Yesterday, as you know, was Seba’s 2nd birthday, and I was positively kvelling. It’s so hard to believe that my bambino is now two. It was a great day overall, and my little man got spoiled rotten with love, gifts, and attention by doting family and friends. To commemorate this special day, I decided to take on a culinary challenge and make him a birthday cake… A birthday *train* cake! I spent a bit of time looking up how to make a train cake on the internet to get just a general idea. In the end, I sort of combined a few of the best ideas for my plan of action. At first I had my doubts, as I didn’t have access to all the American ingredients that were suggested, nor did I have a handy cake spatula. Though it didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped, here is a picture of the final product in all its glory:
Now I can only imagine you are wondering, “But Violet, however did you create such a colorful pièce de résistance? And how can I attempt to replicate your masterpiece?” You’re in luck! I documented each step of the way, for your enjoyment and entertainment. So here it goes:
First, I made some cake batter (from scratch, naturally!) to fill two bread pans, one vanilla and the other chocolate. I baked them both at 200 celsius for 35 minutes.
After they cooled, I took them out of the pans. The vanilla one broke as I was removing it (d’oh!) so I had to make it over. But don’t worry, I ate the mistakes! 🙂
Once I finally had both cakes, I cut off the curved tops with a large serrated bread knife (sorry about all the unrelated crap in the background…).
Then I flipped both cakes upside down. I cut the chocolate cake in half, and then cut each half in half so that I had four small rectangles. I cut the side edges off the vanilla cake, and then cut the front end at an angle so that it was almost like a triangle. That would later become the front of the train.
Then it was time to do a crumb layer of sweet, sweet cream cheese frosting for the cakes (to “seal” the cakes for later when I frosted them with color and make them less likely to break apart). I dutifully followed the recipe that I had found for cream cheese frosting, but found it to be too runny. So I added some more powdered sugar. And some more. And more, until I had mixed nearly a kilo of powdered sugar into the mix (yikes!). After I did the crumb layer, I put the cakes in the fridge to cool for about an hour.
Meanwhile, as I waited for the crumb layer to harden, as an important part of the culinary experience, I took a selfie (because… why not?).
Then, using a pizza pie dish, I started to work on the train tracks. I spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto the dish and spinkled it with green sprinkles (which were supposed to look like grass). Since I didn’t have pretzel sticks to use as train tracks, I used the closest thing that I could find (“grisines” – unsalted bread sticks). “Bueno… Es lo que hay.”
I took the rest of the frosting and used some of my stash of American Betty Crocker food coloring (after all, this was for a special occasion!) to make some happy, vibrant colors for the train cars. I covered the cake pieces in the different colors, set them on a baking sheet, and put them back in the fridge to cool for a bit longer.
Almost there! Next, I put the train on the track (though one car didn’t fit) and started to decorate the trains with candy “cargo.” As you can see, I used some candy blackberries, Rocklets (similar to M&Ms), Skittles, and Nerds. Enough to make anyone’s pancreas go into shock.
Once again, please ignore all the crap in the background.
Finally, I had my train! Did it look like what I had envisioned? No.
Was it neat? No.
But was it made with love? Oh, yes.
In the end, Seba didn’t bother eating any of the cake after making his birthday wish. He repeatedly stabbed the cake with the candles, picked the Nerds off the blue car (and then tried to put them back on), mashed another car, and made quite the mess in the process (well, what do you expect? He’s two!). But I’m sure that if he could talk, he would have said, “Thank you, Mommy, for the best birthday cake EVER.”