Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learn To Make This Awesome 18 Wheeler Cake

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Recently a friend of mine asked me to do a truck cake for her son-in-law's birthday.  Although I'm not a fan of doing cakes at home, because of the mess and having to mix everything in such large quantities, I always love a challenge so I took on the project.

Her son-in-law loves the Florida Gators so she wanted it to say "Go Gators" and "Happy Birthday" but for me that was too simple so I opted to add the Gators team logo as well.  That's what I do, make things even more challenging.  (smirk)

To begin with I searched for a cake recipe that I could use to get enough density to cut and stack.  As many of you know trying to cut even the slightest design out of box brand cakes is well, impossible.  They're just too light and airy.  A wonderful lady on Facebook gave me this recipe that worked wonderfully:

(For 1/2 sheet DOUBLE this recipe)
I used one 1/2 sheet and one 1/4 sheet for this cake

1 box cake mix
4 large eggs (I used 5 egg whites for white cake)
1 stick of unsalted sweet cream butter
1 small pkg of instant pudding
1 cup evaporated milk
any flavoring or extract you wish to add

You may have to bake long depending on your oven.  **Cooking tip - use metal rose nails turned upside down in the cake batter to make even baking.  This will help your cake to bake more evenly.

Wrap in plastic wrap while still slightly warm and FREEZE your cakes, one to lock in moisture, two to make it easier to cut.  This is a must if you are going to carve your cake.

I used this icing recipe taken from Epicurious:
( I made 2 1/2 recipes for this cake to ensure I had enough)

Decorator's Buttercream Icing
2 cups (1 pound or 454 gram) unsalted butter, room temperature (use name brand for best flavor)
1 cup (230 gram) vegetable shortening or hi-ratio shortening
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or 1-1/2 tsp lemon extract, pure vanilla extract, or almond extract
3 pounds (1.36 kilograms) 10X confectioners sugar
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp (4-1/2 fl ounces or 135 mililter) water, mild, or clear liqueur
3 Tbsp meringue powder (available at
1 tsp salt

1. Cream shortening and butter with an electric, handheld, or paddle-whip mixer.  Add flavoring and salt.  Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time.  Add meringue powder. (The mixture will appear dry)
2. Add liquid of choice and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 5 to 8 minutes).  Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.

Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Yield: 2-1/2 quarts (2.37 L)
**Add extra liquid to soften the buttercream or extra 10X confectioners sugar to stiffen it.

Epicurious Editors' Notes: This recipe yields more than enough for two cakes—if icing only one cake, make a half recipe or freeze the extra.
• If using the icing to write on a cake, soften it with extra liquid. If using it to pipe roses, add extra confectioners' sugar.
• Meringue powder is available at

Color your icing the desired colors.  Don't put in the fridge if you are using right away.
If you have buttercream transfer designs you want to put on them make them first and place them on a flat surface in the freezer.  (Remember to reverse print your images especially if it's text.)

Take one cake at a time out of the freezer.  Then begin carving your cake.  All you are doing right now is getting the shapes cut to fit nicely.  Stack them as you cut them to get the right sizes and make sure the edges meet properly.

Once you have your pieces the way you want them separate them out and begin putting it together with icing.

Although I cut my wheels out of cake you might want to opt for some plastic ones from toy trucks or cars.  You will see in the end that mine weren't the best looking ones.  In fact they looked a bit flat!

Layer by layer add your pieces.  When finished with a given section i.e. the trailer, the cab, etc. then ice the outside and smooth using a piece of parchment paper or clean paper towel.  Gently lay it on the area you are smoothing and lightly rub with your fingers until you get the desired results.  I actually waited until the end to do this step since the cake needs to dry a little before laying anything on it.


Once finished with the main colors and smoothing you can begin your details and trim.

I can see at this point that I'm a little crooked.  Should have seen this before I iced it!

Now comes the writing or buttercream transfers!  This was the fun....well funny part and I'll tell you why; I forgot to reverse print my lettering so I had to free hand those on.  And if you notice the Gator's logo is reversed!  Oh well, not enough icing left to re-do it so I left it!  Went unnoticed.

Free handing isn't so easy from the side!  It works though and my friends loved it!

That's it for today!  Until next time.......happy baking!