Race Car Themed Birthday Cake [recipe]

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This is an oldie, a birthday cake I made for one of my dearest friend’s baby boy who turned two last year! He had a race car themed birthday party so it was only fitting to make this Hot Wheels inspired cake! This was a quarter-sheet sized cake, made with yellow cake layered with white chocolate buttercream and strawberry preserve, covered with buttercream fondant. The dirt road was made with crushed oreos and melted butter. Normally a 9×13 single layer can serve about 20-25 people, but since I doubled up the layers, it served 40+ people.

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Ingredients:

Yellow Layer Cake Recipe {from Smitten Kitchen}: I doubled up the recipe and made two 9×13 cake, ~40 minutes baking time, check for doneness by inserting a wooden stick in the center of the cake and it comes out clean. Let cool completely prior to leveling the cake layers. You can make the cake layers in advance, just wrap them up very tightly with saran wrap, store in fridge or freezer until ready to be assembled.

White Chocolate Buttercream: My favorite go-to buttercream. Tripled the recipe. Set aside 1.5-2 cups to be mixed with green food coloring.

Strawberry Preserve {from Ina Garten}, two cups are needed.

Oreo Dirt Road: Crush up a package of Oreo cookies with 1/4 cup of melted butter in the food processor, need about two cups.

Fondant: Two brands I like to work with, Fondarific and Satin Ice. Some tips: It’s good to have a silicone mat to roll the fondant out on. I like to use cornstarch instead of powdered sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking when rolling it out. If you want to dye white fondant using food coloring, use a good gel color instead of the liquid kind. Colors needed: white, black, yellow, and red.

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I used a ruler and pizza cutter to cut out the little black squares for the checkered pattern. (If you are using a silicone mat, don’t cut on it.) I also used a ball tip fondant tool to trace out the flame design and the name prior to cutting. You can also use a dull butter knife to do the tracing.

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To assemble:

  1. Dab some buttercream on the cake board to prevent the cake from slipping.
  2. Layer in this order: Cake, buttercream, strawberry preserve, cake. Cover the whole cake with buttercream.
  3. Use a toothpick and trace out the number “2” on the top of the cake. Don’t worry about being too neat. Cover the “2” with the crushed Oreo dirt, use the back of the spoon to press down the dirt. Once done, roll red fondant into thin ropes and trace around the “2”. Make a small parchment paper cornet filled with buttercream and pipe out the lanes. Using some buttercream as glue, secure the flame name plate.
  4. Use a ruler and pizza cutter to cut out white fondant to cover the sides of the cake. (Only need to cover the four sides, not the top side.) It’s okay to cut out four separate pieces for the four sides, don’t worry about the seams as we will cover those up later.
  5. Once the fondant is attached to the four sides of the cake, it’s time to add the black squares. I like to use vodka as glue. A soft brush is a great tool to use for this step! Dab a little bit of vodka with the brush and brush onto the backside of the black squares, and they should adhere to the white fondant nicely. Be very careful to use as little vodka as possible, as too much liquid will cause the fondant color to run and you don’t want black streaks down the white fondant.
  6. Once done with all four sides, cover up the seams with pieces of red fondant.
  7. All that’s left is the green grass and decoration. Mix the buttercream with green gel food coloring to the shade of your liking. Fill a piping bag with a grass tip (I used Wilton #233) to pipe out the grass. While squeezing, gently press down and pull up. Cover the top side of cake, all around the Oreo dirt road. Refrigerate the cake in an airtight container. Remove the cake from fridge a couple hours prior to serving and let it come to room temperature. (Note: It is very normal to see condensation forming on the fondant, resist the urge to wipe it and leave it alone. The moisture will go away as the cake comes to room temp. )
  8. I like to wait to add the finishing decorations until the cake gets to its destination. I bought the race car trophy from a party supply store, printed out the checkered flags and attach them to wooden skewers. Place the cars on the dirt road and VOILA! It’s a party!

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If you are obsessed with Oreo cookies like I am, you will LOVE the Oreo dirt. The flavor goes so well with the cake, and almost everyone requested a slice with the dirt road.

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