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Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake Cake

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake Cake for a Very Hungry Caterpillar 1st birthday party theme. This is an easy to serve cake, as guests can just grab a cupcake at their convenience.
Prep Time 1 hr
Set Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24


  • 8-inch cardboard cake circle, covered in aluminum foil
  • large rectangular cake board


  • 5 batches buttercream (recommended Easy Vanilla Buttercream, see note)

For the Caterpillar Head:

  • purple, orange and green candy melts (yellow can be used in place of orange if desired)
  • 2 layers cake (approximately 4 inches in diameter, see note)
  • red no taste food coloring gel (see note)

For the Caterpillar Body:

  • 20 cupcakes (store bought or homemade, see note)
  • green food coloring gel
  • yellow food coloring gel


Make the Caterpillar Head Decorations:

  • Melt the candy melts according to package directions. Transfer the melted candy to disposable piping bags fitted with plastic couplers and large round tips or to resealable gallon sized bags with a corner cut off.
  • On a waxed paper lined baking sheet, pipe the purple into 2 long shapes with a point at one end and rounded at the other, which will be the caterpillars ears. Pipe the orange/yellow into 2 oval shapes measuring approximately 2 inches long. Pipe the green into 2 oval shapes slightly larger than the orange/yellow ovals. Also pipe a green triangle with rounded points measuring about 1 inch in across.
  • Allow the chocolate to set up at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Once completely set, carefully peel the shapes off of the waxed paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator until ready to decorate the head.

Decorate the Caterpillar Cake Head:

  • Place a small smear of untinted buttercream toward one side of the foil covered cake circle. Place one of the cake layers on top. Add untinted buttercream on top of the layer, smoothing into an even layer of buttercream. Place second layer on top.
  • Use the red no taste food coloring gel to tint the buttercream until it is a bright red color. Transfer the red buttercream to a disposable pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe rosettes of buttercream over the entire surface of the cake so no cake is showing through.
  • Carefully stick the purple candy ears into the top of the head, having them rest on the cake circle. Place the oval orange eyes on the red buttercream, then add the green ovals centered on top of the orange ovals. Place green triangle onto the buttercream for the nose.
    up close of the head segment of the Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake Cake on a multi colored dot cake board

Decorate the Caterpillar Body Cupcakes:

  • Divide the remaining buttercream into 2 or 3 small bowls, depending on how many shades of green you would like for the body.
  • Tint buttercream different shades of green. Adjust color by adding more of the green gel or adding a bit of the yellow gel to the green buttercream.
  • Transfer colored buttercream to disposable piping bags fitted with large star tips. Pipe a swirled pattern on the top of each cupcake, alternating the shade of green. You can also add a different shade to a bag that already had green buttercream in it to make a swirly pattern when piped.
    green frosted cupcakes in a cake pan for transporting

Assemble the Cake:

  • Place the cake board containing the head in the lower right section of a large cake board.
  • Arrange the green cupcakes to the left of the head in alternating rows of 2 and 3 to look like the body of the caterpillar.
    Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake Cake


I baked my layers in two small ramekins that measured approximately 4 inches in diameter. If using a cake mix, you can fill two ramekins and divide the remaining batter among 20 cupcake liners. 
For homemade chocolate cake, I recommend the cake portion of Chocolate Layer Cake or Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Cake.
I recommend Easy Vanilla Buttercream but Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream is great too. I used just under 5 batches of Easy Vanilla Buttercream. You may be able to get away with just 4 batches depending on heavily you pipe.
Using no taste red food coloring gel is important to prevent the buttercream from having a bad aftertaste due to how much red gel is required to achieve this bright of a color.
You're Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword cake, cupcakes, dessert, party