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Making a Bus Cake

(22 Posts)
bonzo77 Sun 04-Mar-12 22:46:22

maybe this should be in food....

I am making DS a cake in the shape of a bus. I'm going to make a rectangular cake (might need to make more than one and then trim and stick to get proportions right). Chocolate cake, a sort of dense sponge that was fine for gruffalo cake last year. Then I have bought ready to roll red icing to cover it. For decorations (windows, wheels etc), I've bought white ready to roll which I plan to paint with food dye. I realise that it might be a bit patchy, but that might look nice for the windows anyway. Does that sound like it will work? Do I need to put marzipan on first or not? The chocolate cake took the weight of the icing fine last time (it was a chocolate icing made with sour cream, a nigella recipe, but I had to use loads to even up the height of the cake). I'm not worried about the artistic side of making the cake, it's just the practicalities of getting the ready to roll icing on, having never done it before. How to get it smooth, especially on the corners of the cake?

Molehillmountain Mon 05-Mar-12 09:36:22

If I were you, I'd take the plunge and get some red food colouring paste and colour the icing before it goes on the cake. Or buy ready coloured. When you roll it out, icing sugar the surface and turn it a quarter turn with every roll to stop it sticking. Then when it's big enough, roll it up over the rolling pin and lay it over the cake. I hadn't done any work with fondant icing before I started doing the dc's cakes and I was surprised how manageable it all was. it's quicker, granted, to use the ready rolled stuff but not that much quicker and it only comes in white and ivory. Good luck, the cake sounds wonderful. Final tip-mistakes and cracks happen-cover them with windows, people, anything really! smile

Molehillmountain Mon 05-Mar-12 09:37:43

Oh blimey-wish I'd read the posts first then reply blush. Just advised you to do exactly what you said you were going to do! blush again.

Molehillmountain Mon 05-Mar-12 09:40:24

Oh - and a tool called an icing smoother or polisher is your friend. Lakeland and kitchen shops as well as cake decorating shops and sites sell them and they're two or three pounds. They are really easy to use, and give a brilliant, smooth finish

OhdearNigel Mon 05-Mar-12 12:35:59

I don't like using a smoother, I always smooth my cakes using the flat of my hand which I rub over the icing in circles.

bonzo77 Mon 05-Mar-12 13:43:27

thanks all. I think I will try an icing smoother, as am off to lakeland anyway to collect the red icing, and I have greasy, sweaty hands. Goodness knows how they would affect the icing!

I have normal food dye (liquid, not paste), can I dye the white ready to roll icing with that, or will it make it go sloppy? If it does can I rescue it by adding more icing sugar? Or is it better to make up fondant icing for the decorations by using the fondant icing sugar and mixing with the food dye (+water if too stiff). I'm just thinking if I have to mess about kneading and mixing I might as well do it with the sugar as it might be easier to get the colour right, and be less messy.

Cocodale Mon 05-Mar-12 13:49:41

I would suggest buying ready coloured red icing as even with paste colouring it takes an awful lot of the stuff and lots of kneading to get a decent red. A butter icing on the cake will help it stick in place. Good luck.

bonzo77 Mon 05-Mar-12 14:07:53

yeah, I've ordered red ready to roll, but won't need all that much black for wheels and bumpers, so thought I'd do that from scratch. Will try your butter icing suggestion coco.

BirdyArms Mon 05-Mar-12 18:06:19

I would use ready to roll icing rather than fondant icing and yes you can rescue it with icing sugar if it goes sticky, but I think it would be difficult to do anything other than very pale colours with liquid colour rather than paste. You can buy small quantities of 5 different colours (green, red, yellow, black and blue) in a pack from big supermarkets, made by Dr Oetker. I think black would come in handy for a bus.

Definitely do a thin layer of buttercream over the cake - I put it in the fridge to hard for an hour before I put the sugar paste on which seems to make it less messy.

caffinequeen Mon 05-Mar-12 22:43:31

If you are worried about the black, how about liquorice wheels? Grey would be fine for the bumper. You could put some sparkle powder on to make it look metallic (sorry, I have 2 DDs so glitter & sparkles are practically compulsory for birthday cakes in this house).

stealthsquiggle Mon 05-Mar-12 22:51:08

you need to cover the cake with buttercream first (not marzipan, though) - get the shape right, and the finish as smooth as you possibly can and then put it in the fridge and get it good and cold - this will give you a good base for your rolled out icing - don't roll it too thin, and then "ease" it over the corners - you should be able to do it without cutting, but if not, ease it into the corner and trim it off at the corner IYSWIM - then you can always hide the join with some bus-trimming if it won't smooth out.

Cake smoother is a good investment, though.

StainlessSteelCat Tue 06-Mar-12 07:35:06

I did this a couple of years ago. It did work, but I may still be a little traumatised! You're not planning to repeat my biggest mistake. I bought paste colour and dyed my own icing red <gibbers lightly at the memory>

White icing for windows - cut out some rectangles and stuck them on with water. Black icing for wheels (used paste to colour it, definitely doable with the smaller quantity!).

I rolled it out and draped it over, smoothed it down with hands. The smoothing tool would be handy (one day I will leave my cards at home and take cash into Lakeland. Its the only way I'll leave without a second mortgage) but hands worked.

The problem I found was that overnight the icing tore slightly under it's own weight on the sides of the bus (because yes, it HAS to be a double decker). I can't remember now how I repaired them, but I did. Probably just pushed them back together and resmoothed with a touch of water.

Enjoy making it. And the face of wonder when DS sees it grin

bonzo77 Tue 06-Mar-12 15:18:41

brilliant advice all, thank you. stainless obviously it has to be double decker! Am currently debating whether to do a life like standing up bus- replica or cop out and do it on its side. I am a bit scared of the icing tearing if the former, but I could lie the cake on its side over night.....

Have purchased a smoother, and some black writing icing for the number plates etc. I also accidentally bought a cake tin in Lakeland. I keep having to borrow, so I thought I might as well..... Oh and a special non- stick rolling pin for the icing, my wooden one it quite rough. Party is on Sunday. I have all day Saturday, and Saturday night to do the cake as DS is at my MIL (she has her uses, I suppose). Plan is:
Decide on dimensions of cake, make templates for wheels, windows etc.
Make cake very early Saturday morning, allow to cool, do any cutting and pasting required, then butter cream it and put in fridge.
Sit around a bit while DH is at work and DS at MIL. Make wheels etc while eating trimmings.
Roll and apply icing
Apply wheels etc
Take photo to post in my profile.

Molehillmountain Fri 09-Mar-12 18:20:06

Is this weekend cake time, op? Good luck and happy bus baking smile

bonzo77 Fri 09-Mar-12 18:27:17

Yes. Tomorrow is baking day! Thanks.

Stitchthis Sat 10-Mar-12 07:27:08

Wish id read this yesterday! I made a panda but it took hours!!!!

Molehillmountain Sat 10-Mar-12 09:42:11

Stitch this-bit of a sidetrack-but saw your knitted bunny and wondered if it's your own pattern or where I could get hold of it. He/she is lovely smile

Stitchthis Sat 10-Mar-12 19:24:37

knitted bunny is from this pattern by lucinda guy. It's very easy but a bit fiddly to make up. I'm so glad you like her, she's a firm favourite here!!

Molehillmountain Mon 12-Mar-12 18:13:07

Thank you! How was the cake, op?

bonzo77 Mon 12-Mar-12 20:31:11

Picture now up on my profile. It looks sort of wobbly, though. I'm sure it looked better in RL! It was tasty and DS was so excited by it, which was the whole point. Thanks everyone for your help.

Stitchthis Mon 12-Mar-12 20:52:13

I like!

SadieTutch Thu 11-Oct-12 21:00:32

Hi there,

I'm really wanting to make a bus cake for my little ones birthday coming up, I wondered if you had any tips on the sponge - and what shapes you made to put it together?
I'm a bit of a cake making novice, but desperate to make it myself for him!
Any advice you can give would be much appreciated!
Thanks!! :-)

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