My mother and I made this Fire Truck 3rd Birthday Cake for my son's third birthday party; he's really into trucks and had asked us for a "firetruck" cake. I looked at other cakes from this website for inspiration, and it turned out great!
I started by baking a double batch of "Perfectly Chocolate Cake", the recipe for which you can find on the Hershey's website. It was delicious, but maybe just a little too moist and delicate for cutting and icing it; I think a more dense cake would have made the job easier (but everyone raved about the taste and texture). I baked it in a 11" x 15" pan, then let it cool and cut it into 3 rectangles of the same width (cutting the longest side of the cake in two 5" 1/2 pieces about two thirds of the way, then cutting the third rectangle across at 5" 1/2. Hope this is clear).
I then made a double batch of "Crusting buttercream recipe" (Google it to find the recipe), made with more vegetable shortening than butter, a lot of powdered sugar and meringue powder, so it was very thick and easy to work with. I kept a bit of the icing white and put it a pastry bag (for the windows) with a round tip, then dyed a small quantity with a few drops of black gel food coloring to obtain the gray used for metal touches, and put it in another pastry bag with a "star" tip (which gives the striped effect). I then dyed the rest of the icing with one full container of "Red Red" gel food coloring, which is A LOT more than I've ever used. If you can, buy two.
We stacked the three rectangles on top of the other, spreading a little red icing between the layers. We applied a thin crumb layer of red all over, then put the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes. We applied a second thicker red layer, leveling the sides, edges and such. We smoothed it out by frequently dipping our small cake decorating spatula in a bowl full of cold water (it works wonders).
The cake then went back to the fridge for about 15 minutes. We applied the Oreo cookies for wheels, then piped the gray icing, using a double layer for the bumpers. We made the windows, first with white and then with the black, which was pre-made gel icing in a tube (and was hard to work with, you'd probably be better with making your own and using a very small round tip). We added the licorice (red for the ladder, black for the "hoses" on the side), then the Swedish berries for lights and star-shaped hard candy just for decoration. The yellow writing was also done with pre-made gel in a tube.