September 19, 2011

Construction Birthday Cake

When my now middle child turned 2 (youngest at the time), I kind of had a melt down. I was in complete denial that my baby was growing up. And it made sense to me why mothers like to baby their youngest for so long.

But, this time around, I’m doing a lot better! I was actually really excited to make a cake, and help him celebrate. We’ve even been practicing how to say ‘two!’ and hold up 2 fingers.

I debated for a long time what kind of cake to make. He is all about any kind of big vehicles. Construction, garbage, emergency, big pickups, etc. My sister-in-law helped me look online to find some inspiration. We found this, and I was totally inspired.

DSC_0260

DSC_0261

Construction Cake 2 layer 8” cake

With a serrated knife, I cut out a part of the cake, flipped it over on top, so it looked like the excavator was digging a hole. Then I frosted the whole cake. I put crushed up Oreos in the hole and on top of the mound. I also added some of these rocks. The cones and orange circles are made out of fondant. I used cookie cutters for the squares of the cones, and also the circles. The tops of the cones I hand shaped.

Frosting: I made a triple recipe of my favorite buttercream, and added chocolate!

3 sticks (1 1/2 C) butter softened

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

12 oz chocolate

  • Chop your chocolate (unless you’re using chocolate chips) and melt in a double boiler. Set aside to cool.

  • Cream butter, and add powdered sugar 3/4 C at a time, mixing to combine before adding more, scraping sides as needed.

  • Mix in vanilla, and cooled chocolate.

As much as I loved the outside of this cake, I think the inside was my favorite:

DSC_0289so, isn’t that cool??? I can’t lie, it turned out even better than what I was hoping. It was totally an experiment. I got my inspiration from this tutorial, but made my cuts slanted, so it would look like construction tape. Making it 2 layered made it even better, and it was the perfect touch to this construction cake!!

**I made a picture tutorial on the slanted stripes if you want more details!**

I made 2 cakes: one chocolate and one vanilla. The vanilla I dyed yellow with gel coloring, and the chocolate, I used black cocoa! It makes the cake totally black. It also smells like Oreos. But, if you can’t or don’t want to get black cocoa, just use the recipe with normal cocoa, and use black gel coloring.

Also, I made both recipes as is, so I had 4 layers, enough for 2 double layer cakes.  I cut them both, and then picked which ones I thought would look better.  If you don’t want that much cake, either make a half batch of each recipe, or, make the vanilla recipe and dye it 2 different colors.

Chocolate Cake Recipe makes 2 8” layers

found this recipe at Engineer Baker

1 1/3 C flour

1 2/3 C sugar

1/2 C cocoa (see note above for details of cocoa)

1 1/3 tsp baking soda

2/3 tsp salt

2/3 C oil

2/3 C sour cream

1 C water

4 tsp vinegar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your pans with spray and wax paper.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.
  • Add the oil and sour cream – this will be thick!
  • Gradually beat in the water. 
  • Add vinegar and vanilla and blend.
  • Whisk in the eggs and beat until will blended, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  • Divide evenly into 2 prepared pans, and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack, remove wax paper, and invert again onto a wire rack to let cool completely. 

DSC_0278HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet little guy!

87 comments:

Carmen said...

Oh my awesome!! I really tried to imagine the stripes inside, but couldn't really do it. I literally smiled and thought "That is rad!" when I just saw the pic on here. You are very talented- at making rocking cakes and having the cutest kids!

kels said...

Lauren, that is awesome! You seriously have a gift for this. When it comes to me and food... well, let's just say it involves tearing out hair and/or macaroni and cheese. This is just amazing.

Rebecca said...

whoa - no way. I was expecting maybe it had some filling or something but that was out of control! great job!

Melissa M said...

How could you stand to eat such a work of art?! Wow!

Heidi said...

Okay. I am so happy we're related so that I'm practically amazing because of how awesome your cakes always turn out. :) Seriously, though... that is so cool. So cool.

Mindi said...

Wow! I've never seen it's equal! Seriously, I hope there were ohhhs and ahhhhs from everyone at Titus' party as you sliced that up! Amazing.

Robyn Rasmussen said...

This turned out so cute! I will have to try to make that construction cake sometime- awesome effect when you cut into it! Thanks for stopping by my blog and following. I'm excited to follow back.
-Robyn from http://tipsfromtheheart.blogspot.com

Shiloh said...

Oh my goodness, I thought this was really cute, and then I saw the stripes on the inside. SOOO cool.:)
Stumblin' from Swanky.:)

Willa@ArmstrongFamillyFare said...

LOVE IT!! Funny you posted this today since I'm making my son's 2nd birthday cake tomorrow. I think I'm putting a train on it! Too bad I didn't see this a couple hours earlier and I might have changed my plans!! Maybe next year!!!
Stumbled from Something Swanky!

Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos said...

This is amazing! I did a construction cake for my friend's son's bday. It was fun to make, those candy rocks are great. But the inside of yours is awesome, what a great idea!

MrsFoxsSweets said...

Hi! I am over from the Something Swanky hop! This is a great cake, love the inside!

DANIELLE-HUGS and COOKIES XOXO said...

WAY ADORABLE! STUMBLED FROM SOMETHING SWANKY!

ryobious said...

So cute! Stumbled from Something Swanky.

http://pinchofthisthatandtheother.blogspot.com/

Jenn said...

Oh my gosh! That is the coolest cake! I am so impressed with your yellow and black striping on the inside - it seems super hard to do, but yours is perfect! I found you on Something Swanky!

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

That's awesome! I stumbled it, found you through Something Swanky. :)

Moore or Less Cooking said...

Incredible cake! I am a new follower and I stumbled over from Something Swanky!Come on over for a visit when you get a chance!
http://cookingwithnettie.blogspot.com
Moore or Less Cooking Blog

Nettie

Screaming Sardine said...

Squeeee! That is so totally cute! You did an amazing job, and it looks delicious, too!

Stumbled.

Cheers,
Tracy Screaming Sardine

Lisa said...

In love with this - great job. Stumbled from SS
LISA

Cyndi said...

this is a great cake. thank you for sharing.

Kate said...

This is brilliant, I love how you got the stripes on the inside as well.. May have to feature at our next birthday!
Thanks so much!

the decorated cookie said...

So, so genius, and the inside of the cake? Inspired! Love it. I posted a link on EdibleCrafts.CraftGossip.com :)

Stine said...

Wow - loving this cake. I have also made a cake with the vertical layers, but this was perfect for the construction cake. I would love to know how you cut into the cake...

I woted for you on TLC :-)

Heather said...

Love the inside!

Andrea said...

This is awesome!! I don't know if I'm just being dense, but I can't picture how to cut the cake slanted and have it work out...can you explain?

Lauren said...

@Stine & Andrea: I am currently working on a more detailed post/tutorial of the slanted cuts. Thank you for your patience!!

Alli said...

I am making a version of this cake for my little guys bday this week! I am confused on the frosting....what is 3 cubes of butter? Is that sticks? I want to do it right!!! Also for the chocolate do you use semi sweet or reg chocolate!? Thanks! Alli

Mindy said...

I saw this on Pinterest and showed it to my son who loved it. He is turning three on Friday and I can't wait to make this for him. Thanks for the recipes and inspiration.

Tiffany said...

Hi Lauren,
I found your blog and the recipe for your construction cake and KNEW I had to make it for my youngest son's 3rd birthday. I did have some challenges, and it would have looked better if I had measured the circles instead of just guessing at it, but overall I think it came out great! My family was very impressed. Thank you so much for the awesome ideas!

Robyn Rasmussen said...

I got it made! The tutorial was very helpful and I was super happy with the results and gave you the credit! http://tipsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/2011/12/look-whos-two-and-loves-trucks.html

Emily Leiphart said...

A friend of mine sent me the link to this blog post because she thought of my son when she saw this cake. It's AMAZING!! I might be brave enough to try making it. Thanks so much for the recipe and awesome inspiration!

JMS said...

Oh, it worked now! Thank you so much for the inspiration of this cake, my husband and I made one like it for our little guy's second birthday and it was a huge success! Keep up the great work and I'll definitely be following you on Pinterest!

You can see the cake here:

www.jmscustomdesignz.com in my blog

Terra said...

Found your blog on Pinterest:-) Your cake is just adorable!!!! You did such a beautiful job:-) Take care, Terra

Natasha said...

So cute! My son is 2 in March and I want to attempt to make this cake, he would love it! Where did you find the toy crane?

Lauren said...

Natasha, that toy came in a pack of about 5 construction vehicles. I'm 95% positive I bought it at target for around $6! Hope that helps :)

Anonymous said...

Love the cake! Do you happen to have an egg free recipe or know of a good substitute that doesn't make it really dense? We've got a friend who's allergic and I'm shopping for a good recipe.
Thanks!

Lauren said...

I'm glad you like the cake! I'm so sorry, I have never made an egg free cake, or experimented with substitutes. I did a quick google search, and found some different recipes, but I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for. Good luck!

Tamara R.Stuart said...

Good site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I've subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!
HELLA H72031231 Change Over Valve

Lana said...

This cake looks incredible! good job! I actually found it on pinterest and am going to make it for my dad's birthday :) one question though, did you just buy a toy tractor to put on top or is that made out of fondant as well?

Anonymous said...

Where can I find an excuvator at that size? I can't find any.

Lauren said...

Here is the link for the toys I bought: hope this helps!
http://www.target.com/p/Caterpillar-CATERPILLAR-CAT-5PACK-MINI-MACHINE/-/A-13594496

designjr said...

Amazing! I'd love to try stripey cake :)

Ashley D. said...

I am attempting your cake for my son's 2nd birthday party tomorrow. This will be my first "official" homemade birthday cake. After seeing this cake, I knew I was going to have to try it this year! Wish me luck!

Amy M. said...

My son's 5th birthday is tomorrow. He is a contruction crazy!! I just got finished baking his cakes - I absolutely cannot wait to see the look on his face when he sees this! Coolest birthday cake ever!! Thank you so much!!

Anonymous said...

THIS CAKE IS AMAZING!!!! I loved it...then I saw the inside!!! I am beyond excited! Exactly what I want for my son's 2nd birthday!! He loves"doops"...or scoops(meaning excavators.) We're trying it tomorrow!! I'm nervous but will let you know how it goes.

Ardis said...

Thank you for the awesome cake idea! I made this for my son's 3rd birthday and it was a HIT. I didn't have the rock candies. And I had cone shaped candles. My cake topper came with a scooper like yours and a dumptruck so I used them both and filled the truck with Oreo dirt. The look on my little guy's face when it was placed in front of him--precious and priceless. Thank you, thank you!!

Amanda and James said...

Can not wait to make this next year for my son! Thanks for sharing!!!

Paula Hook said...

I just made this cake well actually 2 cakes and they turned out great. I even made the construction tape inside. Everyone loved it. Thanks so much for sharing

Joseph said...

I have never seen cake like this i wish i could send gifts to pakistan this sort of cakes.

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

Thanks for the inspiration! I made a similar one for my son for his 5th birthday today and he loved it!

Jeanette S said...

HI! I found this cake via Pinterest and I will be making it in a few days for my 3 yr old's birthday. Not sure if you can answer questions, but did the black cocoa dry out the cake? I bought the black cocoa and tested it out on some banana bread I made yesterday. It tasted delicious but dried out the bread quite a bit. I'm just curious if maybe I should find a different chocolate cake recipe that is originally super moist to counteract the dryness of the cocoa.

Lauren said...

@Jeanette: I have never tried the black cocoa in anything but this cake, but this cake wasn't dry. It seems weird to me that it would change the results of your bread. maybe just try setting the timer for under how long you think it might take, and check it then? Good luck!!

Dianne said...

What did you use for the orange cones? Also where do you get your fake rocks? My grandson's 2nd birthday is Monday and I am making the cake for him. I hope it turns out well.

Lauren said...

@ Dianne, I made the cones from fondant, which you can make or buy from michaels or somewhere like that. I got the rocks from Walmart, and I believe there is a link in the post. Good luck! I'd love to see a picture when it's done!

MargeryB said...

Lauren, I commented on the tutorial post too (having trouble finding the rocks near me) but I was wondering if you did anything special to the frosting to make it look more 'dirty' and less smooth like a lot of frosting is??? AND I have an eggless chocolate cake recipe that was my Great Grandmother's... But you can't dye chocolate cake yellow ;) Thanks so much! LOVE this cake!!! (going to attempt on Tuesday)

Anonymous said...

I'm making this cake right now, fingers and tossed crossed. They are back in the freezer after cutting. Awesome cake.

Anonymous said...

Found your cake on Pinterest and just made it for my son's second birthday yesterday. Needless to say, everyone now thinks I'm a rockstar baker...I just told them I could follow instructions very well! Your recipes were delicious and easy to follow, and the diagonal stripe layering tutorial was spot on- well done! My stripes turned out better than I could've ever hoped. Thank you for helping me make my son's special day even more so...he loved it!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this cake! I am planning on making it for my son's construction-themed 4th birthday party in a few weeks. My question is this: You said you made a triple batch of the buttercream. Is the recipe you gave for a triple batch, or did you triple the recipe that you posted? Thanks! I can't wait to try it!

Lauren said...

The recipe on this post is the correct amount (that is tripled already) The single amount is on the other post "My Favorite Buttercream" hope that makes sense.
Good luck and send me a pic, I'd love to see it!!

Anonymous said...

Where do you find black cocoa?

Anonymous said...

after it thaws is it still really fresh or does it come out dry at all?

Emma said...

I made my own rendition of this cake this past weekend! I linked back to you. Here's a link to my post...

http://wehrmans.blogspot.com/2012/10/our-big-5-year-old.html

Leslie said...

Where did u get the toy for the top?

annie said...

Just found this cake while searching for construction birthday ideas. I'm going to try it. I am NO Betty Crocker and I need a back-up plan, but it seems easy enough...right?

annie

Aqsa said...

woooowww yummy cake. My mouth is full of water. I wish i could get it right now
gifts to Pakistan
gifts to Pakistan

Teri said...

Can you make the slanted stripes with a square or rectangle cake?

Adin B said...

Thank you so much for sharing this tute. My little man's birthday is on August, but I am already looking around for a cake inspiration. Found yours on pinterest and it is just perfect for my little man. I showed him the photos and he was excited he grabbed his toy equipment and wanted to play. I asked him if he wants a birthday cake like this and he said yes. :) I want to try making it though before his birthday. So awesome! Thanks as well for the layered cake tute. I too love the inside of it.

Adin B
http://www.chetopianfamily4.com
http://www.thriftysahmway.com

Tabatha Mason said...

I am wanting to make this cake for my son's Birthday in a few days...I am having the HARDEST time finding the Black Cocoa...any help would be So Greatly Appreciated! Thank You!!!

Lauren said...

Tabatha, since you cant find it, I would honestly probably just use normal cocoa and add some black food coloring before you bake it to make it black.
Teri, if you read some of the comments, other people have tried and were successful with a rectangle cake. I haven't tried it that way though. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Can I just use box cake mix for this or will it not be dense enough to do the stripes? Also, when you use gel to dye it before baking, how dark should you go on colors? Will it bake up to be pretty much the same color you see in the batter? Thanks so much. This cake is completely awesome. I was sold just on the outside but then when I saw the inside... wow, so creative.

tracy said...

thank you so much for posting this! made it today and it was a huge hit! stripes turned out awesome as well. will be linking back to you in my post this week. thanks so much!

andja said...

Thank you so much for posting this!!!! Amazing idea that I will try!!!!

Ricky said...

hahaha nice and really enjoy to read you all post and really amazing birthday and i will buy this type of one for my Friend birthday...who is working for a company named Plantlocator and Excavators for sale works.

Jen said...

Thanks so much for this and the tutorial! My son is all about the construction theme and this is the cake he wants.

An answer to the question someone asked about black cocoa: yes, it will dry out some baked goods because it has less fat in it, so manufacturers (like King Arthur, for instance) recommend that you mix the black cocoa with regular Dutch process cocoa. Black cocoa is simply Dutch process cocoa that is extra alkalized. It probably doesn't do anything to dry out this recipe, however, since it uses both oil and sour cream and that would give it enough fat to counteract any drying effects.

Now a question: do you really use wax paper? Doesn't the wax melt? I've never tried it, so I'm curious. I always use parchment paper, which isn't waxed.

Motor Graders For Sale said...

This article really fascinates the core of my interest. I admire the way you brought out the general essence of your topic.

Samantha Denaray said...

I'm so doing this for my son 2nd birthday! Adorable!
Where did you find those yellow and orange candles??

Anonymous said...

Link exchange is nothing else except it is only placing the other person's web site link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do similar for you.

My web site ... Nike Air Max

Jancee Morrell said...

Thank you so much for posting this!We just had my son's 4th birthday and this cake was a huge hit!!

Anonymous said...

What kind of flour did you use? Is it cake flour or all purpose?

Marianne said...

Just came across your page when looking up construction cakes. Love your cake and hoping to do something similar for my sons 3rd bday.

claire said...

Awesome. Love it! Thanks so much for the tutorial - I will put it to good use :)

Sheamus Warior said...

http://www.webgranth.com/elegant-blogger-templates-for-blogspot-under-construction-blog

Mike Tyson said...

The construction birthday cake seems to be delicious and I really appreciate the idea of making this.
portland fences

Rebecca said...

THANK YOU so much for sharing your construction cake! If I can manage to follow your excellent tutorial I am going to have one very happy 5 year old. He wanted a marble cake, but a striped cake would be even cooler. You make it look so easy. I hope it is! I'm really excited to try this out...good luck to me! :)

Feonacy Tyson said...

I found this blog worthy and thanks for giving us the details on the project of Seventeen17 that is under construction, I like my stay here.
DC commercial AC repair

Sanola Jerry said...

Find this post interesting as i have never think before of making a cake with the help of toys but amazing to find that this is possible.

Thanks
Sanola Jerry

Plos Constructions

Naomi said...

This cake is adorable. I know this is an older post, but hoping you can let me know if this cake would do well if made in advance. Was thinking of making it the day before...imagine it should be stored in the fridge or a cool place once frosted? Another option is to make the cake ahead and frost the day of the party. I need to pick up one of those Wilton cake holders as I never have a great way of storing a cake.
Also curious if you mashed cookies up or you just used a package of oreo crumbs.

Rachel said...

I love this idea!! I made the cakes today planning to freeze them for my son's 2nd birthday next week..I used both cake recipes that you provided - the chocolate one and the link to the vanilla (yellow) cake. The vanilla one is perfect. The chocolate one - well it's delicious and moist and a perfect cake - but too moist to cut!!! It just falls apart? I was wondering if anyone else had this problem? I love the way it tastes so I'm thinking I would follow it again and cook it longer? Or maybe find a different recipe??