Tis DS's party on Monday and I've promised him that I'd make him a train cake. I'm an alright baker but have always made "straight" cakes, not shaped ones or ones requiring fondant icing magic.
something similar to this looks like it would be an easier option to make for a relative novice, but I have no idea about sort of cake would be dense enough to support the icing. I'm fairly confident about following a cake recipe but I don't know what's suitable <stamps foot>.
Does anyone know what sturdy (child-frendly) cake would work best here and have a recipe they'd be willing to share? And does anyone know how I'd begin to go about doing the icing (and indeed, what sort of icing to use). And any guidance of what equipment and a rough guide to timings of when to make the cake, when to ice etc would be SO gratefully received - you'd have my eternal gratitude and love (which as we all know, coming from a random internet sprite is the best form of validation to have).
Please help! I'm panicking like a very panicked thing.
I came on MN for advice re a similar cakey problem. That cake is not as easy as it looks in my opinion and the outside design IS made of fondant icing. But it's not hard to work with....the design in the pic is simple...you need to roll coloured fondant out (buy ready made in Tesco) and then cut out the shapes. Stick them down with a dab of vodka.
If you are not experienced I suggest that you go to Tesco or M&S and buy one of their plain white iced cakes....they're occassion cakes with royal icing on them. Sponge inside...use that as your main cake and stick the fondant around the edge.
I make a lot of fancy cakes & I've never hit a problem with the type of cake I use, personally for a kids party I would go with a good chocolate cake base as I find thats what they all like best - I use a recipe very similar to this one
Best Chocolate Cake - though I add aprox a 200g bar of mixed chopped up milk & dark chocolate - get the cheap supermarket own brand eating stuff, nicer than cooking chocolate & a lot cheaper too.
if you are adventurous you could cover it with your own fondant icing - this is a good tutorial HERE - i would spread the cake with chocolate spread for ease
theres plenty of train decorating tutorials in - HERE
but if you want something simple, I would advice just covering the cake & cutting shapes to build up a train around the side of the cake - if you are not confident, print off & cut out templates to cut around
Just thought I'd do a quick update to everyone who was so kind as to pass on helpful hints!
Party was today and was lots of fun, if absolutely exhausting! Thanks for all the advice on the cake, have added a pic of the semi finished product on my profile. I added liquorice logs (couldn't find strings!) to make tracks around the cake board and the whole ensemble seemed to make DS happy, which was the main thing really.
Toby I used the recipe you linked to, and it produce a really stable, tight crumbed cake which was handy. Stayed away from the vodka though!