Leading nutritionist and children’s author Annabel Karmel specialises in young fussy eaters. With 45 cookbooks under her belt, she is a trusted source in helping to get those picky youngsters to eat just about anything. And her secret? Make it fun and get them involved! Annabel's Birthday Train Cake is a no-bake joy which is incredibly easy to make and according to Annabel, it’s the "perfect recipe to get those mini helpers in the kitchen, too – birthday boys and girls will love decorating their very own birthday train cake." Here's how to make the tasty train!
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• 250g/9oz soft butter
• 350g/12oz icing sugar
• 2 tbsp milk
• Desiccated coconut
• Green food colouring
• 4 small Madeira loaf cakes
• 1 x 265g raspberry Swiss roll
• 500g/1lb 2oz yellow fondant icing
• 50g/2oz white fondant icing
• 1 x 120g packet Matchmakers
• 500g/1lb 2oz red fondant icing
• 1 chocolate flake
• Gummy bears
• A few daisies and buttercups
• 9 x 20g KitKat bars
• Liquorice allsorts, dolly mixture and midget gems
• 1 x 140g packet Jammie Dodgers
• 3 x 20g packets of mini Jammie Dodgers
• 1 ice cream cup cone
• 25g/1oz popcorn
• Candles and flags, to decorate
1. First make the buttercream. Whisk the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and milk, then whisk again until pale and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the desiccated coconut with a little green food colouring for the grass. Spread out on a board or tray that is long enough to sit the train on.
3. Trim the Madeira cakes to straighten the edges. Slice and remove one-third off the Swiss roll.
4. Spread some buttercream over the top and sides of one of the Madeira cakes and the Swiss roll.
5. Roll out the yellow fondant and use to cover the coated Madeira cake and the Swiss roll, smoothing and trimming the edges as you go.
6. Stand the iced Madeira cake upright and, using a little of the buttercream, stick the iced Swiss roll to it to make the engine.
7. Roll out the white fondant icing and use to make little windows. Cut down some Matchmakers to make window frames. Stick on with buttercream.
8. Spread most of the remaining buttercream over the tops and sides of the remaining Madeira
cakes. Roll out the red fondant icing and use to cover the cakes to make the carriages, smoothing and trimming the edges as you go.
9. Lay Matchmakers on the desiccated coconut grass to form the railway track. Arrange the engine and carriages on top. Place the flake beside the train and stick a few gummy bears on top using buttercream. Dot the grass with daisies and buttercups.
10. Break the KitKats into pieces to fit on top of each carriage in a square. Stick on with buttercream. Fill each KitKat compartment with gummy bears, liquorice allsorts, dolly mixture and midget gems.
11. Using buttercream, stick the Jammie Dodgers and mini Jammie Dodgers onto the carriages to make the wheels. Stick a Jammie Dodger and mini Jammie Dodger together, then stick on to the front of the train to form its nose.
12. Cut out a small hole in the top of the engine. Insert the ice cream cup and fill with popcorn. To finish, insert the birthday candles into the top of the engine and pop flags into the carriages.
Never be short of food ideas for your little ones with Annabel’s updated Baby & Toddler Recipe app, with more than 350 recipes, meal planners and other features.