I made this Homemade Choo Choo Train Birthday Cake for my son’s recent 2nd birthday party. His love for trains had given me the idea for a train themed party. I started searching for the perfect train cake and immediately fell in love with the 3D cakes.
I then started contacting local bakeries and was receiving price quotes that was way out of my price range. So, I decided to take a shot at this myself! I had never decorated cakes, nor had I ever taken the first class. The first thing I had to do was find the Wilton 3D cake pan, which wasn’t easy. I had waited too long to order the pan online, and couldn’t risk shipping times as the party was less than one week away. After numerous Internet searches, I found a small independently owned cake supply store less than 20 minutes from our home. I immediately contacted them by phone and jumped for joy when the lady said they stocked the pan. I rushed to their location and purchased the pan. I also purchased a mini loaf pan to create the train cars and caboose. The employee’s were a blessing and informed me of tips and tricks for baking and decorating this cake. I had all of my ideas written down and drew a “blueprint” of the cake. I knew that I wanted bright, bold colors, and wanted to keep the design as simple as possible. Well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out that way.
First off, I had decided to bake and decorate a practice cake, which ended up being a wise decision. The practice cake was “ok” but in my opinion, needed much improvement. Every detail that I wanted to change or disliked was recorded in my blueprint. The time came very quickly to start the actual cake, I’ve never been so nervous! I wanted this cake just perfect for my little one. Starting 2 days prior to the party, my mom and I spent several hours in the kitchen together. She baked the cakes, which are always to die for and came straight from a box, meanwhile I made the homemade butter cream icing (Thanks to the Wilton recipe). I then tinted the icing with Wilton icing colors and placed approx. 1 cup of each color into my decorating bags and then stored in the fridge.
After the cakes cooled we placed each section onto individual cake boards that we cut into small rectangles. This way I could decorate each one separately and would be easier to handle. We created the train cars using 8 mini loafs, 4 loafs on the bottom and 4 on top. The caboose was made the same with an exception of a regular size loaf cut, shaped then centered on the top. Each car had the top center cut and removed to hold the freight. I iced the cars and caboose smooth, each a different color. I used Oreo’s along with Mini Oreo’s for the wheels and piped spokes on each one with white icing using tip #2. I used crushed Oreo’s in the first car as coal, and in the second car I used Oreo Fun Sticks broken in half and piped small brown circles to create the look of “logs”. For the last train car I used M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces for freight. Lastly, I piped a “roof” on the caboose with a rose petal tip. The engine was decorated in stars using tips #16 and #18 and for the steam, I used cotton candy.
I had trouble deciding how to transport this cake without it getting ruined in transit to the party. I didn’t want to place the individual cake boards with the cake onto a regular large cardboard cake plate, which doesn’t hold weight well. So, I found a large artist canvas constructed with wood framing and supports that would work great. We then wrapped the canvas in green table paper and covered with multiple layers of plastic wrap. After arriving at the party location, we removed each section of the cake from boxes and arranged them onto the canvas. I then used black licorice to attach each section of the train together. With the leftover mini loaf cake tops, I crumbled into small pieces and spread around each section of the train. I had decided to do this first of all to cover the cardboard cake plates and secondly for a look of dirt. I used tip #12 to pipe the train tracks then used yogurt covered raisins as rocks to sprinkle between and around the tracks. I used coconut and green food coloring to make “grass”,which I used along the edges of the dirt. I made RR signs with Oreo’s and orange fondant then piped the sign using tip #4.
Wow, was this a learning experience! It took a little longer than anticipated but turned out to be awesome! My little man was sooo excited and was well worth every minute. Thanks to everyone on this website for their wonderful ideas. It was a huge help to refer back to this site for small idea’s that make such a big difference! I hope that this cake was the first of many more to come!