|Will loved his birthday cake :)|
As part of Will's birthday celebrations, we had a birthday lunch for my side of the family at my parent's house up in Maine. A little tired out from traveling, I lost some steam (pun intended) when discussing the possibility of making Will a train cake for his birthday. Turns out, this was a good thing, because when I went upstairs for a nap, my mom and Greg took Will to the grocery store and bought ingredients and decorations for the BEST TRAIN CAKE EVER.
Crafty, baking enthusiast Mimi... engineering Eagle Scout husband who used to win cake competitions in boyscouts... it was pretty spectacular.
Here's what they came up with!
Here's how they did it:
Cake: Mom took four mini loaf pans and baked chocolate cake in them, adjusting the cooking time and using a toothpick to make sure they were done. Each loaf became a car. She used leftover batter in mini cupcake tins and a few of those stacked on top of each other became the front of the engine.
For the apple cart and the pumpkin cart, we left the loaves intact rather than leveling them off with a serrated knife, so that they would look like they were abundant with cargo. For the log car, we leveled it off, keeping scraps to make the grill of the train.
Frosting: Mom made a butter-cream frosting and we used food coloring to get the shades we wanted for a colorful train.
Apple Car: raspberry m&m's come in a beautiful two shades of red and are slightly larger than regular m&m's, giving the cart a real apple look. White piping around the top of the cart, and oreos divided make up the front and back wheels (we put wheels with stuffing on the backs of the carts, and wheels without stuffing on the front).
Log Car: Pretzel sticks cut down to size with a serrated knife, secured with dabs of white frosting that we used to pipe details onto the rest of the train.
Pumpkin Car: Will's birthday is in September, and the Halloween candies were out! Hence the adorable little pumpkin candies that made perfect cargo.
Engine: Greg cut a cake loaf in half and then used those scraps and a master hand at frosting to put this train engine together! He used mini cupcakes to make the front of the engine, securing them with spaghetti (it all has to be edible in Greg's world - a standard leftover from his scouting days) and then using a marshmallow and frosting to make the smoke. He even cut the grills out of cake and applied them with frosting.
Base: My Dad cut a cardboard box to an appropriate size, taped paint sticks to the back for structural support, and covered it in tinfoil. Although this was his primary contribution aside from photographing us, it could be argued that my Dad did more than I did in this whole process, since I just messed around with food coloring and frosted some of the train cars.
Verdict: We had a GREAT time making this cake, it was one of the highlights of my weekend! Will LOVED it. As soon as he saw it, he started pointing and saying "Train! Train! Train!" It was amazing :) I am so lucky that I was too tired to figure it out... because I couldn't beat Mimi and Greg's train in this lifetime! They are AWESOME.
Happy Birthday, Will!
|"Train? Train! Train!"|
|Greg holds the base that Dad made for the cake, prior to aluminum foil.|
|The true engineers at work. I think Dad is getting himself some decorations to eat. That's mostly what Dad and I did. Have you ever had pretzels dipped in frosting? They're good.|
|Look! I helped!|
|Will engineers his own log car :) He loved the different decorations on the cake!|