I’ll show you the details of how to make this truck cake. It’s easier than you think and a large part can be done ahead of time to make the party day a little easier! It was definitely a big hit for a little two-year-old who loves vehicles–and chocolate–of all kinds. His response? “Truck! Cake! Truck! Cake! Zshhhooom!” That was good enough for me. What a compliment! He even helped me add candy to the box part of the truck. I brought over a chair for him to stand on, handed him the candy and he promptly unwrapped it and ate it. Such a big helper! ; ^)
- 3 cake mixes, making sure at least one is chocolate (with all ingredients to make according to box)
- 9″x 13″ cake pans
- 2 batches of frosting (I used homemade but prepackaged can be used. If using prepackaged, I would estimate 4 cans)
- 1 recipe marshmallow fondant (or 3 lb. purchased fondant)
- 24 oz. black fondant (I used purchased–black is a difficult color to make)
- 1/2 recipe crispy rice cereal treats, modeling version (melt 23 large marshmallows in lg. bowl in microwave. Take out. Add 3 C. crispy rice cereal. Stir.)
- 5 (12 oz.) bags of red (or desired color) candy chocolate for box part of truck
- 1 (12 oz.) bag dark brown candy chocolate
- About 1/4 C. of royal-type icing ( I just mix a small amount water into powdered sugar until it’s gooey)
- Food coloring (preferably paste) to tint fondant construction yellow, small amount of white, small amount of gray (make gray with the black fondant mixed with white)
- 2 (9″x13″) sturdy cardboard cake boards
- Candy for filling truck
- Edible marker (optional, for door and/or name)
- Letter cutters, if desired
- Cornstarch for rolling out fondant
- Shortening for greasing lid (tire), for hands (if desired when working with homemade fondant), cornstarch for rolling out fondant, wax paper, cling wrap, tissue paper to help fill the box part of the truck.
A few things you can make ahead of time:
TO MAKE WHEELS:
Wheels are 3 1/4 in diameter. I used crispy rice cereal to make them, using a lid from an instant tea container. Use shortening to grease the inside of the lid, press cereal mixture to the inside of the lid, carefully dump out or use a knife to gently pry out.
Using knife, make a shallow indentation in center of each tire. Optional step: melt chocolate and dip each tire in chocolate to help smooth out the cereal mixture’s texture. Place on wax paper and let set in refrigerator. When set, take out of refrigerator and smooth with hands, using the heat from your hands.
Roll out black fondant, using about 4 ounces for each tire. Lay the tire, face down on fondant, and smooth fondant over tire, wrapping to back. Make sure to smooth down the front indent area for the tire center. Don’t worry about what the back looks like.
Now the fun part of the tire: making the treads!
Using the dull edge of a knife, give the tire treads some texture.
Add a small amount of black fondant to about 4 ounces of white fondant. Mix thoroughly to make gray. Roll balls of gray to fit center of tire. Attach with a tiny bit of water. Set tires aside. (They are shown in the picture as already on the cake, however, you may make them ahead and set aside.) You may leave them to harden or, if you prefer, wrap in cling wrap to keep softer.
ALSO TO MAKE AHEAD OF TIME–THE BOX
TO MAKE THE BOX PART OF THE TRUCK:
Make a paper template 5″x7″. Lay template on wax paper and trace around it with a permanent marker. Do this on 5 pieces of wax paper. Place pieces of wax paper on a cookie sheet or hard surface.
Melt red chocolate. Melt one at a time so the sides and bottom have the same thickness. Melt one bag, pour onto prepared wax paper (marker side down so it is food safe), smoothing evenly, making sure the rectangle drawing is completely filled in.
When chocolate slab is dull and partially set, place paper template gently on top and use a knife or bench scraper to cut in score lines around the template. Repeat for each slab.
Wait until chocolate is completely hardened and break off the extra chocolate from around your rectangle, using a knife in a gentle sawing motion, if necessary. Save the off-cuts for “glue”.
Lay one rectangle, flat side down, on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Melt a few leftover pieces of red chocolate in microwave. Let cool for a few minutes so your chocolate is less runny. Pour into a zipper-style disposable bag. Cut off tip of one corner of bag. Hold up another red chocolate slab and, using the bag of melted chocolate, “glue” the slab to the base, repeat with all sides. Use lots of chocolate “glue”! We want this to be sturdy. Wipe any globs or bumps off with a swipe of your finger. You may find it easiest to hold up two slabs at a time and glue to base this way. Prop up all sides or hold until set enough to let go. You just made a chocolate box! Set aside in a safe place.
YOU MAY BAKE THE CAKES AHEAD OF TIME ALSO:
Mix cake mix according to package directions. Bake three cake mixes in 9″x13″ cake pans. Cool completely. You may refrigerate or freeze to make carving easier. They will last in freezer for a while or in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Make sure they are wrapped in cling wrap.
NOW ON TO THE CARVING/DECORATING:
- Using refrigerated or frozen cakes will aid in carving the cake. Begin by leveling all three cakes, cutting off domed top. Set aside and save off-cuts and crumbs. Trim both 9″x13″ cardboard cake boards 1/4″ around all edges. Place one board on top of the other, taping securely, making sure waxy surface is at the top. Place small amount of frosting onto waxy side of cake board unit. Place one 9″x13″ cake on top of board. Ice. Place another 9″x13″ directly on top. Trim any hard edges. Cut third cake onto two 4″x9″ pieces and one 2″x9″ piece. You will have one small piece leftover.
Note: I crumb coated the large cakes before adding smaller pieces. You don’t have to do this. I only did it because I did the work on two separate days.
2. Ice one end of cake. Place one 4″x 9″ piece at one end of the large cake stack. Ice. Place other 4″x 9″ piece on top of that. (Picture #1) Ice end opposite of edge.
Place 2″x 9″ piece of cake on top of stack, placing on long side opposite the end. (Picture #2)
3. Carve a sloped front window area, carving only the two 4″x 9″ cakes, sloping down to the base cakes. (See picture.) Crumb coat entire cake. Chill. Coat with final layer of icing. Make sure cake is thoroughly defrosted before adding fondant.
I did not use dowels or fortifications, but you may choose to add these. I didn’t think it was necessary and the cake was being eaten shortly after I had completed the cake.
4. Ready for fondant! Tint fondant yellow, kneading thoroughly. Using cornstarch, roll out fondant into a long strip 9″ wide (measure to make sure). Using a long straight edge, cut so the edges are straight. Place onto top of cake, from the front all the way to the back in one long swoop. If icing has crusted over, lightly flick water on icing first so the fondant will stick.
More fondant! Let’s cover the rest of the cake in two steps. The first step is to cover the sides of the truck with straight pieces. The truck cab will be its own piece. Roll out more fondant and make 13″ (measure to make sure) by the height of your two large cakes. Cut this out using straight edges. With your finger, run a little water over the edge of the fondant that is on the cake to help you new piece to adhere. Lay straight piece, lining up top edge and trimming any excess at the bottom. Be sure to press edges of new piece to the one already on the cake to secure.
Roll out fondant and make a general shape of the cab. Run a little water over the edges of the cab and lay new piece on cake. Press to adhere. With a sharp knife, gently trim the piece to make an exact fit to the cab. Make sure all edges are stuck to each other ensuring a tight fit of fondant all over the cake.
5. Place cake on top of a support to lift it off the surface of your presentation tray or board. I had some 2″ tall ramekins that worked well. Whatever you use, make sure you support the cake almost entirely leaving only an inch or so along the edges. Also make sure the wheels will touch the presentation tray. Using the royal-type icing, ice bottoms of ramekins (or whatever you use). Slap pieces of black fondant onto ramekin sides to cover, using dabs of water to help it stick. My method of putting on the fondant was to make it look blotchy and rock-like. If your support is only two inches, it really won’t show too much anyway.
Using cake as a guide, place the ramekins on presentation tray or board. Ice the top of ramekins and place the cake (still on its cardboard base) onto ramekins. It’s beginning to look like a truck!
6. Time to decorate! Using picture of cake as a guide, cut out windows of black fondant. Adhere with a few drops of water. Make a front bumper, grill, headlights, windshield wipers and glare streaks on the windows. I used a food safe pen to draw a door. You may use small strips of fondant. I added a “2” to the door using fondant. Don’t add the name until you put the wheels on!
Adhere wheels onto cake by using the royal-type icing. Place icing on back of the wheel where it touches cake and on the bottom of the wheel where it touches the base. They should stick without any additional support.
If you choose, add the name on the side of the truck. I found letter cutters at my local craft store in the clay section of the store. Also look in the cake decorating section or draw name with edible marker.
7. Let’s make the ground or dirt in which the truck is driving. Spread melted dark brown chocolate over presentation tray or board. Add crumbled cake pieces, pressing lightly. Done! For extra pizzaz, add a little of the melted chocolate to the truck tires to make it look like it’s been driving through all that dirt!
8. Now comes the fun part: putting it all together. The box is heavy. You may choose to place dowels in the cake for support. I didn’t because I assembled the two pieces at the venue. Place a thin layer of icing on back of truck, near the center if you wish, or let box just rest on the cake. Carefully place the box on the back of the truck cake. The box may be decorated with thin strips of fondant. Adhere with a small amount of water or melted chocolate. I did this as a last step so the strips wouldn’t be disturbed as I handled the box.
Fill with candy! I placed some tissue paper in the bottom to fill it up a little, then load up!
I hope this inspires you! I would love to see pictures if you get a chance to make it. Enjoy!