November: Race Car

It’s a sprint to the finish for the Year of Cake! The penultimate concoction this year was for the 4th birthday of my son Quentin. For about 6 months he’s been really excited about a Spiderman cake. Six months is a really significant amount of time for a 3-year-old. And he went into a lot of detail about what he wanted.

I’d come up with some fun ideas about how I might pull it off — could I write “Happy Birthday, Q” inside a spider web made of royal icing? Should I have Spiderman perched on a building or crouching on the ground?

And then about a week before his birthday, Q changed his mind. For a couple of days he wanted a train cake (which is what he had last year).

For his 3rd birthday, Q wanted a red and blue train cake.

Then for maybe an hour he was really into the idea of a bus cake, like he had for his 2nd birthday.

This bus went through several redesigns and a couple mommy meltdowns before it was finished, but his excitement when he saw it is one of my favorite all-time parenting moments.

I had been looking forward this year to get away from the transportation theme, but he simply no longer wanted a Spiderman cake. At least in the end I managed to talk him out of something he’d had before and settle on a race car cake.

Since Q’s birthday falls right before Thanksgiving, we were having his party downstate at my brother’s house. I had some gray and blue fondant leftover in my fridge. I dyed the gray fondant red so it would be ready to go.


For the wheels, I wanted to solve a problem I’d had with the bus cake. Oreo wheels are fun and a great justification for buying Oreos, which I don’t normally keep around the house. But on the bus cake, they were soft and soggy by the time we went to eat them. Besides, they look like Oreos, not wheels. Now that I love tempering chocolate, why not make chocolate covered Oreos?

Rather than trying to dip them, I used my silicone muffin pan as a mold. I put a dollop of white chocolate in the centers and then covered it with a layer of dark chocolate, pressed the Oreos in, and then spooned more dark chocolate over them.

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Once they were cool, I used my fondant modeling tools to scrape some texture into them, carving out the rim around the white to make some distinction between the tire and hub caps and etching in some tire treads. 2015-11-21 16.34.23

I baked a chocolate cake in a 9×13 pan and cut and stacked it until it was shaped reasonably like a race car, then coated it in white chocolate frosting.

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After I took this picture I finished spreading that last blob of frosting on top, and that was when I realized that the fondant was still sitting my my fridge 300 miles away.


This was only a couple hours before the party, so even if I wanted to drive to a craft store to get some glycerin to make a new batch of fondant, it was going to be cutting it close. Instead I sent my husband to the grocery store for some more white chocolate. At first I intended to make white modeling chocolate, like I’d used on the Cup Cake.

However, that takes at least a few hours to set up and be workable, and I didn’t have a few hours. My only option was to add another layer of white chocolate frosting, tinted red, on top of the layer already there.

So that’s what I did!

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I reserved a little of the frosting to make blue for the details and dyed the rest red. It of course looked pink-ish, but my son liked it anyway. I melted (and tempered!) a little more dark chocolate for the windows and grill, and I had two white chocolate dots I’d made for Oreo wheels that I didn’t end up using that became the headlights. Some mini-M&M’s became the tail lights, and we had a car!

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Happy Birthday, Mighty Q!


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