Jonah's birthday was on Monday, and I was a bit nervous about one thing. A couple weeks prior, the whole family was driving in the car. From the back seat, Jonah piped up "Go to the party store!" Why? We asked him. "It's Jonah's berfday! Get party hats and balloons and berfday cake!" Later that evening I asked him what he wanted on his birthday hats and cake, a subject I had previously discussed with him. All he had specified was that he wanted chocolate cupcakes and Chuck E Cheese. Now however, his tune was different. "Want.... want.... BUBBLE GUPPIES!!!! Bubble Guppies berfday cake!! Bubble Guppies Berfday hat! BUB BUB BUBBLE, Bubble bubble guppies!!!" Bubble Guppies is Nick Jr's newest show. It's cute. He learns a lot from it and the music they sing is actually enjoyable even for the adults. I would have loved to comply and gotten him all things Bubble Guppies for his birthday. The problem lies in the fact that it's Nick's newest show. They've only aired a pilot season. There is no merchandise on the market. No party hats, no balloons, no cakes.
When he first told me he wanted chocolate cupcakes, I went on the interwebs to find a cute way to present a plain old chocolate cupcake. I found this and was immediately inspired by coco cake cupcakes! The Hungry Caterpillar has always been a favorite book in our house. Over the past three years, we have spent countless hours, reading the book countless times. Jonah loves it! He would appreciate it. Or so I thought before he began asking for Bubble Guppies.
As there are no bubble guppies cakes or figures to put on a cake, and as I do not have the skill required to make our own Bubble Guppies cake, I decided to stick to the plan. I showed Jonah the picture from the above website, and he said "mmmm, very hungry caterpillar for in my mouth! UMMM!" and pretended to take a bite from the picture. Promising, I thought. So that was the green light! Here is how I re-created the cupcake cake and made it our own.
First I made way too many cupcakes in three different flavors. Yellow (the kind Johan picked at the store), chocolate (the kind he originally asked for), and strawberry (because I wanted it!) I also made a mini strawberry cake for the head. I used a small spring-form pan; the same that was used for both of the kids' first birthday smash cakes. I did use cake mix to cut some of the stress out of the weekend, since we were also traveling to Toledo to visit Daryl's family.
I then set to work to create pictures of the food that the caterpillar ate on Saturday, giving him "a terrible stomachache." On the suggestion of a friend, I used taffy-like candies such as starburst, laffy taffy, airheads, caramels, tootsie rolls, and flavored tootsies. Some of them had to be microwaved for about 7 seconds to get them soft enough to roll out and mold into the shapes I needed. I used a very light coating of cooking spray on my hands, surfaces, and utensils to avoid sticking. I rolled some of the candies together to get the swirling effect seen in the illustrations of the book. This part of the cake was a lot of fun! I felt like I was a kid playing with playdough again. Once I had the candy decorations made, I frosted the chocolate cupcakes with a butterknife and placed the decorations on top.
At the party store, I found some wrapping paper with a leaf and fern print, on clearance for fifty cents! I used it to wrap a cardboard cake sheet (also bought from the party store) to make it look like the caterpillar is sitting on leaves. I arranged the body out of the green frosted cupcakes and then placed the head. I barely had enough room, and was nervous that the head wouldn't fit! I placed the tootsie roll feet underneath the green cupcakes, and the "food" cupcakes along the bottom of the sheet.
I placed rainbow sprinkles along the caterpillar's back as his fur. This was not as tedious as it first seemed, and only took a few minutes.