This cake was inspired by Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This classic children’s book is the perfect theme for a baby shower! The expectant parents are both vegan, but many of the guests at the party are not, so we decided to make the main cake vegan and offer ladybug cupcakes that are not vegan.
This was perfect: it allowed us to carry the theme through with the simple ladybug cupcakes, and to offer a different flavor of cake.
Making the Adornments
To fully incorporate Eric Carle’s theme, I decided to make elements from the book using gum paste and fondant. I’d allow these things to dry so they could be removed from the cake before cutting. Leaving them soft would have worked too, but allowing them to dry enabled me to use decorating dusts on the pieces to add to the artistic theme.
Make the Cake
When you have your pieces made, let them dry for several days against their forms. This will ensure they are rigid against the cake and can be pulled right off before cutting and serving.
This cake is vegan chocolate with vegan vanilla frosting and fondant. Bake your cake and then split and fill it. Each tier has 3 layers of cake with two layers of frosting for filling. Allow these cakes to chill in the fridge while you clean up and roll out your fondant. Covering the cake with fondant instead of buttercream is a matter of preference. I didn’t intend to cover this cake with fondant until the weather was extremely humid! Once I had the coat of frosting on and started to think about the pieces staying on the sides of the cake, I decided that we’d have a crisper look and the pieces would stay nicely if the cake was fondant covered.
Roll out your fondant and cover each tier. Then, use your favorite assembly method for tiering the cakes. You can use plate separators or dowels. This cake is a 6″/9″ and it was only traveling about 4 miles in the car, so I worked with dowels. If you are making a larger cake or traveling a long distance, consider using a system for tiering.
Once your cakes are stacked, it is time for the fun part! Embellish your cake with your pieces. I used decorating chalks to give the caterpillar his depth, added his eyes and other adornments like feet, and used leaf tips to pipe green grass/leaves around the entire bottom edge of the cake. To affix the caterpillar and the sun, I made a vegan royal icing to use as glue. I also used this icing to write “Boy” on the leaf. To add the “It’s A” I used edible markers. I liked the contrast in color between the two.
Lastly, insert your leaf into the cake. I also used a large green straw as support for the leaf. You can’t see this straw from the front of the cake, but it ensures that it stays upright enough to read and have a nice effect.
I was so pleased with the finished cake! It worked with the party’s theme and was a very special centerpiece to welcome a new baby boy into the family. The ladybug cupcakes completed the event with a little bit of fun variety.