FOR KIDS AGED 1-5

How To Make A Thomas The Tank Engine Cake That Kids Will Love

Young boy eating batter off the whisk while helping make a Thomas the Tank Engine cake.

Image © nickyb13, under a Creative Commons license.

Thomas the tank engine cakes are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

It can be pretty overwhelming to find a good, delicious and easy recipe for that perfect Thomas the Tank Engine cake. Have no fear, we got your back so that making a Thomas birthday cake is a breeze.

If you want to know how to make a Thomas train cake for your birthday party just follow our guide. We got the info on what you will need, a recipe for a yummy chocolate cake, the steps to decorate with a 2D Thomas topper, and finally some tips.

Blue iced cake with melted chocolate dripping down the sides, Smarties on top.
Image © Phinehas Adams, under a Creative Commons license.

Ingredients

For the cake: 200g self-raising flour, 40g cocoa powder, 4 large eggs, 230g margarine, 230g caster sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 100g baking chocolate, 2 tsp milk, store-bought buttercream frosting of your choice.

Decorating: Fondant tools, fondant glue, cake base, fondant icing and food colourings. You can choose whether to buy pre-made coloured fondant icing or colour white fondant yourself. To make Thomas you will need blue, black, grey, red.

Extras: Baking paper or a little bit of margarine for greasing.

Equipment: Two 9 inch cake tins.

Method

This chocolate cake recipe is simple, delicious and makes a great base for decorating your cake with fondant icing.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.
  2. Lightly grease your cake tins or line them with baking paper.
  3. Grate the baking chocolate.
  4. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and caster sugar and mix until smooth. In another bowl mix the eggs, margarine, vanilla extract, milk and grated chocolate. Finally, add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and whisk slowly until smooth.
  5. Divide the mixture into the two tins and smoothen.
  6. Cook your cakes for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cakes aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Spread the buttercream on top of one of the cakes and then sandwich the two cakes together.
  9. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the cake.
  10. Roll out blue fondant icing a few inches wide in diameter than your cake. Then carefully lay the icing over the cake. Smoothen it out from top to bottom using a fondant tool and trim off any excess.
Thomas the Tank Engine model with antlers and fairy lights on it for Christmas.
Image © InspiredImages, under a Creative Commons license.

Thomas Cake Topper

We have done our research and found an easy yet brilliant way to decorate a Thomas train cake - by making a 2D Thomas and placing him wherever you like on the cake.  We recommend having a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine ready.  

  • Get some black fondant and roll it out about 3 inches diameter. Stick across the width a thin strip of grey fondant, underneath it a strip of red fondant and underneath that a strip of black fondant. Trim off the excess underneath the bottom side of the black strip and slice the other sides to create a rectangle. This is the base of your Thomas.
  • On top of the grey strip, glue a blue fondant rectangle. Slice the fondant with a tool to create the outline of the front of Thomas. It should look similar to a square with an arch on top.
  • Use a small square of black fondant and glue this in the middle of the base of the blue rectangle.  
  • Glue in the middle of the blue rectangle a grey circle. This is Thomas' face. You can sculpt his smile with a tool, roll a tiny ball of grey fondant for the nose, and use tiny pieces of black fondant for the eyebrows. To make his eyes, layer a small black circle fondant inside a slightly bigger white circle of fondant. Glue the extra pieces to secure his smiley face.
  • Finally, on top of his head, stick a small black rectangle to make a chimney. Finally, your 2D Thomas is ready.

You can stick Thomas on the side of the cake on top of a black fondant arch to look like he is coming out of a tunnel or glue him to the top of the cake with some makeshift tracks out of brown fondant. The steps can be replicated with other colours to make his friends. The possibilities are endless for you to get creative.

Other Ideas

3D Thomas: For a 3D cake topper simply use a clean Thomas toy. It can also be an extra birthday treat for the birthday boy or girl.

Train cake: You could have a go at making a Thomas train birthday cake. Double the cake recipe to make four cake layers and sculpt out a train.

Tiered cake with blue frosting cut revealing the chocolate sponge inside.
Image © Tuva Mathilde Løland, under a Creative Commons license.

Allergy Substitutes

There are many alternatives if you want a train birthday cake that is dairy-free or gluten-free.

  • Instead of milk try soy milk, oat milk, or any nut or seed milk.
  • Instead of butter try coconut oil.
  • Use a mashed banana to replace egg.
  • Many stores across the UK stock ready-made vegan frosting.
  • For a gluten-free cake try coconut flour, oat flour, buckwheat or any other alternative.

Some Tips

  • This cake is suitable for anyone above the age of one.
  • Kids can also have a go at helping out. Younger kids (2-5 years) can help to mix ingredients, whilst older children can help to measure ingredients and follow the recipe. It can be a bit tricky to cut out the Thomas cake topper, so we recommend the kids can just glue the pieces together.
  • The cake is good for a few days after making it,  just keep it in an airtight container. If you want to refrigerate the cake, just cover it with a couple of layers of clingfilm. To freeze the cake, set the cake first in the fridge for a couple of hours, then wrap it in foil before putting it in the freezer. Your cake can keep for up to 2 months.
Author

Written By

Danielle Outen

Danielle was born and raised in London but has travelled all over the world chasing waves. Her mum is one of ten siblings, so she has always been surrounded by a massive network of family. Danielle is always looking for new and fun activities to do with her relatives. If it is outdoors and adventurous - even better!

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