Friday 23 April 2021


 Did you sing this when the children were young - I taught it to Rosie last summer when we were doing life-cycles. However I always sing she and make the caterpillar female. Not because of militant feminist principles - but because you cannot expect a male butterfly to come back and lay eggs! [surely I'm not the only person to spot the error here]

Caterpillars have long been popular with children. In 1865, Alice met a hookah-smoking creature in Wonderland. But ten years before that, Margaret Gatty's "Hedgerow Tales" had included Charlotte the Caterpillar [a creature full of curiosity and great optimism] .
And in 1969, Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar chomped his way onto our bookshelves. So I'm not surprised that an enterprising person at M&S thought in 1990 that a caterpillar birthday cake would be a good seller. After all, it's much easier to slice up a Swiss roll for the children's party bags than a Victoria sponge. Colin arrived - and later his wife Connie 
And everyone got in on the act, Tesco, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and finally Aldi. 
Even Lakeland produce a kit to produce your own. And the worm [caterpillar] has finally turned. Piping guns at dawn, and threatened legal action. 
I've never purchased any of these cakes [I did attempt to turn a Sainsbury's Chocolate Swiss roll into a train back in the 1980s with buttercream, chocolate fingers and Smarties. It was rather chaotic but the children still ate it] 
According to this chart, I should have had a Cuthbert Cake, and Bob is due for Wiggles. 
  • Do you think Lidl will be getting on on the act? 
  • And what would they call their cake? 
  • And have you eaten any of these? 
  • Which would you recommend? 
UPDATE Jane has commented below about knitting a caterpillar. I've just found a picture of the pattern she's referring to. I would certainly find it easier to knit one than bake one! 


  1. Creepy Colin would be for me.

  2. I’ve never eaten one of these cakes, but I have knitted a caterpillar.
    It’s a great pattern!

    Jane from Dorset

    1. That's gorgeous... I've added a picture. Thank you!

    2. And my name has reappeared on comments!

  3. You got that train idea from the Jane Asher party cake book I'm sure! We loved her books!
    I think you mean that Colin is the M&S one, not Cuthbert.
    I've had some of various ones of these over the years for Staff room birthdays but not sure which.

    1. Colin's name corrected (thanks) Kezzie, you forget how old I am, my train was from a much older Marguerite Patten cookbook of my Mum's! But Jane Ashers books were indeed great fun - cookbooks and party costume ideas

  4. I remember my nieces and nephews, and now great- nieces and nephews, reading the very hungry caterpillar! I just read yesterday's post, so will add that making a wish and pulling the wishbone apart is done here as well. And I remember doing it as a child growing up moving around rural South America (different mining areas), tho I don't recall if that's because my parents were american or it was a custom there as well. Lots of British heritage there
    as well. Best, Celie

  5. I read the Very Hungry Caterpillar book to my daughter and she's had an assortment of birthday cakes, but, no caterpillar cake!


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