This is a good birthday cake choice for moms out there who want to make something special for their Thomas fans but think that making a 3-D Thomas-shaped cake is a little too much work or too difficult! I knew I would be 8 months pregnant by the time my son's 2nd birthday came around, and it being near Christmas time and the Deer and Beer party also happening at the same time, it's already super busy. I searched pinterest and the internet to find a cute Thomas themed cake or cupcake idea that wasn't too elaborate or ridiculous.
I found this idea from whimsygirlscakes on cakecentral.com that is way nicer than the cake I did but I figured I could do a version of the top layer of her cake. No need to create a 3D train, I will just use one of the new trains I got my son for his birthday and have it sticking out of the tunnel. I liked her #2 and the clouds in the sky but I improvised and used a sparkly blue 2 candle and made my floating clouds out of cardstock (I found the fondant to be way too heavy to have on a springy wire like that). I cut out my clouds and hot glued them onto some silver craft wire that I had on hand, which I had wound around a pencil to make it look like a spring. This idea worked great for the clouds and sun (the sun was some clip art that I printed out). I would definitely use this homemade glued spring idea again for clouds, etc, to have springing out of the cake! It was totally easy and you can make it in advance.
I also made a cupcake train which was inspired by the super cute Thomas cupcake train from the "A Britt Without Boys" blog post. I spent a TON of time trying to get oreos or even paper circles stuck onto the foil tins to act as wheels.. it was so annoying. Nothing worked, I broke tons of cookies with jabbing the toothpicks and skewers in, etc. I tried those pinwheel chocolate marshmallow cookies, also.. it was just an epic fail. Eventually I had to give up and just throw the cupcake freight cars onto the table without wheels and honestly, I hardly notice they are missing wheels. It's pretty obvious that it's a train. I already had the large Thomas train plastic whistle, who led the cupcakes down the table. From that blog, I got the idea for those square green and blue silicon reusable cupcake holders, which definitely made the cupcakes look more freight-like. I used red velvet cake for the cupcakes and the cake, since the red/blue theme went nicely with Thomas's shiny paintwork.
For the layer cake itself, I used red velvet cake with buttercream frosting in blue which was the "sky" backdrop. I rolled fondant into balls and some black food coloring to make the rocks around the tunnel, and painted some fondant black for the tunnel itself and cut it out into a "tunnel" shape. I used gray buttercream and piped a train track around the cake board which I wrapped in black foil paper. I rolled out some white fondant and made the clouds that were attached to the cake itself. Lastly, I used green tinted buttercream with my grass tip to create the border of grass around the cake.
The day of the party, I was totally frazzled as I waited until that day to make all the food and didn't even get a chance to drop the kiddo off at school so it was exhausting and I didn't get a chance to decorate everything and do everything I wanted. Those picture-perfect pinterest people.. really get on my nerves. They must have unlimited time or help and fabulous natural lighting all the time.
I made Martha Stewart's chicken tenders (made with rice krispies, yummy!) for the kids and Giada's sausage stuffed manicotti for everyone else (which was a little too time intensive) and that all turned out OK. Add in some salad and some garlic bread, fruit, treats, and the cake, and you have plenty for a party. I didn't take a picture but I had another train set up on the counter which was hauling some foil tins of snacks - caramel corn, veggies/dip, salty snacks, etc. Walmart had the table cloths, blue and red streamers and balloons and blue paper bags which I filled with goodies for the party-goers.
Everything went great until the very last second when my 2 year old touched the candle and burnt his finger bad enough to get a blister. It happened so fast, I was surprised it got so burnt. He still takes about "finger, candle, hot, boo boo" even 4 months later... guess you have to learn some time. I felt really bad about that! Otherwise, the Thomas-themed party went great.