We got back from spending five days at my parent’s vacation home in Wisconsin Dells earlier this week. It was a nice weekend with my parents, siblings and their families all going so that we could spend Father’s Day together and celebrate my son Luke’s 10th birthday. Luke is one of my two boys on the Autism Spectrum and while he is high functioning he is not as high as my other son is. Luke in many ways is just like all other ten-year old little boys, he loves video games, likes to read, gets annoyed with his younger siblings and so on. There are other areas though where he is not like your “normal” ten-year old. He doesn’t ask for music downloads, Lego sets or action figures for gifts to play with no, he still wants Thomas the Train toys. Other kids, even cousins, have made fun of him for this but he just says they don’t know better. He gladly stands up for his love of all things Thomas the Train. I actually wish they would make toys for older kids. I can’t tell you how many times we have been at Toys ‘R Us and had another Autistic child who is excitedly buying trains there too. For us, we love Thomas too. He has taught Luke to understand emotions and relationships better. He talk better and it has even helped him develop his ability in imaginary play. (To learn more about Thomas the Train and Autistic children check out this article from The National Autistic Society.) So when Luke asked for more Thomas the Train toys that is what he got and even though we were on vacation and I didn’t have all my supplies when he announced he wanted a Thomas & Friends train cake this year I gladly made it.
To make the cake since we were on vacation I just used boxed cake mix and canned vanilla frosting. I did not want to have to haul one of my KitchenAid stand mixers with me on vacation. Instead all I brought was my hand mixer so this was just easier to do.
Luke was so excited with how it came out. He was even more excited when he realized that the new Edward wooden train he had asked for was on top of the cake! Once the candles were blown off he asked if he could have it.
This cake ended up being remarkably easy to make and if Luke likes Thomas the Train next year I am sure this will be requested again or he may just ask me to make it again so that he can play trains on it too… who knows.
- 1 cake board
- 1 13"x9" cake unfrosted
- 2 cans of vanilla frosting
- 3 disposable pastry bags or large sturdy baggies
- Wilton grass tip #233
- Wilton tip #12
- 2 shades of green food coloring (I used green and moss green)
- brown food coloring
- Kit-Kats (You'll need 16-18 individual ones depending on spacing)
- 4 Tootsie Rolls
- Chocolate Sprinkles
- Thomas & Friends wooden train or an equivalent brand
- Tint one of the cans of vanilla frosting with green food coloring until you reach the desired color. Lightly frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting with half the can of frosting.
- Place the Kit-Kats across the cake as the railroad ties. Fill one of the pastry bags fitted with the grass tip with the remaining green frosting from the first can and pipe "grass" on the top of the cake except for where the railroad ties are at. Where the "grass" and railroad ties meet sprinkle on the chocolate sprinkles so that it looks like dirt. Roll out the Tootsie Rolls and connect two together. You will do this twice. Place them on the railroad ties as the rails. Make sure that they are a proper distance apart so that the train's wheels will hit them correctly.
- Divide the second can of frosting in half and color one half moss green and the other brown. Fit the last two pastry bags each with #12 tips and add the green and brown frostings to them. I piped little pine trees with the green and used the brown to pipe the trunks. You can then add additional chocolate sprinkles as dirt if you want.
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