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Custom Built Cake


Construct a worksite around a vibrantly decorated cake and an equally colorful crane created from a Choo Choo Train Pan cake. Beef up the birthday-boy connection with a piped-icing name and crane-operator face and Smiley Flames Chunky Candles.
Makes: Cake serves 18.
Skill Level: None

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Step 1

In advance: Prepare crane claw and arm. Tint 4 oz. fondant black. Add 1/4 teaspoon Gum-Tex to 1 1/2 in. ball of fondant; roll out 3/8 in. thick. Use pattern to cut out claw; use wooden skewer to make a hole from top through bottom. Thread cord through hole, tie a knot at the bottom end and pull knot up to hole. Position candle in claw and shape to loosely hold head. Let dry on cornstarch-dusted surface at least 24 hours. Roll out remaining black fondant 1/8 in. thick. Cut a 3 x 7 in. rectangle; wrap around dowel rod, leaving 5 1/2 in. uncovered to insert into cake, and secure with damp brush. Carefully lift candle out of dried claw. Use tape to attach cord to wooden skewer, leaving claw and 2 1/2 in. of cord swinging free. Slide skewer into dowel rod and insert fondant in end to secure. Let dry. Also: Prepare tires. Tint candy black. Set donuts on Cooling Grid; cover with melted candy in cut disposable decorating bag. Let set.

Step 2

And: Prepare baseboards. Cover 8 in. cake circle, 5 1/4 x 8 in. cake board and craft block with Fanci-Foil. Use tape to secure craft block to center of rectangle to support crane cake.

Step 3

Bake and cool 1-layer round and 3-D train cake (use firm-textured batter, such as pound cake). Create crane shape by cutting smokestack and cap off train; trim back end level. Slice about 3/4 in. off front. Cut a square, approximately 3 1/2 in., from cake slice; attach to cab top to increase height. Position crane on cut-to-fit foil-covered cake board; use tape to secure that cake board to prepared craft block base. Ice cake side smooth, building up areas as needed to make flat surfaces. Ice cab window areas smooth; cover rest of crane with tip 17 stars.

Step 4

For boy, pipe tip 12 ball head (smooth with finger dipped in cornstarch), tip 8 arm/body; add tip 1 outline eyes and mouth, tip 2 swirl hair, dot nose and pull-out hands. Pipe tip 6 outline details on sides.

Step 5

For grill, pipe tip 8 vertical supports and tip 6 horizontal lines. Pipe large dot headlights using tip 12 and small lights using tip 8. Attach tires to sides with icing; pipe tip 6 V-shaped outline treads. Insert crane arm into cake at a 45º angle; slide candle into claw, secure with melted candy if needed. Position round cake on covered cake board; ice smooth. Use tip 17 to pipe shell top and rosette bottom border. Pipe tip 3 name; position sprinkle stars. Pipe tip 17 rosette candleholders; insert candles.

*Combine Lemon Yellow with Golden Yellow for yellow shown.

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Add that special touch to your cake with your special someone´s name.

Learn how to pipe beautiful rosettes, big and small, to add charming floral accents. Rosettes are a great way to create quick decorations. Different tips create different “petal” effects. Rosettes can be used to add a simple floral accent to a dessert or to cover a cake or cupcake.

The star tip creates the most celebrated, easily accomplished decorations! The serrated edges of the star tip make ridges in the icing as you squeeze it out. Because fill in requires so much piping from the same bag, keep replenishing icing in bag.

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Custom Built Cake is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 6.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I made this cake for my son's fourth birthday. He loved it! I actually covered the board in brown fondant and crushed up Oreos to look like dirt. I also covered the cake in blue fondant and put four cupcakes on top. I bought construction cone candles but they were too heavy for the crane. I made marble cake balls and tinted the white chocolate gray to look like boulders.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My son's birthday is tomorrow. I took the challenge of making this cake because he loves heavy machinery. What an awesome surprise to see that I have what it takes to make this. The instructions were clear, very easy to follow, but it takes a lot of preparation. Instead of using the train shaped pan, I subbed with two loaf tins and used cup cakes made from the same batter, for the wheels. Also I switched the dowel rod for a straw to make the boom (skeptically of course), and it held up perfectly. If you have no experience with custom cakes, take it from me and give this a try - my son LOVES it!!!! Thank you Wilton! (wish there was an up-loader to show off my first attempt!)
Date published: 2013-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I made this crane for my 2 year olds birthday. I changed it a little as I put it on top of a sheet cake instead of having a separate small round cake. It was a huge hit! I got lots of compliments and my son absolutely loved it!
Date published: 2011-06-20
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