A couple of months ago Monkey turned 2 (yes that’s how long it’s taken me to write this post. Whatevs).
I, quite proudly I might add, made him a rockin’ fire truck birthday cake which was no easy task given that last year I attempted to make a wheel and it looked more like a spaceship.
I absolutely scoured the internet researching how to make this thing. I looked at squillions of pictures on Pinterest and I watched You Tube videos and I looked at a gazillion google images. I searched and searched for how to blogs but there where very few.
In the end I couldn’t find one exact cake that I wanted to make. Some looked ugly or stupid, some weren’t quite how I imagined fire trucks and others just weren’t quite right. So I took ideas from various different online sources and I designed my own cake. As I had so much trouble finding what I wanted I thought I’d put together something for the online world so that maybe one day it will help you.
Now my cake’s not perfect as you can see but I think it’s pretty darn good for an amateur AND my kid a) loved it and b) knew what it was, so I take that as a win. Here’s how I did it.
The making of a fire truck birthday cake
- 1 rectangular slab of butter cake. The bigger the slab the longer your truck will be so you decide how big you want it to be.
- Red gel foodcolouring – get the flavourless one. If you don’t (as I didn’t) your icing will taste a bit rank as you need to use so much of it to get a bright red.
- Enough icing mixture (1 bag) and butter (1 x 250g stick) to make loads of icing. I made one big batch and scooped a bit out to use for the white. I coloured the rest red.
- White fondant icing
- Decorations: I used sugar coated jube lollies, licorice, chocolate biscuits and white chocolate letters and numbers
- 1 cake tray, covered in foil (I decorated my cake on the tray I intended to service it on…there was no way I was transferring that sucker)
1. First of all, I put aside an entire day to make this cake. The party was at 10:30am the following day so the plan was to make the cake and refrigerate overnight. My research said that this was OK and it turned out just fine. Get it out of the fridge maybe an hour before you want to do the birthday thing so it de-chills a little.
2. I already had an almost full slab of butter cake. A friend had it left over from her daughter’s birthday cake and gave it to me. I froze it until I needed it. It is also easier to cut a frozen cake as it doesn’t crumble so do that if you can (thanks Mum!). For this cake I cut the rectangle in half long ways and then lifted the two halves to stand on their thing long side. I forgot to take a picture of this so here is one I made for you in paint.
3. Carve the frozen slabs into the appropriate shape. For this cake I decided to carve in a slanted front windscreen. I also did a slight dip between the front and back sections of the cabin which basically just meant cutting a chunk out. I then trimmed the top of the back part of the engine so that it was lower than the front part. I thought this defined it more. Looking at this now I can see that the shape would also be great for a truck/semi-trailer cake. All you’d have to change are the icing and decorations!
4. At this point I did a crumb coating for the cake, something I highly recommend you take the time to do. Basically the crumb coating is a light layer of icing over the cake. Once applied you refrigerate the cake for about an hour so the icing will set. Once it has set the icing provides a nice smooth base layer for you to do your decorative icing. This ensures a smoother more professional finish for your cake (once you’ve had more practice obviously, my still looks like amateur hour but my point is IT COULD BE WORSE!).
Here’s what the cake looked like after the crumb coating. See how you can still see the cake through the thin layer? That’s ok. This is just to provide a nice base.
5. While I waited the hour for the icing to set I made these really cool firetruck biscuits. Check ’em out!
I packaged these individually in cellophane and gave them out in the treat bags as a party favour. They looked super cute and were easy to make. I’ll pop the directions at the end.
6. Then I got the cake out of the fridge to do the real work with the icing and decorations.
It was red icing everywhere except for the top 3/4 of the front cabin of the truck which I decided to make white. I then cut out fondant rectangles to make the windscreen and side windows appear more smooth. It looked a little unfinished with just the icing.
I also used white fondant to do the (very straight) strips down the side and the water hose and the ladder. The ladder was a bit lame as I didn’t have enough time to let it dry so it kept breaking all the time. Best to pre-make things like that the day before so they can dry out hard enough for you to decorate with them effectively.
All the black edging and the windscreen wipers are licorice. The wheels are chocolate biscuits. I used the icing to stick a jube lolly to the middle for the hubcaps. The words down the side are white chocolate and I just purchased them from the cake decorating section of the local supermarket (Woolies for the Aussies).
More jubes on the top and front for the lights and the cake is done! This was nowhere near as neat as it could have been. If you had the time and did the right prep then I think this cake could look really schmiko. Regardless, I wasn’t unhappy. It looked great and everyone enjoyed it, rank icing or not. Well actually, I tried to give everyone mostly the white icing where I could to avoid the rank thing. It worked OK. Just buy the flavourless gel colouring and then you won’t have to worry about this.
Fire truck biscuits
These babies were easy peasy to make. I pretty much copied this recipe here except I used white for the etching which I think looked better.
To make these you need plain rectangular biscuits, more of those jubes for the siren, small round chocolate things for the wheels (so look at the size of your biscuit and figure out how small they need to be) and white writing icing for the ladder etc. You can just get this from the baking section of the local supermarket (Woolies again for us).
You then just chop the corner off the biscuit, ice and decorate. EASY! I had plenty of icing from the cake (I even threw some away) so don’t stress about that. You won’t run out.
And here’s our party table. Ta da!