There are times in my life when I aim to please just a bit too much. Like the time when I ran the Brighton Half Marathon and saw a lady who looked like she was about to stop running. I bounded up to her, gave her a pat on the back and jollied ‘COME ON Margaret!’ She quickly sped up. Bucked by my spirit to chivvy on fellow runners I thought I’d try my cheery method again. This time it was Barbara, who had gone quite puce in the face and was barely walking, let alone jogging. Cue Meek Gone Wild! Unfortunately, Barbara was not enamoured by my cheerful good wishes and blasted in my ear ‘OH WILL YOU P*SS OFF.’ I quickly scurried off, scared she was going to set the Brighton mob on me.
Last weekend, I volunteered to make The Bald One’s nephews birthday cake. I cursed myself for boasting loudly how marvellous I was at baking but remained positive, until it transpired they had been promised a 3D tractor cake. My heart sank and I began to sweat a little, BUT not to be deterred I persevered and 7 hours later THE Tractor Cake was born. Upon delivering the cake to said nephews, it wasn’t received with trumpets blaring/red carpet laid out/wasn’t I just the best non-aunt ever praise… NO. Instead? It was received with a scream and ‘I don’t like tractors….. I WANTED A RACING CAR.’ Oh.
For the cake
- 500g Storck
- 500g Caster Sugar
- 9 Eggs
- 500g Self-Raising Flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the Filling:
- 250g Butter, room temperature
- 500g Icing sugar
- 3 tbsp Water
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- Seedless raspberry jam
For the Decoration:
- 500g Renshaw Green Icing
- 250g Renshaw Grey Icing
- 250g Renshaw Black Icing
- 250g Renshaw Yellow Icing
- 4 Orange Smarties
- Silver Balls
- 4 Chocolate Flakes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
- Grease and line an 11 ins rectangular baking tin.
- Put all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and mix really well until forms a thick batter. If it’s too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of water to loosen the mix. Bake for 1 hour or until the cake is lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool.
- Make the buttercream: Beat the butter, vanilla extract and icing sugar together. Gradually incorporate the water until you reach the right consistency to be able to spread it easily.
- Trim the edges of the cake. Cut the cake in half, so that you have two rectangles. Taking one rectangle, cut this in half length ways. Place one of the rectangle halves on to your board and then thinly spread some buttercream and jam onto the cake. Top with the other rectangle half. This is the base of your tractor.
- Take the other rectangle cut this in half so you are left with 2 smaller rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half length ways. These 4 parts will form the ‘driving’ part of the tractor. Stack all four pieces on top of each other layering with buttercream and jam between each part. Place on top of one end of the tractor base. You now have the shell of your tractor!
- Crumb coat the cake with the buttercream. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Once Chilled. Roll out the green icing to cover the front of the tractor and sides.
- Roll out the grey icing and cover the ‘drivers’ seat for the windows.
- Top the tractor with a green lid for the roof.
- To create the wheels, roll a large ball of black fondant to form a circular ‘wheel.’ You’ll need two large ones for the back and two smaller ones for the front. Using edible glue, stick them on the side of the cake. Once in position use a utensil to mark the tyre tracks.
- Roll out the yellow fondant thinly and cut a smaller circle to stick on the wheels. Place a silver ball in the middle.
- The rest is up to you! I did personalised number plates and glued lights on the front made out of smarties.
- When you’re happy with your design, spread a thin layer of buttercream on your board and cover with crumbled chocolate flake to create a ‘soil’ effect.
Directions for use: Aim to please yourself and not a 4 year old child….