Recipe: Tractor Cake

My 3 year old is obsessed with farm machinery. Obsessed is not too strong a word, the decibel level goes sky high whenever he sees a tractor or a combine harvester or anything farm related. And we live in the countryside so this happens several times a day, every day. So naturally he wanted a tractor cake for his 3rd birthday. (He wanted a trailer too but I was making two cakes in the one night as they had a joint birthday party, so he had to make do with just the tractor itself).

Here he is helping Grandad harvest the corn

It was fairly easy to make, and I covered all lumps and bumps with some roll out icing. Shortcuts all the way this time, so I used Betty Crocker’s chocolate fudge buttercream which is free from dairy but has a may contain milk warning.

I used my usual cake recipe and made 2 x 2lb loaf tins

380g /12 oz. margarine
380g /12 oz.  castor sugar
6 eggs, beaten
380g /12 oz. sieved self-rising flour
Food colouring if marbling cake

Buttercream icing:
560g icing sugar
280g margarine
1-2 tblsp of water/soya or rice milk
You will also need:
Ready to Roll icing
Food colouring
Various sweets for decorating
Kimberley biscuits or similar sized dairy free biscuits

To make the cake:

  1. Grease and line two 2 lb loaf tins with baking paper or greaseproof paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  3. Cream sugar and margarine until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs a little at a time stirring continuously.
  5. Add flour a little at a time and continue stirring.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins.
  7. Bake at 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4 for 30 to 35 mins.
  8. Allow to cool  for a while before turning over onto cooling rack.


To Make Buttercream:

  1. Beat the margarine until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the icing sugar and one tablespoon of water and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Add more water/soya milk if necessary.

To Make the Tractor Shape:

  1. Level off half of one of the loaves, and cut the other one in half width-ways.
  2. This half should then fit on the flat piece of the other loaf. See photo 2 below.
  3. Cover the whole cake in buttercream. Plaster it on with a knife but don’t worry too much how it looks as you will be covering it in fondant.
  4. I used ready to roll white icing. You could buy one in the colour you need. If you want to know how to make your own you could follow this easy recipe here. To dye the ready to roll, use gel colouring and take out some on a cocktail stick and slide it onto the icing. Then put out onto a board sprinkled with icing sugar and knead it until the colour is even. Use more colouring until you reach the colour you want.
  5. Roll out the icing and drape over the rolling pin and then carefully over the cake. You can then pat down all the edges.
  6. Decorate to look like a tractor. I used wafer paper for the windows, mango liquorice for the funnel and fruit pastilles for the lights. I used red stringy sweets to decorate the top.
  7. Use the discarded half a cake loaf to make two large back wheels.  Then cover the outside with buttercream and use black fondant to cover. Using buttercream as glue, stick into sides of tractor and secure with cocktail sticks.
  8. Take two Kimberley biscuits and cover with black fondant. Stick on as front wheels with cocktail sticks.


tractor cake
The finished product

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