We've been pretty busy around our house this week. JD turned 2 on Saturday, and Libby turned 5 today! I can't believe how big my kiddos are getting!
We had a family celebration for the kids on Saturday, with both sets of grandparents coming into town for the festivities. The kids relished all the love and attention!
JD has recently fallen in love with trains, thanks to the GeoTrax train set that Santa brought him for Christmas, so I decided to make him a train cake for his birthday. I loosely followed these directions from Kraft, but made it MSPI-friendly. If you don't want to use a cake mix, try making a Wacky Cake instead.
Birthday Train Cake
1 pkg. MSPI-friendly cake mix, including the ingredients needed to mix batter
2 tubs MSPI-friendly vanilla cake icing
Assorted food colorings
17 MSPI-friendly chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos
1 pkg. ring-shaped hard candies
1 cup MSPI-friendly chocolate-flavored cereal
6 MSPI-friendly animal crackers
1 miniature marshmallow
24 pieces licorice (I used chocolate flavored.)
Mix together cake batter, according to package directions. Grease five foil miniature loaf pans. Divide batter evenly between loaf pans. Bake according to package directions -- about 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Completely cool cakes.
If necessary, slice off the tops of the cakes so they sit evenly when flipped upside down. Line up four cakes, bottom sides up, on a large tray or serving platter for train cars. (I covered a large piece of cardboard with foil.)
Slice fifth cake in half. Place one piece at the back end of the first cake to resemble train engine. Place the second piece in the middle of the last cake to resemble caboose.
Tint icing with food coloring, as desired. Frost the cakes -- see the tip below.
Decorate cakes with candy: Place licorice along sides of cakes to form train tracks. Place four Oreo cookies on each train car for wheels. Using icing, "glue" a hard candy to each wheel. Using a serrated knife, slice off one-third of an Oreo. Stack the two pieces together, and place them on the front of the engine. Put a hard candy on top of that, with a marshmallow "glued" to its center.
Place hard candies on engine and caboose for windows. Place 2-inch slices of licorice around the zoo car for cage bars. Place animal crackers inside cage. Sprinkle top of coal car with the cereal. Finally, use a large birthday candle as the engine's smoke stack.
Tip: Icing cakes can be messy. To make it easier, first refrigerate your cakes, then smooth on a thin coating of icing, called a crumb layer. Refrigerate again. Then smooth on your main layer of icing. The crumb layer will capture the cake crumbs, and keep your main layer nice and clean!