Merry Christmas, and a train cake too!

Merry Christmas all! I hope everyone is enjoying the day with family and friends. We are on our way to Florida now to see my family, after celebrating Christmas Eve last night with Rob’s family. One of the highlights was the train cake I made with some coaching from Maddie and Sophia.

I had the idea a couple of years ago that it would be cool to make a special occasion dessert for Christmas with a working train on top. A few days later I was in Target and they had these little working trains in the dollar bins. I grabbed one, thinking it would be small enough to work on a cake, threw it in the baking drawer in my kitchen, and promptly forgot about it. Until this year when my mother-in-law suggested we bring a dessert on Christmas Eve. Thus begun the planning.

The track is 10″ in diameter and I knew I needed a flat cake. At first I thought cheesecake, but Rob vetoed that idea. I knew it had to be chocolate for Maddie and Sophia. And I knew the icing would have to be something hard – either fondant, a stiff ganache, royal icing or something. After a little help from my Facebook friends and the best baker I knew, Stuart from the office, I decided on a 12″ round old fashioned chocolate layer with a six” round top layer and a rich, think, espresso fudge ganache. I used a store bought garland to hide the cake board and cut a square in the top layer to hide the battery pack for the tree. Confectioners sugar with edible glitter were meant to simulate snow. And the train worked!

It was really cute when we first got to Mom H’s house as everyone started playing with the cake. Funny thing was we could only get the train to go backwards. But then, at dessert, my nephew Scott played with it and got the train going forward. We all took photos and videos of the cake, and then dug in.

This was one of many awesome desserts. My mother in law made rice pudding and some swedish rolled cake that is amazing and my sister-in-law and her kids made the cutest gingerbread men. Maddie and Sophia got into the baking too with Maddie helping with petit fours and homemade peanut butter cups and Sophia making peppermint brownies.


We served the petit fours on a homemade candy tray from The Chew. You can get the instructions here, but essentially it amounts to unwrapping candy, baking on parchment paper at 300 degrees for 8 minutes, and then you are done. It looks way cuter than the effort would suggest.



And, just for fun, here are the teenagers (L-R: Maddie, Sophia, Scott and Kirsten) waiting oh-so-patiently to open presents.IMG_0812

Lastly, we were reminded what really matters this season as Sophia’s Mom and my Stepdad both had health scares. Sophia’s Mom was in the hospital for two days for emergency gallbladder surgery, and my stepdad spent Christmas Eve in the ER after falling while getting out of the car and clunking his head and breaking his hand. Fortunately everyone is on the mend. Wishing you and yours all the best of health this happiness and always.

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