Are you having a farm themed birthday party? This John Deere Tractor cake with matching cupcakes would fit right in.
My nephew was turning four and decided that he wanted a tractor themed party with a John Deere Cake. I thought it was a strange choice because it was so specific. I later learned that John Deere themed party goods actually exist!
I began to brainstorm some tractor cake ideas for his party. First, I had to decide if it should be a 2D or 3D cake. And then choose between a fondant or buttercream style cake. Decisions, decisions!
Obviously I went for the 3D fondant look. So much cooler to a 4 year old!
After much Google image searching, I began to lay out a plan.
The cake itself was made a day ahead. It's a vanilla cake with milk chocolate ganache filling and crumb coated with vanilla buttercream.
The base, cab and engine were all put together and sculpted separately. The fondant and royal icing details were all completed on the second day.
How to Build a 3D Tractor Cake, a Rough Guide
Start by making a two layered eight inch round cake in the flavor and filling of your choice. Then, cover it with fondant that has been dyed brown. This will be the base of the cake and the tractor will sit on top.
Sculpt a three dimensional tractor cake that will sit on top. To do this, you will need to make a sheet pan cake that you can cut into the right sizes.
Using the sheet cake, make two rectangular cake stacks with buttercream in between the layers. One stack will be the engine and the other the cab.
You will have to determine the number of layers in each stack so they are in the right proportions with the cab being taller. Trim the engine stack to make a slight curved top.
The tractor wheels need to be made from sturdy rice krispy treats because cake is too soft to shape round and lie on its side. Cut the treats into circles (use a cookie cutter) and cover them with black fondant.
Cover the main tractor parts with green fondant and grey fondant for the window. Assemble the tractor and all your details such as tire tread marks, lights, and smaller fondant decorations.
Spread Oreo cookie crumbs on top of the cake to resemble dirt and place the tractor on top of the base cake.
(I also covered a cake board in yellow fondant to put the whole finished cake on and have a place to write Happy Birthday)
Tips and Tricks
To save some time, we also ordered the cupcakes from a local bakery with detailed instructions to match the cake. I wanted to the frosting to look like grass and we bought animal toothpick cupcake toppers to place on top.
I made a cupcake and cake stand from two sturdy boxes covered with brown craft paper and ribbon.
If you are interested in making a John Deere tractor cake, I suggest looking at the John Deere website. They give you 360 degree views of their tractor models!
If you enjoyed this birthday theme post, you may also want to see my post on a train themed birthday party.