My son’s love of fire trucks prompted me to create a fire truck cake for his birthday party this week. The cake was chocolate with Hershey’s Cocoa frosting; in my opinion it’s the best chocolate frosting recipe there is. I made tinted fondant for the outer layer and used Dots candy for the lights. When making a cake like this it’s important to plan ahead and start a few days before the party. You don’t want to try to make this kind of a cake on the day of your event. I baked the cake, a simple sheet cake, a week ahead and put it in the freezer. A few days before the party, I cut the cake, assembled it, and frosted it, then put it back in the freezer. I made the fondant two days prior to the party also and stored it in plastic bags on the counter. The night before the party was decorating time and the cake was ready for the party the next day. Fondant keeps the cake and frosting from drying out so it’s great for a make ahead cake. Don’t chill the cake once you’ve put the fondant on or it will become wet with condensation on the outside.
For the cake, bake a 9 x 13 inch sheet cake in your favorite flavor: one box of cake mix is perfect, and the finished cake served about 15 people.
For the frosting (this comes right off the back of the cocoa powder container):
Makes about 4 cups.
- 2 sticks of butter, melted
- 1 1/2 C. Hershey’s cocoa powder
- 6 C. powdered sugar
- 2/3 c. milk
- 2 t. vanilla
Combine the melted butter and cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating until spreading consistency. Add more milk if needed. Stir in vanilla. The frosting firms up as it sits and hardens if it’s chilled.
To assemble the cake, cut it into pieces like this:
Cut three equal rectangles, then cut one of the rectangles in half. Leave one square whole, and cut a small narrow piece from the other square, as in the picture. Spread frosting on one rectangle and stack the other rectangle on top. Then use more frosting to layer the square at one end of the rectangle and top it with the two smaller pieces. If you need to you can use a few bamboo skewers to hold the whole thing together.
Crumb coat the whole cake- leaving a cup and a half or so of frosting for the final coat. I found it easier to coat after I had let it set up a bit in the fridge. Once you have the final coat of frosting on it’s ready to be covered with the fondant or it can go into the freezer at this point.
For the fondant I used my favorite marshmallow fondant recipe, doubled it and dyed half of it red. The other half I split in two and dyed one black and left the other white. I rolled out the red fondant in one big rectangle and draped it over the cake. Use kitchen shears to trim the excess.
Once you have the red fondant smoothed out you can add any details and decorations that you want. I was trying to go for a realistic look, and totally failed. It turned out much more cartoon-like than I was intending it to, but fortunately the birthday boy didn’t mind. Use a bit of water to attach pieces of fondant to one another. The Dots candy were stuck on the front and back of the truck with toothpicks. I used a dot of frosting to attach the Oreo wheels. The cake was a hit at the party. Happy Birthday George!