This organic train tunnel cake came about because our son Devon wanted a train cake and a gingerbread house. It seemed like a good idea to turn the house into a tunnel. It actually wasn’t all that hard to make, with some advance preparation.
Several weeks beforehand, we baked up a bunch of small gingerbread people, made frosting faces, and put them in the freezer (ziploc bags or Tupperware). For gingerbread recipes, I like the low-fat gingerbread from the New Joy of Cooking the best but I think I had an Arrowhead Mills mix on hand that worked out ok for the people.
Another night, I cut a template out of manila folders for the tunnel, and baked the walls and roof. Critical mistake here – I used a sugar cookie mix for the roof and it completely caved in so I had to re-make using my favorite gingerbread recipe above. I stored the pieces in the freezer.
Another night I made two train cakes, one lemon and one chocolate, using a train cake mold. I stored these in the freezer.
The night before the party, I assembled the tunnel (using royal icing) and made the train tracks (melted semi-sweet chocolate with a little cream, improvised ganache), and made the stop sign (lollipop with royal icing letters) and stuck it down. I stuck people on the roof and inside the tunnel and around the yard. I stuck organic candy to the tunnel walls. I also brought the train pieces out of the freezer to defrost.
The morning of the party I used lemon icing (lemon juice and powdered sugar) and organic candies to decorate the trains.