I had wanted to have a train 1st birthday cake for my son's birthday since before he was born! A friend usually makes my children's cakes but my husband and I wanted to tackle this one ourselves.
We found our ideas on this website. We baked 2 cake mixes. We used a loaf pan, a 9x13 pan, and a clean soup can for the cylindrical part of the engine.
We froze the cakes. When we were ready to form the train we trimmed the edges off and cut the 9x13 into 3 pieces to form the train cars. The coal car was the simplest to decorate. Simply cover with frosting, add miniature Oreos as wheels, M&M's as coal, and piping.
To form the animal car we frosted the cake, added Oreo wheels, placed animal crackers in the frosting, used pretzels as iron bars, and frosted graham crackers to form the tops of the cages.
To form the caboose we cut 1/3 off one end, placed that piece on top of the other, holding it in place with frosting. We then frosted the caboose, added Oreo wheels, and piping. To form the engine we cut 1/4th off the loaf cake to form the cab of the engine. We trimmed the top and edges off the remaining part of the loaf cake to form the body of the engine. We took the cylindrical cake, cut it in half lengthwise, and cut it to the length desired.
We frosted the body, cab, and cylindrical parts separately. We then placed the cab on the rear part of the body, and the cylindrical part on the front. Frosting the cake was the most challenging part for us. We used a ice cream cone cut in half for the smoke stack and popcorn stuck on straightened paper clips for the smoke.
It took about 4 hours to frost and decorate but we had never done anything like this before. The cake was a hit at the birthday party!