When I asked my son what he wanted for his cake for his third birthday, I was expecting him to say "chocolate". Boy was I surprised when he asked for Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater from the movie Cars. So I try to clarify: " you mean a cake with toy cars on top, right?". "No mom, I want cars made out of cake."
Now I love to cook, and bake in particular, but I have never made a cake that wasn't round, square or rectangular. But this is the only time my eldest son will turn three.
I started by looking for cake pans in the shape of the characters since they are pretty popular right now, but no luck. So then I started searching the web for photos and found lots. And even some instructions. So I gathered ideas from all over and started baking.
First I had to decide on flavours since taste is more important to me than appearance. For that reason I also decide to use buttercream icing instead of fondant, because I think fondant tastes like plastic. So for Mater I decided on chocolate buttermilk cake with peanut butter filling and chocolate buttercream icing because he's brown anyways.
I started this Homemade Tow Mater Birthday Cake by baking 3 rectangular (9"X13") cakes. The peanut butter filling was made from peanut butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and butter. I ate the leftover with a spoon. I used this to stack the two 9x13 cakes. Then I cut the third cake into five pieces.
The two big ones on the left were stacked on top of one another to make the cab, and the two thin ones in the middle became the things at the side that hold the headlights. The piece on the right was extra so I cut it in half, stacked the two pieces and used it to hold the candles.
After stacking the pieces with filling in between, I carved a little bit with a serrated knife. There wasn't much carving to do, just rounded the edges and dug some wheel wells. I also ended up cutting of the tops of the long thin pieces (a horizontal cut) because they were too high.
Then I iced it with chocolate icing (cocoa, icing sugar and butter), and added kit kat and a peanut butter cup for the engine. Then I used sugar sheets (from Michaels) to decorate his back bumper, and licorice to make the tow apparatus and rope at the back. The wheels are donuts cut in half horizontally and iced with buttercream dyed black. The windows and teeth are white rolled fondant and the eyes are buttercream dyed green.