How to make a birthday circus train cake

How to make a birthday circus train cake

This birthday circus train cake is long over due, you see I made this cake for my son’s third birthday.  He is currently very fond of trains of all shapes and kinds starting with Thomas the tank engine to this circus train which was inspired by the fact that even with this new love for trains, my little boy still loves elephants and there had to be a way to incorporate an elephant into the train cake theme.

I had a great time making this cake with the kids. I only make fondant cake twice a year in June and November for my kids’ birthdays. It can be time consuming and a little messy but the kids and I really enjoy the whole process. From exploring ideas to planning the cake on paper to the actual making of the cake.

Each time we make one of these cakes something terribly messy and funny happens (this time my son spilled the blue food coloring bottle all over my feet and the floor and I had blue feet for weeks).I question my sanity half a dozen time with each cake but when all is done, the look on my kids faces, their joy and I hope the memories we make together are more than worth it

The train was made up of 3 carts, the engine, the animal cart and the clown cart. It is entirely edible except for a couple of toothpicks holding the seal, horse and giraffe.

The cake:

I used my go to butter cake recipe for the vanilla cake and made another using the same recipe  but reduced the flour by 3 tablespoons and replaced them with coco powder. I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of instant coffee to flavor the chocolate cake. I divided the batter making one vanilla cake using 2/3 of the vanilla batter, one chocolate cake  from 2/3 of the chocolate batter and a marbled cake using the remaining one third of each of the two batters

The Fondant:

I usually use Marshmallow fondant, or  this Fonfant recipe if I want something with more flavor. This time I wanted a fondant that would hold its shape enough to make the figures so I tried a new recipe I got from my dear friend Rafiqa and it was a charm. It requires a few more ingredients but the result is well worth the trouble. The fondant was easier to work with, held its shape beautifully.


  • 1 kg icing sugar
  • 75 ml water (1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gelatine
  • 20 ml glycerine (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 30 grams vegetable shortening (never use butter )
  • 150 ml light corn syrup (2/3 cup)
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Read the whole recipe on Chef in disguise