As all of you know, I am NOT a baker. The occasional batch of cookies, pound cake or brownies is about all I do. For the Desserts Class I teach, I do prepare and assemble a beautiful coconut cake, but it is so easy to make it doesn’t count! So why am I baking? Only for my kids! Keegan turned 3 on January 2nd, and wanted a train cake. After much on-line research, I decided to attempt it myself. I made the cakes from scratch, and then cut, pieced together and frosted the whole thing on a track-designed cake board. It turned out awesome. Here are some pics!
I made a white cake and baked it in 5 mini loaf pans for the cars. I also make a chocolate cake, baked in a 9×13-inch pan. Once baked and cooled, I made the engine shape out of the 9×12 by cutting a rectangle and then stacking up smaller rectangles for the back. I carved one of the mini loaf cakes into a tube and used it for the front of the engine car.
Next I carved a small rectangle indent into the top of the other mini loaf cakes to hold “cargo”. I then frosted them with commercial frosting tinted the different colors. I read a tip on-line about when trying to make black frosting, use chocolate frosting mixed with black paste food coloring. It worked well and gave me a beautiful inky black. I just used regular food coloring for the rest of the colors mixed with white frosting. (The whole thing took about 4 cans of frosting but I used it for the board also, as you will see)
For the track, I used black frosting, piped onto the cake board, then used graham crackers, broken into 4 pieces (like they are already perforated) for the crossbeams. As the black frosting dried, it was the perfect glue.
I wanted the cars off the track slightly so the wheels would fit. With the help of my husband, we cut small rectangle “stages” out of leftover chocolate cake and placed them on the track where we wanted the cars, then using a long offset spatula, we placed the cars on top. It helped to make the cars look like they were riding on the track, not just sitting on it. For the cargo, I used tootsie rolls for the wood in the green car, crushed Oreos(with the filling removed) for coal in the black car, and plastic animals we had at home for the yellow car. I also used little multi-colored sprinkles for the animal car. Keegan specifically requested animals on the train. For the caboose, I cut an upside down T-shape out of one of the mini loaves, and used full graham crackers frosted black for the roof. For the engine, I just frosted it blue and black, and Joe(always artistic) used an Oreo, split in half, and a toothpick to paint on Thomas the Train face.
For the board, I had some leftover frosting, so I tinted some blue and grey to make the pond, then the rest green. I just spread it on with the back of a spoon to make the grass. For the dirt between the tracks, I CAREFULLY spooned in brown sugar, using a baby spoon to get between the railroad ties.
All in all, not bad for my first cake creation! Keegan loved it, and took a bite out of the caboose as soon as he had blown out his candles. I enjoyed figuring out the logistics of the project, and I am looking forward to next year! Seeley’s first birthday is coming up, wonder what to do for him???