Thomas Cake – For a friend’s 3 year old son

thomas cake

This is by far the most difficult and time consuming cake I have ever prepared. But I enjoyed it thoroughly. Few months ago, my friend asked me to bake/decorate a cake for her son’s 3rd birthday. I was very excited about it.

Now after it is all done, I have to write down some things that I learnt. Before this cake, I thought I knew a lot about cake decorating. But this was a whole new learning. After reading two great detailed tutorials, I knew I was going to use fondant for covering the cake. I have not used fondant to cover a cake in a long time. Although I learnt some basics in the Wilton’s classes a long ago, I could not remember anything from then.

Day 1 : The tutorials asked to use a 12×18 sheet pan. I did not have the pan. I checked out and it was $20. I did not want to buy this just for one cake. I already have too many cake pans that I hardly use. So I decided to go with 11×8 pan I had. That meant my baking time was increased by 3 times!. I thought I would cut it later to make it 6" width. But my friend called again and said the guest list had grown a bit!. So I decided to keep it as it is. I baked 3 chocolate cakes. The recipe makes a very soft great tasting cake, I followed it exactly (last time I made this cake, I tried making some adjustments and the cake was not as soft). After all the cakes were baked, I cut them horizontally (to spread the chocolate frosting later), wrapped in silver foil and froze them.

Day 2 : Took out the cake, brushed it with sugar syrup, spread a layer of chocolate frosting in between layers and built the train. Then covered the cake with store bought Wilton’s buttercream icing. I had underestimated the amount of icing needed. So I ran out of it in between. I had to make a batch at home. (Used 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup shortening, a little vanilla, mixed everything). I also prepared marshmallow fondant and colored them in blue, black, red, yellow and grey.

Although the tutorial had mentioned to make the face at least 7 days in advance, I waited till day 2 to make it. Main reason being, I had no idea what would be the size of face required. The tutorial makes it look very simple. It was much harder than that. I tried couple of times and gave up. I did not like the way it was looking. So I asked the help of resident artist. Did I mention V is a very good artist? I had full faith in his sculpting skills. I requested him to sculpt the face. And he did not disappoint me!. The face was THE best part of the cake. He got the cheeky Thomas smile too!.

Day 3 : Rolled the fondant and covered the cake. Here were the biggest hurdles. I thought covering with fondant was very easy. I was so wrong!. The fondant kept breaking – I was rolling it too thin I think. It was very time consuming to cut all the thin strips needed. I think all I need here is more practice. I am sure I can do a better job next time.

Other very important thing to keep in mind – when you are following a tutorial, figure out the mistakes in the tutorial. I blindly followed the tutorial instead of looking at Thomas toy (although I had it infront of me). I later realized there were too many small errors – like the shape of the red lines on the sides are different on Thomas toy. The Number 1 is inside the red lines – not in between the lines!. On top of that, I made my own mistakes, so they add up!

In all, the cake was a huge hit at the party. Everyone liked it. The taste and texture of the cake were too good. Unlike last time, this time I had taken enough time to properly brush the cake with sugar syrup. I did not rush anything, took enough time to cool the cake before icing. I have to improve a lot in getting a smooth finishing. I will work on my fondant skills soon. I was very happy I could do this for the little dude, nothing more satisfying than making a child happy :).

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36 Comments for “Thomas Cake – For a friend’s 3 year old son”

sunita

says:

Wow!! This is marvellos. Hats off to you for this masterpiece. I’m sure the birthday boy was super delighted.

Sarah

says:

Hi, I have always been reading your receipes and found them very intresting. Hats off to you for managing work and the lovely receipes and cooking. I really loved the way you have made this cake and will try it for my son who is crazy about Thomas since he was a baby, now he is five years old. Will keep u posted after I make the cake. Fantastic job.

says:

Ah, Shilpa! I liked in on FB, but I want to keep liking it here too!
Well done, girl! you are so talented. I have liked all ur creations and am sure you will come up with more masterpieces.

says:

Gosh- you did a fantastic job! Lots of patience and hard work here. I always wonder whether fondant tastes good (obviously, it looks fantastic) and glad you mentioned that the taste was great too.

I have to agree that V’s sculpting of the Thomas face is SPOT-ON!

says:

Nupur, Earlier I had tried store bought fondant which tasted so bad. Marshmellow fondant is not that bad. I flavored it with a bit of vanilla. So it tasted good. After I finished the cake, I saw the author of the tutorial had used ginger bread house heaven’s fondant. I am going to try it next time.
Oh yes, the face was the best. V is a very good artist, I wish he got back to painting!

Saritha

says:

Shilpa, Foudant is not very great tasting. When you cut the cake, do you remove it or just cut is as usual and the guests remove it , or we eat it as such.

says:

Saritha, it was not as bad as store bought fondant. I made it with marshmellow and added a bit of vanilla to it. Everyone ate the cake along with fondant

Veena

says:

WOOWWW!!!! that is one amazing looking cake, Shilpa!!! Atleast I can try baking the chocolate cake. The rest will be too much of a challenge for amateur bakers like me. But one day……..

priya

says:

lovely looking cake….hats off to you for all the effort.I must say I visit a lot of food blogs but I’m hooked onto yours..keep up the good work.

Tejaswini

says:

Thanks for the prompt reply. I am a regular follower of your site and I find most of your recipes really simple & tasty. πŸ™‚
I am trying to follow your tips & decorate a cake for the first time. I hope it turns out ok.

Dinesh

says:

This is unbelievably beautiful. Like thesis work in cake-baking.
After all that work, how can anyone have the heart to drive a knife through such art?

says:

This one is Truly amazing Shilpa. How much patience and skills you have and that too with a little one at home and a job. Amazing. I can never, ever say “will try” on something like this, it is beyond me.

Harini

says:

Hi Shilpa,thomas cake looks awesome and for that matter all ur recipes are outstanding,i have been following your blog for a while and it is absolutely great.I have been so much motivated to start my own blog:) and hope to start one soon:)

shreya

says:

hey :)… i jus love ur recipes…. i tried making fondant but it jus never is good…. can u pls tel me how to make the fondant …. i stay in india so let me know the ingredients for it… πŸ™‚

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