Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thomas the Tank Engine cake

Being 6.5 years older than my brother, I clearly remember all his tv/movie obsessions when he was younger: Barney, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Power Rangers, License to Drive, and of course Thomas the Tank Engine (with the original Mr. Conductor George Carlin!!), just to name a few.

So it was a bit of a blast from the past when I made a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for a friend's son's 3rd birthday party. Being a boy of course he's in LOVE with Thomas. And it was a super fun for me too as I had the opportunity to be really creative with the cake. Plus, it's great to see such a wonderful story still perpetuating with the younger generation.

Everything is hand-made by me, other than Thomas (he's a functioning toy) 
and the chocolate rocks.

While ultimately the cake was my creation, ideas for every component were stolen borrowed from cakes that my friend had found on Pinterest. All I did was take my favorite parts of each cake and merge them into one.

Other simple but awesome parts of the cake were the hand-painted birds and 3D clouds on the top tier. To make the clouds I found this great tutorial on Pinterest, but instead of using fondant balls underneath I decided to use marshmallows! Basically I just ripped marshmallows in small pieces and wrapped them with a thin layer of fondant. Viola! Clouds!! The great thing about them is that while they're poofy, they're very light, so they easily stick directly to the cake. Or you can prop them up using a thin piece of wire (like I did for the floating cloud behind Teddy's name in the 1st picture above).

I loved the clouds, but the tunnel was one of my favorite parts of the cake. It really gave the cake some depth and motion, as if you could just picture Thomas cho-cho-chooing out of that stone-lined tunnel.

Here's another hot tip when cake decorating: use non-edible props on cakes when it'll save you a ton of time. Case in point: my Thomas toy. Just that one component would have taken me at least an hour or two (ore more) and it wouldn't have looked nearly as good, especially when Thomas is so iconic. Plus, let's be honest here: kids don't really give a shit. (Not in the same way adults do.) They'll be excited no matter what. And Teddy definitely was.

As each kid walked into the party, the first thing he'd do would be to walk over to them, put his hand in theirs, and walk them to the table as he said "Come see my Thomas cake." He literally did this with every single kid, and it definitely made my day!

Yours in helping to bring a bit of excitement to a little boy's very big 3rd birthday party,


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