The 4YO is a bit of a ‘digger’ fan. We have big diggers, small diggers, LEGO diggers and books about diggers. There are even diggers on his bed linen.
So when I started researching cake ideas and found this one, it was a no-brainer. The most appealing part being that it was super super easy. It is pretty much baking a cake, then breaking it. And, frankly, I do that to just about every cake I bake.
To start I used my mum’s easy chocolate cake recipe. But you can use your favourite chocolate cake recipe (or favourite packet mix) and bake away. Make sure it is a nice light fluffy cake – a heavier mudcake type cake won’t crumble away nicely to make the ‘dirt’. I had to make two cakes and put them on top of each other to get a bit of height on my cake (held together with icing). You might have to as well.
What you will need to create a construction birthday cake
- some small construction toys (wash them up before putting them on cake)
- chocolate covered sultanas
- icing sugar
- hot water
- vanilla frosting/green food colouring/piping bags (if you are confident)
- Bake your favourite chocolate cake (or two if you need extra height) then wait for them to cool. I find putting them in the fridge helps prevent crumbs getting into the icing.
- Make up your icing. I normally stick to this ratio: a cup of icing sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon of butter and then I pour small amounts of boiling/hot water over while stirring (to melt butter and mix ingredients).
- Put a thin layer of icing on the cake then pop it back in the fridge. This will seal in any crumbs so the finished product will be crumb-free.
- When the icing is cool, cut a chunk out of the top and side of the cake. Keep this part of the cake as it will be the “dirt”. I mixed some Oreos into this too – to add extra colour/texture to the dirt. It did get a little soggy though.
- Put on a final, thicker layer of icing. I find the icing goes on more smoothly if I keep a glass of hot water with me and continually dip the knife in it as I ice.
- Place your “rocks” around the base of your cake. I used choc-covered sultanas as they were random shapes rather than neat round balls. But any chocolate or rock candy could work.
- If you’re good with the piping bag, mix up some green frosting and pipe chunks of grass around the base of your cake. It is nice to add an extra colour to this mostly-brown cake. I tried, but failed, to do this. Need more practice …
- Place your toys on the cake. Put more rocks (choc-covered sultanas) in the back of trucks or in the digger’s scoop. Use leftover crumbly cake bits as random piles of dirt, falling out from the hole you created in the side of the cake.
- Take a photo – because it will be gone in no time.