Caterpillar Cake & the Buggy Birthday Party

Our first ever “friends” birthday party was buggy in more than one way. Some things certainly didn’t turn out as planned, but I’ll share my experience anyway. And the caterpillar cake was adorable.

If you’re looking for insect / ladybug / bug related birthday items, you can find some here and support this article at the same time!

We just had a Buggy Birthday Party for my now five-year-old. I can only hope the kids had fun, but I was so busy trying to keep things running, I honestly don’t know. Thankfully a few other moms were there and were kindly willing to help. But my main gague of how it went are my husband’s comments, and if his view is accurate, it was a total flop. I tried so hard to make it fun, and I’m a bit sad to know I spent all that energy for something that didn’t turn out well.

However, the caterpillar CAKE did turn out well. So that idea I will share, plus the other ideas I had and whether or not they worked.

Going with the theme of Bugs, and loosely defining bugs as arthropods, a caterpillar cake was fitting. And it was easy. Actually, now that I think about it, the first attempt at at the caterpillar cake flopped too, but I happened to have just enough time to correct it. I am hoping anyone who googles across this looking for bug birthday parties can learn from my mistakes, correct what went wrong, and have a better party than mine. πŸ™‚

The first time I made the cake, I failed to account for the fact that I was at a much higher elevation than I’d been used to, and it came out full of gigantic bubbles that made it fall apart. Luckily, once I decided on a do-over, it went together very quickly.

By the way, to those of you complaining that I lifted this idea, I came up with it myself or I would have said otherwise. Someone copied it almost word for word and posted it to Family Fun, only their cake looked scary. This is the original. Consider the source sited.

The ingredients:
White chocolate chips
“Special Dark” chocolate chips
Lemon Frosting
Lemon Cake Mix (plus required ingredients)
Just a little green and yellow food coloring
Nestle Crunch “Stixx” (Sticks)

You also need a bundt pan, a wire rack, waxed paper, a pastry brush, shortening, flour, and a sharp serrated knife. If you’ve got a leaf-shaped serving tray, PERFECT, otherwise you’ll also need some green paper leaves to set on a regular tray.

This caterpillar cake looks ADORABLE on a table set all in green, or you can mix up a few favorite colors like green and blue, depending on your party them. You can find some inexpensive colorful plasticware / table settings here

Make a cake following the recipe, baking in a greased and floured bundt pan.  Let the cake cool for 15 minutes then turn it onto a wire rack that is over some waxed paper.
Make a cake following the recipe, baking in a greased and floured bundt pan. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes then turn it onto a wire rack that is over some waxed paper.
Cut a section out of the cake, and turn it around on itself so it's curvy like a caterpillar. Level off the bottom if you have to.
Cut a section out of the cake, and turn it around on itself so it is curvy like a caterpillar. Level off the bottom if you have to.
Mix the frosting with a little food coloring to make a lovely chartruse.  Heat it up in the microwave for about 10 seconds, to the point where it's easily poured but still somewhat thick.
Mix the frosting with a little food coloring to make a lovely chartruse. Heat it up in the microwave for about 10 seconds, to the point where it is easily poured but still somewhat thick.
Drizzle a spoonful of the frosting at a time over the cake.  It's not going to look 'smooth' but when's the last time you saw a smooth looking catapillar?  A side thought -- this shape would make a lovely cake for anyone who is turning 29 for the umpteenth time.
Drizzle a spoonful of the frosting at a time over the cake. It is not going to look smooth, but when's the last time you saw a smooth looking catapillar? A side thought -- this shape would make a lovely cake for anyone who is turning 29 for the umpteenth time.

UPDATE: Try adding a little vegetable oil to the melted chips. This things out the chocolate and makes it easier to drizzle at cooler temps. Melt the white chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips in the microwave as well. Only microwave them for ten seconds at a time, stirring quite a bit in between. You don’t want to over-melt the chips, since you’ll need to temper them anyway. Cool them off to the point where they’re still melted but no longer hot. Two things happen if you leave it too hot: the dark chocolate blooms and you’ll make the green frosting melt right off the cake.

Spoon the white chocolate over the cake. You might need to ease it down the edges just a little.  Then do the same with the dark chocolate.
Spoon the white chocolate over the cake. You might need to ease it down the edges just a little. Then do the same with the dark chocolate.
Transfer the entire cake to the serving tray, and add the Nestle Crunch Stixx for antennae. You can add chocolate chip eyes if you'd like.  My picture here might be a little TOO close to see the whole effect, but, it was very cute.
Transfer the entire cake to the serving tray, and add the Nestle Crunch Stixx for antennae. You can add chocolate chip eyes if you would like to. My picture here might be a little TOO close to see the whole effect, but, it was very cute.

One thing that didn’t turn out so cute, however, were the bug-pizzas. I can’t call them “lady bugs” because they were for a boy. Whatever πŸ˜‰ But the real reason I can’t call them that, is by the time they were baked, they didn’t look like bugs at all.

Prior to baking, they looked somewhat like bugs. Not so much afterward.
Prior to baking, they looked somewhat like bugs. Not so much afterward.

Several well meaning people told me they looked like tadpoles. Other, more honest people, admitted that the “tails” (originally the divider lines for the backs of the lady bugs, which shriveled in the oven, to my dismay) were too thin for tadpole tails, but they did look like little swimmers of a sort. All that said, they still tasted good, but no one knew it. They were eating the Little Ceasars pizza my husband brought. When we got home he said, “Those bug pizzas were a waste of time. No one even tasted them. Good thing I brought the other pizzas!” Yep, thanks.

The invitations were cute, but if I were to do them again, I would simplify the shape significantly... perhaps start with three ovals, and use strips of paper for the legs and antennae.
The insect invitations were cute, but difficult to make.

The games we were to play, were “six legged” races (three kids would link arms in the back and run that way), a bug treasure hunt – where the kids were to find 96 bugs from Oriental Trading Catlogue, and a craft of buggy-visors (visors with pipe-cleaners through the holes, threaded with beads to complete the antennae). We were going to play at the park too, but the park turned out to be too crowded that day.

Each child got a balloon and a bag of favors: magnifying glasses, pop rocks, a tiny chico-stick, smarties, laffy-taffy, sour-straws, and a booklet I’d made about bugs. The printer got the margins all wrong, but other than that they were cute, and I met a nice girl at OfficeMax who helped me put them together.

Now all that’s left to do are the thank-you cards. Ethan will need to help with those. The kids brought so many fun toys, and the adults who stayed there were lifesavers. The party should have been fun, and I’m a bit disappointed that it wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. I think if I were to give it another go it would be better, but, no need. Ethan was happy, and that’s what matters most to me.

33 thoughts on “Caterpillar Cake & the Buggy Birthday Party

  1. My nephew informed me the other night that he will allow both his mom and I to make him a birthday cake this year. Well mom is to buy one at the store while I have to make a caterpillar cake. This one is the most realistic one I have seen. I love it and hope you don’t mind if I totally steal your idea. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. My nephew informed me the other night that he will allow both his mom and I to make him a birthday cake this year. Well mom is to buy one at the store while I have to make a caterpillar cake. This one is the most realistic one I have seen. I love it and hope you don’t mind if I totally steal your idea. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. well wish me luck I am going to try this as well it looks very cute and for all your effort alls you can say is that you tried maybe next time its your husband to prove he can do better other wise tell him to keep his mouth shut cause a flop to him looks very cute to me and I think the lady bug pizzas was an awesome idea as well, job well done from what I see

    Like

  4. well wish me luck I am going to try this as well it looks very cute and for all your effort alls you can say is that you tried maybe next time its your husband to prove he can do better other wise tell him to keep his mouth shut cause a flop to him looks very cute to me and I think the lady bug pizzas was an awesome idea as well, job well done from what I see

    Like

  5. well wish me luck I am going to try this as well it looks very cute and for all your effort alls you can say is that you tried maybe next time its your husband to prove he can do better other wise tell him to keep his mouth shut cause a flop to him looks very cute to me and I think the lady bug pizzas was an awesome idea as well, job well done from what I see

    Like

  6. Thank you! πŸ™‚ The lady bug pizzas really WERE a flop – but I think if I cooked the pizzas and -then- put a fresh olive and fresh piece of green onion, they would have worked fine. But a bigger pizza that’s made to look like a ladybug would be alot easier πŸ™‚

    Good luck with the cake! Try thinning down the chocolate with something like a little vegetable oil so it drizzles easily. And anyone who tries any of these ideas or improves on them and wants to upload a photo, just let me know!

    Like

  7. Thank you! πŸ™‚ The lady bug pizzas really WERE a flop – but I think if I cooked the pizzas and -then- put a fresh olive and fresh piece of green onion, they would have worked fine. But a bigger pizza that’s made to look like a ladybug would be alot easier πŸ™‚

    Good luck with the cake! Try thinning down the chocolate with something like a little vegetable oil so it drizzles easily. And anyone who tries any of these ideas or improves on them and wants to upload a photo, just let me know!

    Like

  8. I absolutely ADORE your bug party ideas – every part you’ve share is so much better than anything else I’ve seen online. I’m hosting a bug party tomorrow and I am planning to use a couple ideas…and I’m not planning to improve a thing. *wink*
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Like

  9. I absolutely ADORE your bug party ideas – every part you’ve share is so much better than anything else I’ve seen online. I’m hosting a bug party tomorrow and I am planning to use a couple ideas…and I’m not planning to improve a thing. *wink*
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Like

  10. Thanks Chris – I hope it turns out really well for you. Again, if you want to send a picture, feel free. I’ll email this comment to you so you have the address. Take care!

    Like

  11. Thanks Chris – I hope it turns out really well for you. Again, if you want to send a picture, feel free. I’ll email this comment to you so you have the address. Take care!

    Like

  12. Velda,
    I always make the cakes for our parties, and was about to give up on this "bug" party and buy the cake until I saw your darling idea! I love it and am so glad that you shared.
    Don’t let your husband give you any grief for putting together such great ideas. In the end, if your son enjoyed it, that is all that matters.

    Like

  13. Velda,
    I always make the cakes for our parties, and was about to give up on this "bug" party and buy the cake until I saw your darling idea! I love it and am so glad that you shared.
    Don’t let your husband give you any grief for putting together such great ideas. In the end, if your son enjoyed it, that is all that matters.

    Like

  14. Hi, my grandson is having a bug party and your cake is adorable I am supose to make a catapillar out of cupcakes but will have to rethink that after seeing your cake.Some of my ideas to keep the party buggy is I glued plastic bugs on plastic Easter eggs to find in the yard. I decorated 3 different size plastic flower pots to use with bean bags as a toss for a game. Made fire flies out of water bottles, construction paper and stuck glow sticks in side of them. Thanks for the idea. Luana

    Like

  15. Hi, my grandson is having a bug party and your cake is adorable I am supose to make a catapillar out of cupcakes but will have to rethink that after seeing your cake.Some of my ideas to keep the party buggy is I glued plastic bugs on plastic Easter eggs to find in the yard. I decorated 3 different size plastic flower pots to use with bean bags as a toss for a game. Made fire flies out of water bottles, construction paper and stuck glow sticks in side of them. Thanks for the idea. Luana

    Like

  16. Well thanks! The bug invitations really were a pain, but the caterpillar cake was easy. If you want the invitation pattern anyway, let me know. I’m sure I still have my files somewhere. You’d have to put your own map on the wing… I just traced a google map for mine, and added my own stoplights and signs, and names of the main streets.

    Like

  17. Well thanks! The bug invitations really were a pain, but the caterpillar cake was easy. If you want the invitation pattern anyway, let me know. I’m sure I still have my files somewhere. You’d have to put your own map on the wing… I just traced a google map for mine, and added my own stoplights and signs, and names of the main streets.

    Like

  18. Wow that is really cool. I made a caterpillar cake for my sons 3rd birthday and I was very happy with the way it turned out. Now I’m going to do it again for his 7th after seeing this one. Looks much easier than trying to cover the whole cake nicely with frosting. Looks more real too. My son will be able to help with this one. Great job Velda! Don’t be so hard on yourself though! Wish I was invited.

    Like

  19. Wow that is really cool. I made a caterpillar cake for my sons 3rd birthday and I was very happy with the way it turned out. Now I’m going to do it again for his 7th after seeing this one. Looks much easier than trying to cover the whole cake nicely with frosting. Looks more real too. My son will be able to help with this one. Great job Velda! Don’t be so hard on yourself though! Wish I was invited.

    Like

    1. gweipo, The caterpillar cake was definitely the most successful part of the party, but the kids really did enjoying threading beads on pipe-cleaners to make antennae for bug visors, and the ‘bug hunt’ was also a hit & the bugs doubled as great favors.

      We had a party yesterday – not a bug party this time – but the kids favorite game could easily be adapted to bugs. Basically we took a bunch of ping-pong balls and water sprayers, and the kids had to squirt the ping pong balls across a line and back, relay race style. All you’d have to do to make it bug related = draw bugs on the balls in permanent marker. Maybe even multi colored permanent marker so each team has their own color or even their own style of bug (ladybugs vs the ants or something). That game was a riot. We did have one girl who was 4.5 and she had a harder time with that game, but most of the kids (ages 6-10) had a great time with it, and they just helped the younger girl on her turns.

      Alicia, thanks. hehe. It really was lots of fun & we would have loved to have had another person there who’d enjoy it! In fact looking back, I think most of the people there really had a great time, parents included. Most of the criticism was from one person and I just took way too much stock in what he had to say about this party and pretty much everything else ever I did too. I’m doing much better now. πŸ™‚

      Like

    1. gweipo, The caterpillar cake was definitely the most successful part of the party, but the kids really did enjoying threading beads on pipe-cleaners to make antennae for bug visors, and the ‘bug hunt’ was also a hit & the bugs doubled as great favors.

      We had a party yesterday – not a bug party this time – but the kids favorite game could easily be adapted to bugs. Basically we took a bunch of ping-pong balls and water sprayers, and the kids had to squirt the ping pong balls across a line and back, relay race style. All you’d have to do to make it bug related = draw bugs on the balls in permanent marker. Maybe even multi colored permanent marker so each team has their own color or even their own style of bug (ladybugs vs the ants or something). That game was a riot. We did have one girl who was 4.5 and she had a harder time with that game, but most of the kids (ages 6-10) had a great time with it, and they just helped the younger girl on her turns.

      Alicia, thanks. hehe. It really was lots of fun & we would have loved to have had another person there who’d enjoy it! In fact looking back, I think most of the people there really had a great time, parents included. Most of the criticism was from one person and I just took way too much stock in what he had to say about this party and pretty much everything else ever I did too. I’m doing much better now. πŸ™‚

      Like

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your how-to on the cake! I’m planning Hungry Cattapillar party for my daughter’s 4th birthday and found your post through google images. Shall certainly link back here for the cake. THANKS!

    Like

    1. No worries! I’m glad you were able to find the blog. Do thin out that chocolate with a little vegetable oil… that’s the one thing I wish I would have done differently the first time around. Other than that, it worked out gloriously.

      Like

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your how-to on the cake! I’m planning Hungry Cattapillar party for my daughter’s 4th birthday and found your post through google images. Shall certainly link back here for the cake. THANKS!

    Like

    1. No worries! I’m glad you were able to find the blog. Do thin out that chocolate with a little vegetable oil… that’s the one thing I wish I would have done differently the first time around. Other than that, it worked out gloriously.

      Like

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