The Very Hungry Caterpillar–Cupcakes!

Hi everybody!  Today I am celebrating one of my favorite children’s books–The Very Hungry Caterpillar (by Eric Carle) —

This sweet little hungry guy seems to be making quite a comeback!  Lately I’ve seen birthday party themes, toys, and even Hungry Caterpillar children’s bedding–(See Pottery Barn Kids–The Cutest!!!) —  So, the time has come to cupcake-cake him…. you will love it!

In case you’ve never made a cupcake cake, you’ll want to make sure to add a dot of icing to the bottom of your cupcakes–this will help them to stay put.   Notice the head that I added to the end– it’s a 4″ round.

You’ll also want to stagger your cupcakes so that they are nicely nestled next to each other—we don’t want any large spaces in between.  This feels a bit like assembling a puzzle!

I’ve loaded up my piping bags with a medium consistency crusting buttercream–and fitted them with a piping tip 12.

Here, I’m piping over the cupcakes wtih alternating “stripes”.  I’m somewhat staying within the color scheme of the actual caterpillar from the story–but not exactly. 

Now, I’m smoothing over my slightly crusted buttercream with a piece of a Viva brand paper towel.  This is an optional step, but I like the smooth finish.  Some of my stripes are pretty chunky and thick–I wanted to add a little extra dimension.

Remember when I said that I wasn’t going for the exact look of the caterpillar from the story?  Well… now you’ll really see what I mean.  I love patterns–and I love piping! :0) — I think that our caterpillar needed a little extra pep!

All of my piping is done with a tip 3 or 4– with the exception of the outlined border on top and bottom—that is done with a tip 12.

Now, time to make our caterpillar really look like a caterpillar!  Earlier, I covered my 4″ cake with some pre-colored red fondant.  If you are not a fan of fondant, you could also use buttercream.

That’s all there is too it!  Are you ready?  Here he is!



Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today…, who’s hungry for cupcakes?  ;0)

Category: Animals/Animal Print, Blog Tutorials, Buttercream Techniques, Cupcake, Cake Pop, etc. Methods, Everything Else, Kids, Miscellaneous Kids Themes, Spring, Themes and Occasions


  1. Hevz says: #1

    OMG you are a genius….he looks fantastic xxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Tracy says: #2

    This is gorgeous, Melissa! :)

  3. Tanja says: #3

    Melissa, so very very cute!!!! Thanks for the show-how!!! 😀

  4. cakeamonga says: #4

    very very cute. love the color combo

  5. Christy says: #5

    This is the cutest! This is one of my daughter’s favorite books and we just bought the wall stickers, very cute. I think this will end up being my daughter’s 3rd birthday cake.

  6. Tahira imran says: #6

    A very lovely and cute idea but iwant to know about the crusting buttercream .what is it’s recipe?please reply. Thankyou

  7. JOAN says: #7

    That is too cute

  8. sadia says: #8

    Extremely cute! Loved the tutorial. Thanks.

  9. Cakebaker says: #9

    Love this…thanks for sharing the tutorial..

  10. cake daze says: #10

    wow. really interesting. I think the littleies will love it.

  11. Kathy says: #11

    I love it – easy and very effective. Great tutorial.

  12. Sam McC says: #12

    What a wonderful idea!! My children LOVE the book, I may have to try something like this one time! x

  13. Trish says: #13

    Luvies….big luvies

  14. Brenda says: #14

    I am a teacher by day and this is just adorable!!!!!!

  15. carmalitabonita says: #15

    So darn cute!!

  16. grammaof11 says: #16

    Melisa, he is so cute.

  17. Amy says: #18

    LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Lizzie says: #19

    Wonderful! As a kindergarten teacher I know I will be trying this one out to introduce the unit on The Very Hungry caterpiller!! The kids will be thrilled.

  19. Jayne says: #20

    What a wonderful idea. My 4 year old’s JK class read the book last year and his birthday is in a couple of weeks….cupcakes would be perfect to send to school. Thanks for the idea!!!!

  20. LMTmommy says: #21

    One of my favorite books as well. You are soooo creative…love it!

  21. Lori says: #22

    Absolutely adorable!!! What size board would I need for the caterpillar??

  22. BeBe says: #23

    Hi Lori, we used a 24″ x 24″ board that was covered with a plastic party tablecloth. Our board was from the pre-cut section of Lowe’s Home Improvement store. As you can see, the caterpillar needs that much width. We did have extra space at the top and bottom. That could be filled with writing Happy Birthday on the board or have your board cut to a rectangular shape.

    Good Luck

  23. elizabeth says: #24

    WOW! WOW!! WOW!! My jaw dropped when I saw this! Fantastic job and sooooooo worth the wait! I love, love , love the design. It totally represents your style and that is why you will have me as your student for a very long time. Thanks for all the hard work and effort you are putting into this. It truly shows.

  24. Maureen says: #25

    Hi Melissa-

    As you know this could not have come at a better time for me- I am going to change it just a little to make it a very cute snake cake- per my previous post-

    Thanks Bebe for posting the size of the board I was just wracking my brain trying to figure out what I would need- also thank you to the “student” who posted the question-

    I hope this turns out half as good as this one! OK- off to try to conquor a batch of CRUSTING buttercream- wish me luck on this- I have yet to achieve this!


  25. Pingback: A Very Hungry Caterpillar Party & A Giveaway! | DIY du Jour

  26. patsy ney says: #27

    This is totally awesome. Adorable! Wish my grandchildren were small again. I must have read that book a 1,000 times! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Pingback: Caterpillar cupcakes | Polinlawoffice

  28. Amanda says: #29

    I love love love your cupcake cake! I’ve never made one before and am going to give it a try for my son’s first birthday next weekend. It is a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme party and I’ve seen some cupcake assembled to look like the caterpillar but it just doesn’t look like what I wanted, that is until I found your version! I hope I do it justice with my attempt. I intend to do the head with buttercream icing as it will be my son’s cake, the whole thing for my little man, should be fun!

  29. Melissa Diamond says: #30

    So glad to hear that, Amanda! I think that the Very Hungry Caterpillar is SUCH a cute theme for a 1st birthday party. Good luck!

  30. Zenaida Duarte says: #31


  31. Abby says: #32

    This is adorable! Do you remember how big it ended up being? I want to make it soon and I am wondering how it would fit on a half-sheet cake board (or would I need to increase or decrease the number of cupcakes I used?)


  32. BeBe says: #33

    Hi Abby, we used a 24 x 24 pre-cut plywood board covered with a plastic tablecloth, you would need to adjust the number of cupcakes if using a half sheet board.

  33. Heather says: #34

    Hi, This is lovely and i am making it now or my sons 3rd birthday but i dont know what medium consistency crusting buttercream is please help?

  34. BeBe says: #35

    Hi Heather, medium consistency is when you swirl it with your knife the ridge or impression you make will not disappear. It is probably the consistency you use most often when frosting your cakes. Hope it turns out great.

  35. Carole-Anne says: #36

    Looks great. I was wondering if that is red fondant on the head. Those are normal sized cupcakes, not the jumbo ones?

  36. BeBe says: #37

    Hi Carole-Anne, yes, it is red fondant on the head, and the cupcakes are the standard sized cupcakes, not jumbo.

  37. Nicola says: #38

    Just stumbled across this page and thank god! I have offered to make my nephew’s first birthday cake for this weekend. Was starting to panic. He loves his hungry caterpillar toy so this is perfect. I have never made a ‘decorated’ cake before but I think even I can manage this. Wish me luck!

  38. BeBe says: #39

    Hi Nicola, great, I’m glad you found it. Good luck to you.

  39. NanaPhyllis says: #40

    I’m planning on trying to do this cake/cupcakes for my granddaughter’s first birthday party later this month! Hope it turns out half as cute as yours.

  40. Marisa says: #41

    Hi! Love this idea and I am attempting to make this. I have a question: what colors were used to color the frosting?? Please help!

  41. Melissa Diamond says: #42

    Hi Marisa–I’m sorry, I normally list the colors! Hmmm…this looks like Americolor Lemon Yellow, Electric Green (for the lighter shade), & Leaf Green.

  42. Marisa says: #43

    Thank you so much!! It’s an adorable cake.

  43. Niki says: #44

    Thank you so much for the instructions. I made a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake following your design this weekend for a neighbor’s 1st birthday party and everyone loved it. I ‘downsized’ by using mini cupcakes for the body and a regular cupcake for the head and it fit comfortably on a 14″ x 20″ cake board with plenty of room around the edges. I prefer Swiss meringue buttercream to fondant but I managed to get the head a beautiful scarlet red by dipping it in red sanding sugar. I also found that dipping the antennae in purple sugar stopped them from becoming too sticky to handle. A mini chocolate chip was the perfect size for the nose. Thank you again – the cake was a huge success!

  44. Melissa Diamond says: #45

    Hi Niki– I’m so happy that you made this! Great to hear that the changes that you made using minis instead! I know that it must have been adorable! ;0)

  45. Jacki says: #46

    crusting buttercream? Would you share the recipe? I haven’t heard of this. Love your blog!!! Great design’s!!! I am new to baking…thanks again : )

  46. BeBe says: #47

    1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter (softened, don’t use microwave)
    8 cups ( 920 gr) confectioners sugar
    2 teaspoons (8 gr) vanilla, clear vanilla for a whiter frosting
    1/3 cup (86 gr) milk
    1/2 teaspoon salt to cut the sweetness
    Cream the softened butter, add salt and vanilla, gradually add conf. sugar along with the milk. Beat at med speed for 3 to 4 min. then slow down mixer to very slow for 2 more minutes. After you frost your cake, wait just a short while and when you touch the frosting and it does not come off on your finger it has crusted. Recipe can be doubled.

  47. Leanne says: #48

    I am going to attempt to make this for my son’s first birthday, it looks amazing. I will make it the day before, just wondering what is the best way to store the cake, will the fridge dry it out??? Just wondering due to the size.
    Great work, great site…. love it!

  48. Melissa Diamond says: #49

    Hi Leanne–To prevent the cupcakes from drying out, you can place in the fridge just long enough for the frosting to firm up, and then place plastic wrap over the cupcakes so that they won’t dry out.

    If you’d rather not refrigerate and if your frosting has crusted enough, you can loosely cover them with plastic wrap at room temperature.

    I’m assuming that you don’t have a sheet cake bakery box to fit this in, but if you did, that’s always a good option too. ;0) –

  49. Gemma Smith says: #50

    I don’t suppose you can remember what size the board is?

  50. BeBe says: #51

    Hi Gemma, we used a 24 x 24 board, there is more information on this in the above post dated Sept. 1, 2011.

  51. Leanne says: #52


    Thanks for answering my query before, I am going to make the cake in 2 weeks time.. just wanted to have a trial with the frosting, what is 2 teaspoons (8 gr) vanilla, clear vanilla for a whiter frosting… is this vanilla bean or essence?? I live in Australia so might be called something else!

    Thank you

  52. Leanne says: #53

    Thankfyou for you guidance and assistance.. The cake was a winner!
    Would love to send u an image!

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