I made this Thomas Train Birthday Cake for my son in 2010 for his 6th birthday. I used a regular rectangle baking dish and covered the cake in a layer of white butter cream icing, smoothed with a hot decorating knife. I found a picture of Thomas the train from one of my son’s favorite books, enlarged it to the desired size, cut it out and used it to trace the shape of the character on the top of the iced cake with a toothpick. I then filled in the details with a point tube and a small star tube.
I used my mom’s home-made butter cream icing recipe, which is really rather simple: a package of powdered sugar, about 1 cup of shortening, 1 tsp vanilla and some milk, then blended with an electric mixer, adding milk or powdered sugar until it is the desired consistency. I hardly ever measure. It is important for the star tube that the icing not be too runny, but that it has a good quantity of shortening and powdered sugar to keep the form of the stars and so they don’t flatted in the heat. I used paste colors added to the white icing to make the different colors, since I get the best results for consistent color and no bleeding.