Wednesday, April 03, 2013

How To Make A Tow Mater Cupcake Cake

Alternate Title: I Obviously Have No Pride Because I'm Posting This Even Though I Don't Think It Turned Out Very Well
I thought my alternate title was a little long :) I have a tradition of making Sam and Rachel cupcake cakes for their birthdays. For Sam's first year I made a turtle. For his second birthday I made a lion. These ones were fairly easy because I just followed on-line instructions. Last year Sam wanted a firetruck but I couldn't find how to do one on-line. So Dave helped and we ended up with this. I was happy with how it turned out and so was Sam. (And I still get a few hits a week for people searching "firetruck cupcake cake" and that post has had over 100 pageviews (which is a lot for this little blog) so I like to think that post was useful for the interwebs.)

This year Sam wanted Tow Mater from Cars. I regret, just a little, watching that movie with him because it made for some very stressful cake making this year. It's hard to take a 2-D tradition and turn it into a 3-D object. But, again, with Dave's help (he always sketches out the design ahead of time), I tried and Sam loved it! And that's all that matters. So here goes...

Take all your cupcakes and arrange them somewhat like this: (Optional, chocolate gluten-free cupcakes not necessary if all your guests can eat gluten.) Also, I ended up adding another cupcake at the bottom of the "hook" to make it look more like a hook.
Start making the icing and decide, thankfully, to make a double batch right off the bat. Optional -- wear out your mixer at 8 in the morning and send your dad and husband to Wal-Mart to buy another one while you use the free time to stress out completely have a shower. (I would recommend skipping this optional step if at all possible.)
Finish making your icing and tint it different colours. Dark brown, green, white, black and "caramel." Give up on getting "caramel" coloured icing and decide light brown is good enough. (Thankfully I'm not much of a perfectionist.)
Start icing the cake. Optional -- have your husband take pictures as you start to stress out and maybe cry a bit too because this is NEVER going to look like Tow Mater.
Finish with the caramel light brown coloured icing. Leave the wheels un-iced.
Add one more cupcake for a hook, ice the wheels black, make three teeth out of white and outline them with black icing gel. Also make the eyes -- white icing, a dollop of green and black icing gel pupils. Despair that, at this point, it looks more like a brown crocodile then Tow Mater.
Get your son, the birthday boy, to look at the cake. Watch his eyes light up with glee as he announces, "It's Tow Mater, Mommy!!!" Remember that his is the only opinion that counts and that you've already hit the jackpot, as far as he's concerned. (Do NOT skip this step. It is very important.)
Add a few more embellishments -- the cap for the hood (or the nose?!), the lines on the back to make the truck bed, the white icing for a headlight, the lighter brown (which you make at the last minute to add some definition) hood of the cab and the black window, dark brown side view mirror, and green sign with "Tow" in black icing gel. Decide this is as good as it's going to get and vow NEVER ever to make this kind of cake again.
Remember the birthday boy loved it and you'd do it all over again. Optional -- make sure that at least some of the other guests have seen the movie "Cars" so they will recognize the cake!


  1. I am just impressed that you attempt to do this each year! I am not that brave!

  2. I love it!!! And so did Sam, which is definitely all that counts. Also I love your apron and that you added GF cupcakes for some guests-- such a thoughtful hostess!

  3. Awww, you're an awesome mommy! Sam is so lucky! I wish I was that ambitious. I thought I was doing so well the year I tried to decorate custom cookies for Evan's 4th birthday. No, they didn't look so hot, but the kids didn't care. Sam says his mom rocks! :-)

  4. I think it's great that you make their cakes. I tried to make Addi a lady bug cake for her first birthday, and someone thought it was a ying yang. hee hee hee! I think you did a good job. Since the birthday boy like it, I would count it as a sucess.

    1. For Rachel's ladybug cake last year my friend thought it was something else too. I can't remember what but it made me laugh a lot. Making their cakes is a lot harder now that I can't choose what to make. But I'm just remembering that Sam loved it and that's the important thing.

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