Last week we held my son's second birthday party. He's completely fascinated with trains, so I went in search of some ideas for a train-themed cake. I came across instructions for one that was so incredibly creative. I was a little hesitant about taking on that much work for his party, but it was just too darn cute to pass up.
The instructions for this cake are unbelievably straightforward - anyone can do it. However, the cake is very time consuming to decorate and takes a lot of patience. My son absolutely loved it, though, so I was glad I took on the challenge.
If you're planning a little boy's birthday party and are looking for theme ideas, try the train theme and the train cake. It's just so cute!
Train Birthday Cake
•1 family-size frozen pound cake (16 oz), thawed
•2 cans (16 oz each) vanilla frosting
•Blue food coloring
•Yellow food coloring
•Red food coloring
•2 Fruit Loops Cereal Straws (I used Twizzlers)
•1 Kids mini–ice cream cone (I used a regular sized cone)
•2 tsp light corn syrup
•2 Tbsp yellow decorating sugar
•2 Tootsie Rolls
•4 Ring Dings
•1 cup dark-chocolate frosting
•11 large chocolate nonpareils
•1 blue M&M
•2 Tbsp mini-marshmallows
•2 green Fruit Loops Cereal Straws (I used Twizzlers)
•1/3 cup Hershey's Kissables (I used Gummi Bears)
•5 Hershey's Sticks or Kit Kats for the track (optional)
What you'll need:
•A bread knife
•A serving platter
•A resealable sandwich-size plastic bag (Ziploc)
Trimming the cake:
1.Using a bread knife, trim a ¾-inch piece off both short ends of the pound cake to make the cake about 9 by 4 ½ inches.
2.Cut the pound cake as indicated on the diagram to make two 2 ½ by 4 ½-inch cars, one 4 by 3 ½-inch car, and one 1 by 4-inch slice. Reserve the 1 by 4-inch piece and set aside.
For the colored frosting:
1.Spoon the contents of 1 can of vanilla frosting into a bowl. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to tint it a light blue.
2.Divide the remaining can of vanilla frosting in half and spoon into separate bowls. Add yellow food coloring to one bowl of frosting to tint it yellow; add red food coloring to the other bowl of frosting to tint it red.
For the engine decorations:
1.Cut the red Froot Loops Cereal Straws in half.
2.Brush the outside of the Kids Cone with the corn syrup and sprinkle with the yellow decorating sugar.
3.Heat the Tootsie Rolls in the microwave for 2 to 3 seconds. Roll out each Tootsie Roll on wax paper and cut into two 1 by ½-inch rectangles for the train windows.
Frosting the cake:
1.Lay the trimmed 1 by 4-inch slice flat on a serving platter. Spread the top with some blue frosting.
2.Stack the 4 Ring Dings, spreading frosting in between each cake, and lay the stack on its side to make the cylindrical front engine.
3.Place the 4 by 3 ½-inch piece upright behind the stack of Ring Dings.
4.Spread the entire engine with blue frosting to cover and make smooth.
Assembling the engine:
1.Spoon the chocolate frosting into a resealable plastic bag. Snip a small corner from the bag and pipe a 1-inch-high layer of chocolate frosting at the base of the cake.
2.Add 2 mini- and 2 regular-size Oreos to either side for the engine's wheels. Pipe small dots of chocolate frosting on the cookies and add the large chocolate nonpareils to the Oreos and press the Sno-caps onto the mini-Oreos.
3.Press the Tootsie Roll windows into the sides of the upright cake.
4.Press a single large chocolate nonpareil into the nose of the engine. Pipe a small dot of chocolate frosting on the center of the nonpareil and add a blue M&M.
5.Gently press the Kids Cone and Froot Loops Cereal Straws into the top of the engine. Fill the cone with mini-marshmallows for the engine's steam.
Decorating the middle car:
1.Set one of the 2 ½ by 4 ½-inch pieces of pound cake behind the engine. Frost with the yellow frosting.
2.Trim the green Froot Loops Cereal Straws with a serrated knife to fit the length and width of the top edges of the cake.
3.Fill the top of the cake with the Hershey's Kissables.
4.Pipe a half-inch-wide band of chocolate frosting along the base of the cake. Attach the mini-Oreos. Pipe a dot of chocolate frosting onto each mini-Oreo and add the Sno-caps.
Decorating the caboose:
1.Set the remaining cake piece behind the middle car and cover completely with the red frosting.
2.Set the 2 remaining red Froot Loops Cereal Straw halves on top of the back of the cake.
3.Pipe a half-inch-wide band of chocolate frosting around the base of the cake. Press the remaining Oreo cookies in as wheels on either side of the caboose. Pipe a dot of chocolate frosting onto each mini-Oreo and press the Sno-caps on.
For the optional train tracks:
1.Cut 3 of the chocolate sticks in half.
2.Place the pairs of halved chocolate sticks in front and in back of the middle car and caboose. To complete, place the 2 long chocolate sticks in front of the engine cake.
Serves 8 to 10. For diagrams and more pictures, go to Parenting.com.