Our 2 year old is obsessed with trains, bridges, tracks, trees and fish so my husband and I knew a train-scape cake was what we were going to make. I started out looking at train cakes online and then sketched out a plan without knowing if we could turn it into cake but it worked.
Four 9X13 white cakes (recipe slightly modified from Joy of cooking) was the base for our cake. We use a 7 minute icing (from Alton Brown’s coconut cake recipe but leave out the coconut extract) for decorating. People loved how the cake tasted and looked.
Here is how we made it:
Lake and River: Blue Jello-jiggler with gummy fish. We made this in a small round pan that we traced when cutting out the section of the cake where the lake would go. Before the jello became completely hard we put in the gummy fish and then added more jello on top until solid. We then divided the jello jiggler and layered them in the cut out section of the cake. We put some wood wrapped in tin foil against the lake and let it reharder overnight. The river we used frosting and chocolate bits that are sold in straws to turn milk into chocolate milk.
Bridge: Ramps/wedges were carved out of cake and we inserted a Graham cracker between the two cake sections. My husband drilled holes in pretzel rods and threaded red licorice through to the make the suspension bridge. We use brown food coloring in the frosting but if we did it again we would make chocolate frosting.
Trees: Trimmed down sugar cones dipped in frosting and then coated in green rice crispies. I put the rice crispies in a zip lock and added some green food color with a little water. If I had a spray bottle that probably would have been better.
Tracks: Hershey bar pieces and white piped frosting.
Station/house: Two mini loafs stacked with chocolate bar roof and fondant windows
Tunnels (on sides): Black frosting surrounded by snow caps. We used plastic Thomas Train cake toppers. We would have liked to use a more generic train but couldn’t find any plastic ones that were the right scale.