Monday, March 11, 2013

How to make a Train Birthday Cake

Happy 2nd Birthday Adam! This cake is all for You!

What little boy wouldn't love a train cake!? I wanted to do a train or truck cake for my nephew's birthday.  After doing an image search I found a version of this cake here .  I liked the geometric trains and adorable steam circles.  All-in-all this was an easy cake to put together.  If you know a little boy with a birthday coming up give this cake a try!! 
 (Or I'll make one for you!) 
This cake took about 6 hours of decorating.  
I broke it down into two days.

Day One:
I used a cake dummy for the base. 
(Did I mention my nephew lives too far away to actually eat this cake? I'll make him something tasty next visit, I promise!) 
I've mentioned using cake dummies before but I'll do it again.  
Cake dummies or styrofoam fake cake layers are great for practicing your decorating skills.  It doesn't require any baking, and will stay 'fresh' for as long as you need or want to display the finished cake.  I used two-8: inch layers, about 6" height all together.  I wrapped the cake dummies tightly in plastic wrap first, then covered with a practice icing (mostly shortening and powdered sugar). After I'm done the dummies are easily unwrapped and can be stored away for the next cake.  

To start decorating roll blue tinted fondant out about 1/4" thick. 
To achieve the swirly look stop kneading a little before all the color gel is mixed in.

Attach the fondant to the icing in two large sections. 
Later you can cover the seams with decorations. 
 Trim off the excess on top and bottom. 
Let the fondant harden in the refrigerator
while starting to make the train shapes.

The trains come together quickly.  This is where your arsenal of leftover fondant colors could come in handy.  I used mostly bold primary colors, but you can use any combination you like.

Transfer the trains to the fondant.  
Brush one side with a little water and secure it into place.  
I also added a bottom trim of green before the trains.
If your fondant pieces won't stick you can also use 'gum glue'
 which you can buy pre-made, or make it yourself by dissolving 
1 tsp of gumpaste into a few tablespoons of water. 
It'll take about 30 minutes to dissolve fully. 

For the steam, cut small, medium, and large circles out of white fondant.
I roll all my fondant out using cornstarch to keep it from sticking.  Once all the pieces are attached and before adding any frosting give the cake a good steam bath with a handheld steamer.  The steam melts the fondant just a little to give it a nice shine and remove any excess cornstarch.
This is a good place to stop if you're splitting the decorating between a few days.  If this were are real cake the fondant would keep the cake moist and fresh for at least 2-3 days.

Day Two:
The station house is made by layering squares of cake and frosting.

Stack the cake about 4-6" high then cover with yellow fondant.

Add square windows and doors.  
The roof is brown tinted frosting that has been
layered to give  the roof a tiled look.
I used Wilton tip #47 to do this.

Once it's done, touch up any spots with extra frosting.

I tried using a special tip for the grass (Wilton #233).
I'm not sure if the tip was too small but 
 I didn't have great success with it.  
The tip seemed to clog too easily.

It took a long time to get not a lot of grass.

I switched to Wilton tip #107 and finished the grass with two shades of green.

Strips of black fondant and brown fondant  rectangles
 made a track to the Adam Station.  I put the tracks directly 
over one of the seams of the base fondant to cover it up.
Don't worry about making it perfect,
 a little unevenness gives the cake a whimsical touch.

This was the other seam, almost completely hidden!

Add a 2 and a few signs to finish off the cake!
And that's it the birthday train is ready to leave the station!

Love you Adam! Can't wait to see you soon!! 


  1. Ohhhh, adorable. I love the clouds! That is my favorite part! The ladder is pretty cool to. As always, Nice job!

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it! and glad your comment came through!

  2. What little boy would't love this cake!! Adam is so blessed to have such a creative aunt.

  3. Truly awesome! You've done it again, Lala! Love everything about it...the train, puffs of steam, tracks, Adam's station. It's a work of art. Btw, when I originally commented on fb, I hadn't yet read this post. Now, that I know the interior is a styrofoam dummy, I am no longer disappointed we can't eat Love you! Adam is indeed blessed to have you as an aunt. Xo

    1. Styrofoam delivers much if thats what you're hankering for let me know! :)

      We can make something tasty when we come to visit! :