I want to start by saying I’m a complete beginner when it comes to birthday cakes! I was inspired to make a “wow” cake for my beautiful little boy because of a childhood memory of a cake my mum had made of a Dolly Varden Cake. I was 4 yrs old (now 36) and I still recollect on that beautiful cake.
I knew nothing about how to even begin so I used the internet and video blogs (I’m a pictures kind of gal), from professional and home cooks to get the best tips for making my cake. This Construction cake was for my son’s 3rd birthday who is truck mad!
I found looking at loads of images on the net of similar themed cakes, especially https://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com to be extremely helpful.
Steps are below.
CAKE (make a week in advance and freeze)
> 1 x rectangle chocolate butter cake 25cm x 30cm
> 1 x Large cup cake (the ones that are massive), using only the cone shape (this will get cut down to form the dirt hill).
TIPS: After allowing your cakes to cool, level the top to ensure it’s a nice flat surface to work with. Also cut the cone or “hill” down in height to the size you want before freezing (I didn’t cut this before freezing and it made it difficult to cut while still frozen).
BUTTER CREAM ICING (also make and color in advance and refrigerate)
> I made 2 x batches of butter cream icing using my Thermomix. Recipe http://gastromony.com/wiltons-buttercream-icing
BROWN DIRT ICING – I made the brown icing using raw Cacao with some cooking cocoa also.
GREEN GRASS ICING– I used Hopper Natural green color (no preservatives or artificial colors . These colors are great but don’t give a deep color so I had to resort to adding Wilton’s concentrated Paste in Green Moss. It gave a more realistic green tone.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION CAKE!
1. Remove icing from freezer and using my Thermomix I blended it again to get it smooth. Because of the Copha it went very hard. So I needed to add a little milk in when re-processing.
2. Remove cakes from the freezer, unwrap and place on your rectangle cake on the cake board.
TIP: I used small clear silicone stoppers as “feet” for the board so I could left the board easily (my cake supplier sold them but you could get them at a hardware store surely).
3. Get your “hill” the topper of the large cupcake, and spread some brown butter cream icing on the flat underside to act as glue. Place in position on the rectangle base cake where ever you want it (I placed mine to the side).
4. Cover edges with brown butter cream first then cover rest of cake including the hill.
5. Map out a path/road using pieces of organic licorice cut into thin stripes to act as a border (this helped prevent the dirt from spreading elsewhere). Sprinkle Rappadura sugar along your path (could use crushed biscuits instead).
6. “Glue” your “rocks” (organic choc coated almonds, organic choc coated macadamia nuts, organic choc coated licorice) in clumped areas using a little brown butter cream on the underside of each one to ensure they stay in place. I also used Organic Carob coated honeycomb, as well as organic raw cacao nibs that looked just like small crushed rocks or gravel. Leave some flat area somewhere on the cake to place some trees.
Sprinkle some Raw Cacao pieces on top of the “hill” and place some butter cream on each wheel of the dump truck so it stays in place. Place more butter cream in the tray of the truck and spill down onto the cake (like the truck is dumping a load).
7. Insert the grass tip 233 into your piping bag and fill with green icing. Best way to fill is get a tall glass, insert the tip end into bottom of glass and fold edges of piping bag over the edge of the glass. This way the edges of the piping bag aren’t in the way whilst you’re trying to fill the bag. Warning – Don’t over fill the bag.
Randomize where the grass goes – don’t align it in a straight line, grass grows in clumps, up between rocks and grows to different heights.
1. Use mini waffle cones and cut one down a little shorter using a pair of kitchen scissors. Try to keep the base straight as you can so it sits upright on the cake. “Glue” to the base cake with some brown butter cream spread around the base of the cone.
2. Pipe using the grass tip all around starting at the base and working up.
Place rest of trucks using a little butter cream glue and your done. I used some plastic fencing around the back of the cake to cover the edges.
The reactions we had when the cake was brought out were amazing. People couldn’t believe it was all edible (except the trucks and fence) and were shocked that I’d never made a birthday cake before. It’s inspired some of the mums to have a go and one little boy requested to his mum to have a construction cake for his next birthday.
Happy baking and hope this has helped and one tempted to make a wonderful, what I call “Memory Cake” for their child, grandchild whoever.
Funny thing that happened when I brought the cake out, my son spotted the digger on the side. His little hand came up so quick and underneath my arm he stole it off the cake before I’d even put it down. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry after all that effort getting it to look just right.
I chose to laugh…