Last year, I made our son a Thomas the Train cake (Coolest Thomas the Train Birthday Cake 190). It was well received by our son, family, and friends, so I was stoked to give my all to another cake this year!
Mater turned out to be this year's cake star! I decided, like last year, to freehand the cake. I used boxed cake mix to make the cake. I then found a picture of Mater online and looked at it while cutting the outline of Mater. One thing I did not do is include his side mirrors. I added them later. I recommend including them from the start, as I had to use toothpicks to keep them attached to the rest of the cake.
Not thinking much about it, I made the cake on a cake platter covered by tin foil. Once I placed the cake where I wanted it, I mixed the frosting. I used 1.5 pounds of powdered sugar, 1/3 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of shortening, and 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I then divided the white frosting. I saved some of the white frosting. I used food coloring to get the other colors (brown, green, blue, and red). I did buy the black frosting in tubes for the outline of Mater and the wheels.
Next, I went to work using Wilton bags and frosting tips. I mostly made small stars. The cake did not look like Mater until I added the black outline and wheels. Before I added them, my husband looked concerned. After them, he said "Now that looks like Mater!"
When presented to our son, family, and friends, they all offered generous reviews. Our son easily recognized him. Our son was a little distracted during his birthday party, yet when we got home he asked if he could eat Mater's mouth!
The fun thing about Mater is that you really cannot go wrong. As my husband observed, Mater is a little goofy in general. There really should be no worries if your Mater comes out looking goofy!