For my son's second birthday, I was determined to make a train birthday cake but had very limited skills at cake decorating. Using several different suggestions and pictures from people on this site, I managed to make this cake that was a HUGE hit at his party!
The three cars are just made from full sized loaf pans with the rounded part cut off to make flat. For the engine I used a soup can to bake the rounded piece (I filled it about 3/4 full and it was too high and bubbled over several times but in the end I just cut the messy part and it worked fine).
The bottom of the engine was made with a loaf pan and green top was two pieces from a loaf pan that I just cut square and layered. I used icing "scribblers" for the writing. The smoke stack is an ice cream cone with the bottom cut in half and cotton in the middle for smoke. I used a Crayola set of zoo animals (they are battery operated markers) and Pringles vanilla stix for the zoo car.
The "coal" is made from crushed Oreos though it is difficult to tell from the picture because of the Happy Birthday candles I used around that car. I used a small piece of leftover cake from previous cutting to layer on the last car with the 2. The grass in front is coconut colored in a ziploc bag with green food coloring. The track is black licorice and chocolate cookie wafer stix (Fudgee -O's). The wheels are chocolate cookies with M&Ms stuck on with frosting.
People loved that there were so many kinds of cake to choose from too as I used devil's food chocolate for the engine, white for the second car, white with rainbow bits for the coal car and milk chocolate for the last car! Something for everyone and the kids just loved it!