Train Cake Tutorial

This family tradition is always fun and delicious!  Train cakes have been a part of our family for over 40 years.

You should get started the night before your party.  That’s right.  Bake your cake ahead of time.  Use a box mix, like Pillsbury.  Mix up the cake batter by following directions on the box.  I like to put wax paper in the bottom of a sheet cake pan.  I then spray the wax paper with Pam.  My mom used wax paper when making cakes.  That’s where I get it from.  The cake comes out easier this way.  Ok, so pour your batter in the pan and bake it following directions on the box.  Cool cake completely.  When I made this cake, I made the cake from scratch.  I’ll NEVER do that again.  It was very crumbly and hard to work with.  Tasty! But hard to frost.  Box cake mix is best for this project.

When your cake is done, set it aside for the next day.  Now is the time to inventory your candy, jimmies and sprinkles. Heading out to the store for supplies is much better done the night before, than the day of the party.  Here are some of the things I use, but go ahead and use whatever you want.  I use: peppermint rounds for wheels, M & M candies, nerds, colored sprinkles, jimmies, and sugars, licorice, skittles, gum drops and whatever else looks good in the candy isle.  My son, picked up a ring pop for me.  It makes a nice smoke stack on the engine.

I have a 4 1/2 foot long by 3 inch wide  board.  Covering this board with foil allows it to serve as my ‘Train Platform’.  I cut squares out of cardboard and cover them with foil.  These serve as bases for my train cars.  The engine car base is a little longer than the rest of the train car bases. The coal car base is a little smaller.  You can get about 10 cars out of a sheet cake.

The above picture here shows how I use the foil covered cardboard base as a guide when cutting the cake.

I try to cut the cake a tiny bit smaller than the cake base.

Then I frost the cake piece with 7 minute icing and start adding sprinkles.  Yes, I see the frosting on my thumb.  It’s a good idea to keep washing your hands while making this cake because it’s so sticky.

You can google “7 minute icing” to get the recipe.  It’s perfect for this cake.

Here you’ll see I added M & M’s to this car.  Don’t worry my thumb will be washed by the next picture.

To connect all the cars, I stick a piece of licorice in one end and push it into the car in front.

Like this.  Now it’s connected!

We need wheels now.  These peppermint rounds work great for wheels.  I used red here.  I have seen them in a variety of colors.  I usually use red because that’s what my mom used.

There are a couple of cars on the cake that are different shapes.

The engine is a rectangle plus a square on the top back half.  That piece is where I usually put the candle.

And there is a little triangle in the front to act as the cow catcher.

The coal car is a square car with a hollowed out area to insert coal/nerds.

The caboose is a rectangle with a square on top in the middle.

And here is the finished product!  The extra candy can be served up along side the cake for everyone to try.  At this party all the little ones were able to have their own train car.  The engine usually goes to the birthday child.  If there are more children than cars, you can cut the cars in half.