The Monster Truck birthday cake was a huge hit with Woody! I got a few emails after his birthday post about how I did it, so I figured I’d give a quick tutorial.
First I baked my favorite chocolate cake in two loaf pans. After letting them hang out in the freezer a bit, I started carving and shaping. Basically, one loaf was used for the bottom half of the truck and then a portion of the other loaf was the cab. I used one of Woody’s little monster trucks to get proper proportions and really worked on shaping the cab and hood to help it look as realistic as it could. Then I crumb coated with buttercream frosting.
One little trick I figured out this time is how to get a super smooth crumb coat. In every fondant tutorial I’ve ever read, the experts say that getting a smooth crumb coat is vital in making the fondant look its best. But no matter how much I smoothed with the frosting knife, I couldn’t eliminate all the indents and ridges. This time I tried something new. I kept putting the cake in the freezer between working on it and other projects, which definitely “chilled” the butter in the buttercream. Then I used my finger to warm and smooth the buttercream frosting so there were absolutely no ridges whatsoever. It definitely made a difference when I topped it with the fondant.
For both the John Deere Tractor cake and the Noah’s Ark cake, I used store bought ready-made fondant. This time, I tried making my own. I used the Wilton recipe for Marshmallow Fondant and it worked really well. Not to mention that the bag of powdered sugar and bag of marshmallows are about 1/10th of the cost of the boxed fondant.
I made the Monster Truck Tires out of Rice Krispies and followed this AWESOME tutorial. Last year, I put the tire tread “V’s” on the outer layer, but this time I put them underneath. I think it made it look more realistic.
Another lesson I learned from the John Deere cake was that heavy layer cakes like this need a lot of support, especially in the heat. Sadly, the tractor was already stuck in the mud when the party started. This time I had Kyle make a cake stand out of plexiglass and dowel rods.
Then I covered it in Saran wrap and wrapped the legs in black fondant, to disguise them. The tires ended up basically just leaning against these legs, not having to support the actual cake/truck at all.
To make the flames, I colored a bit of fondant yellow, orange and red and laid them next to one another on wax paper. (I like using Wilton food coloring since the colors are so vibrant and true).
Then I just just started smearing them together with my figner, up and down, until it looked “flame-y”. I covered the flames with another sheet of wax paper and used a rolling pin to flatten it out. Then I stuck it in the freezer to get good and hard.
When I was ready, I just free-handed a couple flame shapes to apply to each side of the truck.
Again, learning from the John Deere experience, this time I rolled out a HUGE piece of fondant, large enough to cover the entire truck. Then I cut off the excess and cut out areas for the windows. This worked much better than trying to piece it all together, like I had done with the tractor.
For the final touches…the roll cage is just straws wrapped in gray fondant and I used a Play-Doh cut out for the “5″. The ‘dirt track’ was, of course, OREOs that I’d put through the food processor. (Best ice cream topping EVER!) The assembly was ridiculously easy: Set cake on cake stand. Lean tires against cake. Serve.
Tip: Don’t do this in a house that is 90 degrees! I think the marshmallow fondant was sweating as much as I was.
As always, if you make it…I’d love to hear how it goes and see pics. Good luck!