Monday, March 23, 2009

A Family Tradition: Caterpillar Cake

I have a lot to post about: this past weekend was my bridal shower and I have some awesome gluten-free vendors to write about. Also, on Friday night my family and I went to a local Chinese food restaurant that has a large and extensive gluten-free menu with food that was quite tasty. But first, I have to get to a family tradition: the caterpillar cake we made for my niece's first birthday, made gluten-free of course.

I'm now going to share with you all an embarassing photo, but one that proves the legitimacy of the caterpillar cake:

That's me on the left, looking like a complete punk. Notice the popped collar under my awesome sweatsuit? The pursed lips? The "yeah, I made this cake -- so what" look that I'm giving? Of course you do, but don't let it distract you from the cake that my sister and I are holding. Many, many years ago, in the mid nineteen eighties a tradition was born in my family: the caterpillar cake. I have no idea where my mother got the idea, but basically you bake a cake in a bunt pan and cut it in half to make a "S" shape, then you decorate it to look like a caterpillar. It was a fun, simple baking project that my sister and I loved to partake in, until we became bratty teenagers and were too cool for it. But now, with a new generation in our family, we decided to bring it back, gluten-free, dairy-free style. And so I present you the caterpillar cake of 2009:

We attempted to replicate the photo: me looking like a punk, Kate looking like the older sister that was forced to hang out with her younger sister, except this time Kate's smiling and has a baby snuggled up to her (notice the legs hanging near her hips). The caterpillar legs are made from swedish fish and the cake is decorated in M&M's (which contain dairy, so I just didn't eat them). And my niece, the Birthday girl, had a field day with the frosting:

Caterpillar Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

serves 6 for dessert

for the cake (adapted from Annelise Roberts Cookbook: Gluten Free Baking Classics):

1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups brown rice flour mix (1 cup brown rice flour/1/2 cup tapioca starch/1/2 potato starch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup rice milk

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a bundt pan. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then, add the flour, salt, vanilla, rice milk and baking powder and mix until combined. Pour evenly in bundt pan and cook for 25-30 minutes until a knife comes out clean when piercing the cake. Let cool and take out of pan and cut in half. Place the two pieces of cake on a platter to create and "S."

for the frosting:

1 cup of shortening
1 box of confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
3 tablespoons rice milk (or more if needed)

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening until creamy and slowly add in half of the confectioners sugar. Then add the vanilla and rice milk until combined. Add the rest of the sugar until the mixture has a frosting like texture, adjust with more rice milk if too dry.

to frost the cake:

24 swedish fish
other colorful candies of your choice

Take one tablespoon of the frosting and frost the cut halves of the cake, sticking the cake together. Then frost the entire cake and decorate as you please: giving the "caterpillar" eyes, legs and spots.

Next time I think I'll try making avocado frosting (you simply use avocado in place of the shortening in the frosting recipe) to make the caterpillar green.


Linda said...

What fun! I love the way you redid the photo. The cake looks cute and delicious. I miss having little kids to make cute cakes for.

Sharon said...

Hahaha, totally love it. And totally love the punkness!! But it's just too cute! LOL!!

Ricki said...

Great photos! You are sooo adorable (well, both then AND now!) Love the caterpillar cake, too. :)

Jenny said...

I just realized that I totally dropped the ball on your last email... I can't wait to hear about that Chinese restaurant!

Jenny said...

That is to say, I will email you shortly!

Easy Recipes said...

Very clever, and super cute baby!

Liz said...

Thanks Linda! Having a child around is a good excuse to get creative in the kitchen.

I didn't realize how much of a punk I was until I saw that photo Sharon :)

Thanks Ricki :) My niece steals the show though (as you'll see on this week's photo phriday)

I'll post it soon Jenny! No worries and no rush at all on the email.

Thanks ER. It's fun to take old traditions and make them new. And she is mighty cute :)

Z said...

Hi! I just started following your blog and I've really enjoyed reading it! That's really awesome that you found a way to make an old family tradition gluten-freed!

I know you already have a bunch of gluten-free blogs listed on your site, but I wanted to tell you about mine too. It's It's called "Gluten-Free from A to Z." My boyfriend and I review gluten-free products, recipes, and restaurants. I'd love for you to check it out:

Also, I want to start a list of useful and fun gluten-free blogs on my site. Would it be ok for me to add yours to my list? Would you be willing to add mine to your list? Please let me know! ( I look forward to hearing from you!


Thomas Dzomba said...

Hey Liz!

As my adopted GF Blogger I made this cake for my daughter's birthday today!

What a great, fun, cake. We really enjoyedit. And I really enjoyed adopting you.


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Liz said...

Hey Z! I will definately check out your blog -- what a great idea!

Thomas!!! You absolutely made my day. Thank you so much for re-creating the cake. I hope it becomes a family favorite if yours too :)

Hi Vincent. Thanks for stopping by! I will check out petitchef, it sounds like a neat site.

Sophie said...

That is such a cute cake :)! It looks great too!

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BEE said...

with your gluten free dairy free catapiller cake you said you use
are they gluten and casein free???
i thought they had casein in them ?????
let me know