My twins boys are obsessed with trains so naturally I wanted to create an incredible cake for their 3rd birthday. I did a lot of research online and ended up incorporating many different ideas into my own creation of this Homemade Train Birthday Cake Design.
The tracks are made with Keebler fudge bars with black licorice laid on top. It can be tricky balancing the cake on the licorice when it doesn't lay flat. Use frosting to help keep them in place. You can use any type of cereal to crumble around the track for dirt/rocks. I used corn flakes. The green grass is made from coconut. I put a large amount in a zip lock bag and dripped in several drops of green food coloring until I reached the desired color. Looking back I could have made some fun rocks, trees etc. out of fondant to add to the scenery.
For the engine I used bread pans regular and mini. Cut them to the size I desired and layered them. I also used a small tomato paste can for the cylinder. Make sure the can you use can be opened with a can opener on the bottom as well. If you desire a large engine you can use a green bean can. I cut an extra piece of cake into the shape I wanted for the front grill. I used fondant to wrap around the cylinder. So much easier than frosting that shape. I cut down a small cylinder for the top of the smoke stack and wrapped that in fondant as well.
For smoke you can use popcorn or cotton candy. I didn't have any beading wire so I used a yellow pipe cleaner from the kids craft box. The popcorn was a big hit! I used Keebler fudge stripe cookies for the engine wheels.
I made enough train cars so each child that attended the party had their own car. As soon as they saw the cake they each took claim on their favorite! I stacked two mini cakes on top of each other with frosting in between. I then frosted with my desired color, set it on the track then gave the final touches after each consecutive train car was set in place. The animal car was the funnest. I used pretzel sticks (honey wheat twists) and placed a Hershey's candy car on top with frosting keeping it in place. I used frosted animal crackers inside. I wanted to dip the pretzels in white chocolate with sprinkles but didn't have time. I found the 100 calorie cookies with stripes that matched the big engine cookies to place on the smaller cars.
The caboose is double stacked. If I had more time I would have made a fun railing off the back out of fondant. I hope this gives you some ideas for you to create a fun cake for your little train lover. My boys still talk about their train birthday cake and it was 4 months ago.