Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thomas the Train Birthday Cake

So far I've been failing miserably at the whole keeping up with New Year's resolution thing. I usually never make resolutions, but I've been getting overwhelmed with other things (like the rest of the population, I suppose) and neglecting this blog. More importantly, I've been neglecting the things that calm and relax me when things get crazy. So I put it out there to the world (well, Facebook) that for the first time in over a decade, I was making a resolution. I was going to make more cake in 2014. Here we are at the end of March and I'm finally getting to make good on that promise to myself. A little slow to start, but hopefully, it's the beginning of more cake making this year. Luckily, my son's 4th birthday today gave me the push I needed :)

Last year, I went big out of guilt. Check out the post here if you like. It was to be his last birthday as an only child so I wanted to make it the best ever. He was excited, but not fully aware that the fuss over him was about his birthday. But this year was different. He's been asking since January, "Mommy, is it my birthday yet?". The anticipation has been killing him and he had a request. He wanted a Thomas cake. We perused Pinterest as usual and found tons of inspiration. No shortage at all of Thomas the Train cake ideas. I took aspects of cakes I liked and mocked up sad sketches of cakes.

We do have paper on hand, so I have no idea why this is on a paper towel. Anyway, I couldn't decide, so I posted the picture to Facebook - where I apparently have all decisions made for me and got zero votes for cake 1. I really liked the second one, but people seemed to gravitate mostly to cake 3, which I liked, but it was also the most involved. Naturally, I took it as some sort of challenge. What I ended up doing is a sort of blend of the two. Always changing my mind :) I made a Thomas face for the top tier, and made the bottom tier of number 3, switching out the tree for a Railroad Crossing sign. I liked the result and more importantly, my kiddo liked it, so it's a win. 

For the cake, I used this recipe from I am baker. It was for two 8 inch cake pans so I doubled it and had enough for 3 eight inch cake pans and 2 six inch cake pans. There might have been enough to divide it into 3 six inch pans but I only had 2 pans. I'll work on that. 
Generally, I completely stress over cakes and crying ensues at some point when things aren't working like I want them to and I think this one was relatively stress free given my expectations. Part of that was deciding on partial instead of full fondant. It could have looked a lot smoother, but I was craving a fluffy buttercream, so I used the recipe found here at add a pinch.
Because I'm super proud of how it turned out, I'm adding a close-up shot of the Thomas face. I cut two gray circles and rolled up three tiny little fondant balls to place between them to make his nose and cheeks realistic and I think it had a nice effect. The black to color his pupils and surround his nose and mouth was just a food safe marker. 

Another (blurry) close-up for good measure!

Overall, it looked great, tasted good and the icing on the cake was that dude was happy. I should admit that he was happy after it was iced in blue only. I'm a lucky mom. I get to do it all over again in one month from today when my second baby turns 1 :)

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