Train Birthday Cake (Estevam turns ONE!)

Recently I was talking with a friend about cakes and using fondant and it reminded me of a time in West Africa that I had to make my own...

Friends of mine, Tatyana & Rodrigo, had their sons’ first birthday while we were working with Mercy Ships aboard the Africa Mercy and Tatyana asked me to help with the cake.  Well I looked at some of the illustrations that she sent me by email from Internet pictures and I said, ‘Is this all you want?  You want me to do the whole cake?  I got a bigger idea…’

Of course Tatyana probably had so much more to worry about getting her child’s first party together so she freely gave up that project.

The following pictures are the result of watching too much Ace of Cakes (on food network DVD’s my dad sent me while on the ship) and a Marshmallow Fondant Recipe I found on the Internet (they didn't sell fondant locally in Liberia Monrovia!).  That was actually my first attempt to make a cake of this nature with ‘homemade’ fondant…and let me tell you this West African heat & humidity almost melted it off!!! (the party was outside)
[Click pictures to make larger]

Chocolate chips represented coal in the second train cart, the little ball/truffle things were made by Tatayana (tasty!) and the whole cake is edible.  Mostly just cake, buttercream frosting, Marshmallow Fondant, and food coloring for the fondant.  Those were the only colors available to me and I had to be careful because they effected the texture of the fondant.
If you would like to look at all the pictures of "how to have a Birthday Party for a Brazilian in West Africa and get a cake made by an Alabama/Georgia boy"… I stole all my pictures from Ali (THANKS!) she also has extensive photo albums of our time in Liberia that you might be interested in.
One of the nice things about being on the ship in close community is that some of these families I have known for a long time, and over the years as the family grows you become an Uncle to many children by default.  Its just the ‘way’ of community and a ‘right of passage’ that you enjoy!.