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How to Make a Thomas the Tank Engine Tunnel Cake

Store-bought cakes make this super-impressive dessert even easier



2 store-bought round cakes with white frosting, one smaller in diameter than the other

2 cups vanilla frosting

Blue food coloring

Gummy spearmint leaf candies

Red sprinkles

Chocolate taffy rolls

Jumbo marshmallows

2 jumbo wafer ice cream cones

Chocolate frosting

Crunchy chocolate candies




Plastic straws


Butter knife


Serrated knife

Plastic zipper-seal bags




1. Using a butter knife, remove any decorations on the store-bought cake, other than the white frosting.


2. Frost the top of the bigger cake with the vanilla frosting, then stick the three straws into the bottom cake, near the center, but approximately an inch away from each other. Use the scissors to trim the straws level with the top of the cake.


3. Trace the smaller cake on cardboard, then cut out the circle. Place the cardboard circle in the center of the larger cake, on top of the straws. (This will stop your top layer from sinking.) Place the smaller cake on top of the cardboard circle.


4. Tint 1-½ cups of the vanilla frosting sky blue, and frost the top cake with it.


5. Make the trees: Cut the spearmint leaf candies in half so you’re left with two leaf “trees.” Press red sprinkles for apples into the sticky cut side. Cut the chocolate taffy rolls into tree trunks. Make enough trees to go all the way around the bottom layer of the cake, and attach them by pushing them into the frosting. If they don’t stick, put some plain vanilla frosting in a zipper-seal plastic bag, and snip the tip of one corner off. Use that to pipe a little frosting on the back of the pieces, and stick them on.


6. Make the clouds: Use the scissors to snip jumbo marshmallows into three slices. Stick the slices on the blue top cake, overlapping a little so they make a cloud shape. Repeat until you have enough clouds to go around.


7. Make the tunnels: Use the serrated knife to cut the round tops off of the wafer cones, and then cut a slice from the bottom of each round to make the horseshoe tunnel shape. Press the first tunnel onto the side of the top cake, with the open part of the tunnel at the bottom. Place the second tunnel on the opposite side. Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting on each tunnel, and use it to attach the crunchy chocolate candies for “rocks.”


8. Make the tracks: Cut and flatten slices of the chocolate taffy rolls for railroad ties, and place them along the top of the bottom cake, alongside the upper cake. Using the zipper bag method described above, pipe chocolate frosting along the railroad ties to make the railroad tracks.


9. Enjoy!

Alan Richardson and Karen Tack are the bakers and best-selling authors behind Hello, Cupcake!, What's New, Cupcake?, and Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!

Crafts with small parts are not suitable for use by children under three.