- by Barb Shelton
Make a Construction Site Cake!
This creative cake is absolutely darling ~ in a rugged way ~ and is SO easy to make! Our 9-year-old grandson, Weston, and I had a blast (figuratively speaking) making it! We did our cake "just for fun" ~ it wasn't even a birthday or other special event! I do "Gramma's Day" with our grandsons each week, so this was our project that day!
Prior to starting the cake baking, we had bought the construction vehicles at Fred Meyer together. In fact, I believe you will be very impressed to see just how serious the boys were about picking out said vehicles:
Notice the said vehicles in the lower right corner (above) and the boys' intense focus on examining them. ... No, actually, we did spend a chunk of time trying to find the right size for this project.
Here's our finished cake! I'll be backing up and sharing the inside scoop (literally and figuratively) about how to make this!
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1 Chocolate cake mix (+ ingredients the directions call for)
2 16-ounce cans of chocolate frosting
5 small construction vehicles (I linked you to the actual ones we used. If only 1 or 2 are used, it/they can be a bit larger, but this size is still fine!)
Optional: Whoppers or Malted Milk Balls (We used these, but your cake will be fine without them as they aren't that realistic-looking. Sea foam chocolate, broken into pieces would be more realistic.)
GET YOUR VISION
FOR YOUR CAKE
The first thing you want to do is decide on your vision for your cake's design. I did a search on Pinterest for "construction cakes," and found all sorts of ideas different cakes that I got ideas from for ours.
Some were round layer cakes, others rectangular. A variety of items were used for the "rocks," and some actually took chunks out of the cake itself, making it look as if the bulldozer was digging right into the cake. (Cuz they actually had dug right into the cake!) Some added roads and toy "people," hills, road signs, gravel, and grass and trees! So look around and come up with your own version!
I want to give credit where it's due, so here are three cakes I found on Pinterest that I took ideas from:
Link credits for the above photos:
A: Rectangular cake with 4 construction vehicles - As you can see here, the shape doesn't matter! Any shape will work! (The link for this cake doesn't work, so it just takes you to my pin. If someone finds one that works, please let me know!)
B: Digger Cake - at Cake Central - They loaded up the truck with actual cake crumbs dug out of the cake! Love it!
C: Round cake with malted milk ball and sea-foam chunk "rocks" - This was the very first cake I saw, which I fell in love with! They used just one medium truck on the top, which totally worked! (The sea-foam candies may or may not have actually made it to the cake if I had used them!)
Hopefully these ideas have gotten your creative juices flowing! Just start wherever you like, and either come up with your own design, or feel free to copy our cake!
Note: As I was finishing up this article, I showed Weston (the grandson featured herein who made this cake with me) this page, and when he saw the 3-cake photo above, he pointed to each of them and exclaimed "OOOH! We could've done that!!! ... And THAT!!!! ... And THAT!!!!! ... So they are all "kid-approved"!!!
This is so simple, you hardly need directions. You can probably just look at a photo and go for it, which is actually what we did. But here are a few notes that will make your process easier.
1) Mix the chocolate cake following the directions on the package.
2) Coat your 2 round cake pans* with a cooking spray, or do the old-fashioned "grease and flour" method. Do this even if you're using non-stick pans as you really want to make sure the center bottom of the cake doesn't stick to the pan. [*9-inch pans give you the most surface area on the top, rather than more height that the 8-inch round pans will give. The more trucks you have, the more surface area you'll need to spread them out on.]
3) Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake the amount of time stated on the box.
4) Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. This gives the cakes time to cool just enough to solidify the cake more, but not long enough to stick too solidly to the pans.
5) Remove the thin layer of cake film from the top as it tends to want to stick to the icing and pull it off the cake anyway.
6) Frost your cakes. I used about 1-1/2 cans of the frosting, and mixed it with a knife first just to fluff it up a bit. If you use more, just be sure to leave a little for step
7) Now you can decorate the cake, forming your own construction site! A few tips for doing this:
a) I ran the trucks through the dishwasher before adding them to the cake, but one of the CAT labels came off, so maybe just carefully wash them in the sink first.
b) You want a plate or base of some sort that's quite a bit larger than the cake to allow room for vehicles and rocks to be positioned down there. I liked having a rim to the plate to keep rocks from falling off. If you don't have a nice plate, you can use a cookie sheet with sides that you cover with aluminum foil.
c) Spread a little frosting down on the base, in the truck bed, inside the buckets, and wherever you're going to be placing rocks as this gives the rocks something to stick to. (The rocks that go directly onto the cake, both on the top surface and down the sides, don't need any extra frosting as they'll stick just fine to what's there.)
Weston loves baking, and is well-trained in using a mixer!
The construction vehicles are standing by above, ready to do their job!
Here we're arranging the vehicles on the cake.
Of course the frosting must be taste-tested to be sure it meets our high standards. (As per the brown smudge on his face.) It passed.
I was going to use only 2 or 3 of the vehicles in the 5-vehicle set, which was more like the samples I had seen on Pinterest, but Weston had other bigger vision, so I just let him run with his ideas about where to place the vehicles...
Because there's so much on this cake, here are close-ups of individual "work areas":
...and one more...
The fun thing about this cake is that you can't do it wrong! No matter how you arrange the truck(s) and rocks, it's going to be CUTE!!!! Even if you mess it up, it'll just look all the more like a construction site!!!
Our construction site is a bit busy, but everyone loved it anyway! Isn't it just the cutest?!?!?!
And it was seriously sooooo easy!!! This would even be a fun birthday cake for a grown-up construction worker!!!
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