Last week was my littlest apprentice chef’s third birthday. Two of his favourite things in the world are cake and trucks, so his birthday presented the perfect opportunity to roll these things into one!
After Googling all sorts of truck and construction related cakes, I finally decided on a bulldozer cake with a laminated photo of him in the ‘driver’s seat’.
Here’s how to do it…
1. Baking and shaping the cake
Bake two large rectangular cakes. Cut out two long thin rectangles for the main body of the bulldozer cake. Then cut out two (or three, depending on the thickness of your cake) squares for the cabin. Finally, cut out two long triangles for the tracks. Make sure you cut the triangles to the right thickness for whatever you’re using to make the tracks – we used TeeVee Snacks Malt Sticks. If you’re making the cake in advance (which I highly recommend!), wrap it in cling wrap and put it in the freezer. (Just make sure you take it out to thaw before you ice it. I took this one out in the morning and iced it in the evening.)
2. The photo
If you’re planning on putting a photo on the front, it’s a good idea to do this in advance. To set the photo up, get your little dozer driver to pose in some sort of a ‘car’ with a steering wheel. Once you’ve got a photo you’re happy with, black out the background using the paintbrush tool in Photoshop (or another photo editing program). Then you need to cut it to the right size and laminate it. To get the right size and shape, I used a paper template cut to a size that worked for my cabin.
3.Making the fondant details
About a week ahead of the party, I made up the fondant pieces for the cake. I did this early because I wanted them to dry fairly hard so they’d be easier to work with. I also used a hardening agent called tylose powder to make these pieces dry harder.
To make the bucket, I used one of Mr.3’s trucks as a mould and left it overnight. To make sure the fondant didn’t get stuck in the toy, I stuck a strip of baking paper inside the bucket. This also helped to leverage the fondant bucket out when it was dry.
Using the yellow fondant, I also rolled two poles to use as ‘forks’ for the bucket. A little tip here – my first attempt turned out lumpy because I rolled them with my fingers. For the ones pictured below, I used an unopened block of ready-to-roll fondant to get a smoother surface.
Using black ready-to-roll fondant (bought from the supermarket), I created ‘windows’ for the sides and back, and a ‘grate’ for the front. To get the texture for the grate, I made indentations with a bamboo skewer. I also used the black fondant and a ‘3’ mould to create numbers for the sides and back.
4. Preparing the board
This part is obviously completely optional, but I used a black and yellow striped ribbon that I made myself by wrapping a yellow ribbon over a black one and sticking it to a chopping board with double-sided tape (I don’t necessarily recommend this – it was really fiddly and a bit of a pain!). I then rolled black fondant over the board so the edges were a bit ‘rugged’.
5. Non-fondant details
Other than the pieces described above, I used the following:
- brownies for ‘rocks’ (baked ahead, broken up and frozen, then thawed the day before)
- TeeVee Snack malt sticks for the ‘tracks’
- witches hat candles that I bought online from The Party Cupboard
- 3 x licorice discs for the ‘wheels’ on each side (six in total) (I found these at the Sugar Station chain of lolly shops), and strips that I cut up from licorice straps to join the wheels together
- two upturned raspberry lollies for lights
- one thick piece of licorice for the smoke funnel
- yellow buttercream for the icing (I used this recipe, doubled it and added a heap of yellow gel colouring until I got the desired brightness. Ice the pieces before you place them on your board to keep the board free from excess icing).