Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Elementary Birthday Cake

Since my daughter loves school buses, I thought I'd get creative for her 2nd birthday and make a school bus cake. I just used an idea from a cake decorating book since I have absolutely no great experience with cake decorating, and I'm really not creative enough to cook up a scheme like this. It was so easy--elementary even.

Start with a cake mix. I used Pillsbury Funfetti since the kids seem to like it, and it's a little jazzier than just plain white. Bake the cake as a directed in a square 9x9-inch pan. Only fill the pan two-thirds full and use any leftovers for cupcakes. Let it cool completely and then remove from the pan. Sometimes heating just the bottom of the pan on a burner helps to loosen it a bit. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half; it doesn't matter if you go length-wise or width-wise since it's a square. It helps to freeze the cake for a half hour before cutting to minimize crumbs.For the frosting, you can use store-bought, but I like a simple, homemade buttercream. Whip together 6 tablespoons of butter or margarine, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 5-6 cups of powdered sugar, and 4-5 tablespoons of evaporated milk to the desired consistency. Use food coloring to reach the right color. Spread between the two layers of cake and place one on top of the other. A twinkie can be used for front of the bus or just use some of the extra cake/cupcakes.Cover the entire cake with frosting and then gather the following items: 4 Oreos for wheels, 2 round chocolate-filled cookies or 2 long Tootsie Rolls for bumpers, 2 white Lifesavers for headlights, 2 red Lifesavers for taillights, Tic Tacs or jelly beans for turn lights, 5-6 pieces of white Wrigley's gum, and 1 vanilla wafer cookie. Decorate. Enjoy!


Maren said...

The cake was so cute! I love the school bus idea. But where were the Little People? I hope they made it out of the bus before it went in the oven.

Emily said...


i have a friend who bakes a regular 9 x 13 cake for birthdays, but then she takes a page from a coloring book and pipes the outline onto a piece of saran wrap that is on top of the page. then she freezes it for a bit so it can set, flips it over on the cake, and ta da-it's beautiful. i'm not that good at piping, so i haven't tried this yet.

Kel said...

love it. so simple and easy.

Michelle M said...

Cute idea! How do you get the frosting to look so smooth? Mine's terribly filled with lines and chunks. Also, how do you frost without the thin, top layer of the cake being pulled up into the frosting as you move with the knife? Grrr, can you tell these are my frustrations?!