New Zealand on holiday from Perth and finally she has made her way to Christchurch, of course her parents are here too but they are not quite as important as my little Sophie Jean. During her travels she turned the big One so of course we had to have a party for her and of course this party means cake, or two.
I had known pretty much since I found out my sister was pregnant that no matter what I wanted to make her babies first birthday cake and I also knew that it had to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar. When my sister was younger, very young she had a very special relationship with our Great Grandmother Jean Brodie, so much that she even named her daughter after her. Sadly she passed away while we were both still very young, I myself have no memories of her but I know my sister has a few and one of them is that book and them reading it together, so it has always been a special book to her, I really wanted to honour that with Sophie's first birthday cake as I am sure it would mean a lot to my sister but also to my Great Grandmother, who we always referred to as Special Nana, who I know watches over us and who I also know would have been at the party.
I had taken a class at The Make Cafe probably over a year ago in preparation to make this cake, it was just to show how to make the caterpillar and some of the food decorations. But I also spent many a hours on Pinterest looking at the different ideas that people had come up with for their cakes. I had planned on making a 2 tier cake, but by the time I stacked up the first tier I started thinking this is just too much cake for our wee party and it might be a tad wasteful so I had to work on my design a bit but I am happy with how it turned out.
After watching a couple of cakes shows this last week I noticed that some of the bakers roll their fondant a lot thicker than I have been doing so I decided with this cake to give it a try and it was brilliant, ok I know my cake is a bit bumpy but that is due to a wee disaster in the removal of the cake from the pans, normally I remove the cakes about 5 minutes after I take them out of the oven but I put them to the side and forgot and they sweated and I had an issue taking them out but despite that this is the first cake in a long time that I have covered and the fondant has not ripped along the top so I am very happy with how it came out and now I am excited to cover my next cake.
I cut out some leaves with a plunger cutter, this cuts the shape and also embosses the leaf so you don't need to use a veining tool or mould to get the texture. Then I cut out the letters for Sophie and "glued" them on with a little bit of water. To make the caterpillar I made up a few different coloured greens and made different sized balls and then I squeezed the end of some of the balls to make a tear drop shape. Using some water I "glued" the pieces together and to make the "hump" to make the caterpillar look like it is moving I used the tear drop pieces and placed them one on top of the other with every second one upside down, I made a smaller caterpillar than I had originally planned as I was only making a single tiered cake. Then I made a larger ball in red and shaped for the head.
I spent a very long time creating all the wee decorations for this cake, but I had so much fun making it that it didn't seem like an arduous task. I know that traditionally The Very Hungry Caterpillar is very bright colours but I wanted to make it a little more feminine so I used some pastel colours. I used a very small round cutter, which actually came from one of my number cutter sets, to cut the coloured circles which I used as a border for the bottom of the cake.
Then I used a larger circle to cut out for the oranges and the apple, using some more of the small purple circles I grouped them together to make a bunch of grapes, to make the pear I used an oval cutter and then shaped the top again using my wee circle cutter and then I smoothed the edges. For the cheese I just cut a triangle and again with my wonderful wee circle cutter, I made random cuts to make the cheese Swiss. The ice cream, I rolled a sausage with the purple and then shaped it and the cone again I just cut a triangle and then used my blade tool to create dents to make it look like a waffle cone. The cupcake was just a cutter, the cake was probably my favourite and that was just cutting a square and then I rolled some thin sausages out of a darker brown and "glued" them on with a small amount of water and rolled a wee circle for the cherry. The lollipop again just rolling sausages and then "glueing" them together then rolling it up.
I used all my leftover coloured fondant and put it altogether and rolled it to make the multi coloured butterflies, but I didn't end up using them as there wasn't room on the cake.
Now it was time to put it all together, this is always the best part! I randomly placed all the circles around the base of the cake, in no particular order and I ended up having enough to make 3 rings. I placed the number 1 right in the middle of the cake and then had fun placing the different food items around the cake, and the wee caterpillar on top.
So for you Special Nana the end result from all angles, I hope you enjoyed watching me make it and then watching everyone and the party enjoy it, we saved you a piece.