This was my first year since having kids of not doing a big themed party. No matter how small we tried to keep it, it always costs so much, and I always get behind on making the decorations, snacks, cake, and spend the whole party stressed out. This year, we are truly keeping it small. It's better for our bank account, and I get to enjoy the party, too. And let's be real, a two year old doesn't even care, as long as there is cake!
Ok, enough chit chat! Let's build a cake! I wanted to do something more fun that would be a surprise for both of the boys, so I decided to try a Pinata cake! Fiesta!
Start by baking two or three round cakes, depending on how tall you want your pinata to be filled. I only did two 8 inch round cakes. You could do this in any shape, as long as you can slice in into layers and stack it. I used a white cake recipe that I LOVE. It's so fluffy and moist, and really is perfect. You can find it on the blog I Am Baker, HERE.
After your cakes are baked and completely cooled, slice them into two equal halves, giving you four layers of cake. One of the tops of one of the rounds will be the top of your whole cake. Set it aside and do not cut a hole in it (I did on accident, but I just stuck it back in the top and put icing on it. It was ok!).
One of the bottoms of one of the rounds will be the base of your cake. Put this bottom on your cake board, and do not cut a hole in it. Put icing around the edge of the bottom layer of cake, so your next layer will stick to it. Try not to get icing in the middle of the bottom layer, so your pinata contents don't get all moist and sticky. I put my cookie cutter in the middle and iced around it so I would know exactly where to put the icing.
The other two layers you have left will be the middle layers of the cake. Use a round cookie cutter (or a knife around a glass) to cut holes in the middle cake layers. This will be where you put the goodies!
Put the first middle layer on top of the bottom layer that has the icing around the outside edge. Fill the middle of the layer with your candy of choice. I used Mini M&M's. Next, you will do it all again for the next middle layer: Ice the outside edge, put the next layer on top, fill with candy of choice. Ice the outer edges of the top middle layer.
After the middle layers, you will put the top layer on that you set aside to close up the cake. In the picture above, you can see where I accidentally cut the hole out of the top layer! Oops! But I put that part back in and it was all fine and dandy!
Next, you want to do a thin layer of icing to seal everything up all nice and cozy. No one will ever suspect there is a special treat inside! I did what is called a "crumb layer" of icing first in white, but you can just ice it once with your main icing if you want. I had the extra white icing from the layer assembly, so I went ahead and used it, and it does keep crumbs from getting into your final icing layer on the finished product.
For icing, I always make my own, and I do it from memory. But the recipe is basically, two sticks of butter, softened and beaten until creamy. About 4 cups of powdered sugar (half a bag), sifted and added to the beaten butter gradually until desired consistency. I add a dash of vanilla and almond extract (about 1 tsp each). You can also add a dash of heavy whipping cream and turn the mixer up to make it very fluffy.
After the white icing dried up a bit, I took the blue icing I made and did a nice layer of it to make it all look pretty. I'm not the best at getting smooth icing, but it always tastes good! Then I added some Kit Kat bars as the train tracks. I tinted some of the icing grayish brown (it's hard to make gray out of red, blue, and green!) and used a flat icing tip to make the tracks all the way around.
Then I took some green icing and the icing tip with all the little pin point holes in it, and made some tufts of grass. I also used the grass for my border around the bottom of the cake.
Notice the reinforcement Kit Kats under this side of the tracks... I knew I wanted to put a train on there, so I had to keep that side from slanting on the cake. Then I just added some more grass in that area.
I drew a 2 in the middle, and added some sprinkles.
Then last but certainly not least, I put the Birthday Thomas on the cake! It was the first thing my son saw, and he would not let it go!
There you have it! A Thomas the Train Pinata Birthday Cake! And below you can see how a pinata cake really makes a statement when cut into! We had several people stop to look at and comment on our cake!