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“Following the Iron Compass” Cake

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 by


Another birthday in our family, woohoo! ┬áCaleb turned 4 years old and I am happy-sad. For months beforehand he planned out a Thomas the Tank Engine cake, trains coming out of the roundhouse while Thomas scurried along an outside track. Then three weeks before his birthday he decided he desperately wanted a minion cake…but not the scary purple minions. I consented. {Because, he’s somehow still my baby.} I threw out my plans and we went all out designing Dave, the silly minion.

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Until we went to see the movie “Planes”…the week before his birthday.

He said to me, in his slow, sweet voice, quivering with emotion, “I really want Dusty flying in the tunnel and almost getting hit by the scary green train.”

Hmmm. I scrapped everything again. {Because a boy is only four once!}

We worked on every piece together. He stole and ate the fondant, mostly. But, I love working with my kiddos on cake projects. I love seeing their little eyes glisten with excitement to see something they love become something delicious! Not that I encourage them to eat fondant or gum paste, I am actually not a fan of it at all. But, the most asked question while we work is…”Can I eat this at my party??”



My compromise for Caleb on his elaborate design was to make a determined Dusty Crophopper on the snowy Himalayas and the “scary green train” looking bewildered coming out of the tunnel. You know, I’m sure I could have let him make a train and a plane and stick them on the cake and he’d be a happy camper! But, I can’t help myself.



Dusty’s eyes really are the key here. Eyes express the personality and emotion. I played around with different eye expressions, asking Caleb which he like best. He likes this one because “he looks likes he is trying really hard not to get hit by the train.” And, I know, Dusty has three propeller blades but it just got way to crowded…



Caleb, of course, wanted his name on the wings sign. It is from the title of the movie, although I’m not sure if it is seen anywhere else during the film. I love the depth of the metalwork on the outside and the rivets.



Finally, the green train. He looks worried…I didn’t really want such fear and alarm in this cake. But, I guess that’s what makes it dramatic. And it is WAY toned down from what Caleb wanted. I think he envisioned sparks flying as Dusty’s wings scrapped the tunnel walls and the sound of train breaks screeching as the near collision approached.


Well, hopefully we did justice to the characters and the movie…I know a little boy who couldn’t have been more thrilled. {Even if it had sparks and sound effects!}

Caleb, my son and a great joy to my life, Happy Birthday!


  1. I just had to comment because my little guy had a similar request except he wants his cake to depict dusty crashing into the ocean. Why he loves that part of the movie i dont know. I can imagine the family’s faces when I bring out his plane crash cake! Not that I have the first clue about how to do that without making it look horrific. Reading about your little guy made me laugh. Thanks for the post!

  2. Ha! Little boys with big imaginations!! I love it…thanks for the comment. :)

  3. My son picked this cake from pages of small images and when we looked closer at it we were stunned that it had the name CALEB on it, because my sons name is Caleb! What are the chances?

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