How Do I Make a Tractor Cake?

Image courtesy of Christine Hamilton.

"How do I make a tractor cake?" is a question that's on the minds of countless parents and grandparents who know kids that love farm machinery. Tractors don't make the simplest designs for cakes, but decorators who are up for a challenge can grab their spatulas and dig right in.

Tractor Cake Design Ideas

The simplest way to tractor cake is to use a shaped pan. Wilton makes one and offers decorating instructions with the pan and on its website. Nordic Ware also sells a tractor-shaped pan in heavy cast aluminum. Both are designed for easy baking and easy cleanup so that even beginners can use them.

Designing Your Own Tractor Cake

For creative types, designing a custom tractor cake might be appealing.

Image courtesy of Todd Shirley, t.shirbert on Flickr.
  1. First, sketch a rough design in color on paper. Keep the design flat (rather than using a stand-up model) so that you'll be able to frost it on a rectangular sheet cake.
  2. Bake a 9 by 13 inch rectangular cake, and let it cool.
  3. Frost the cake with a thick layer of white buttercream icing.
  4. Refrigerate the cake briefly or let it sit for a few moments until the icing firms.
  5. Fill a pastry bag with black buttercream frosting, and fit it with a thin round tip. Using your design as a guide, pipe an outline of your tractor shape onto the cake.
  6. Use a flat spatula to fill in the outline with the tractor's primary color. You can tint white buttercream frosting with gel food coloring to achieve the shade you need.
  7. Use the pastry bag and black frosting to add outlines for details, such as the tractor's tires and its engine.
  8. Finish decorating with other colors and features on your original design.

Other Tractor Cakes

Outlining a tractor on a sheet cake is a design strategy that's accessible to almost everyone, but it's far from the only option. If you enjoy working with fondant, try coloring some pieces by hand, rolling them out, and cutting them to make a flat tractor. It's also possible to use fondant like modeling clay and stick different pieces together to create a stand-up tractor. Dry the tractor for several days, and use it to top a cake of any size or shape.

A Farm-Tastic Design

A tractor cake can be the show piece of a farm or country-themed birthday party. Place it on a red and white check tablecloth, surround it with corn cobs, and you'll have an amazing centerpiece as well.

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How Do I Make a Tractor Cake?