I got the idea for this Train Birthday Cake Design through looking at many other cakes and just taking the parts that I liked/thought looked manageable. I started with a large picture frame and covered it with brown wrapping paper. Then I used coconut flakes dyed in green food coloring as my "grass". Use a spoon instead of your hands unless you want your hands to be green!
I made two kinds of cakes from scratch but mixes would work too. I used four loaf pans for my cake. I wasn't planning on having as many cars but I just used everything I had (and I threw away a little at the end). I also cut the cake to make the engineers station and the front guard. I put the first cakes in the freezer so they'd be easier to frost but it was too time-consuming for me to wait so the second batch I just let cool and then frosted. I had to use a lot of frosting to cover all the crumbs. That is why there is not a smooth look to them but I thought they looked cute like that. I first put down the black licorice with frosting for the tracks. I frosted the cakes before laying them down so I didn't make a mess. Because the cars were little, they weren't hard to move. I put the candy down after they were on the track. The front car got frosted already on the track because of the front guard and the engineers station wouldn't move too easily.
I printed off a picture of my son and put like he was driving the train. I also printed one of my daughter and she was the passenger. I think that was his favorite part of the cake! I printed these on my home computer and they turned out nicely.
Oreos and m&ms were the wheels, animal cage was pretzels glued together with frosting, m&ms, sprinkles, Hershey bars, any candy you want would do. Smoke stack and "smoke" was two large marshmallows and popcorn. I told my husband to find something to use and he found some sautering wire. Any wire would work.
Beside the train my daughter made a replica with Legos. It was so cute! I made all the frosting from scratch and dyed it but you could just buy premade frosting and dye that too.
I didn't have any cake decorating supplies so I got some of the tubes from Walmart that you can write with. They are in the baking aisle. It made it really easy to write the words on. I wrote Chugga Chugga Two Two since it was his second birthday! I got that idea from this site I think! There are so many ideas out there. It was fun to just see what worked as I went along!