The making of a Thomas the Effing Engine birthday cake (also known as "This is WAR oh Island of Sodor, W.A.R.")

It started with the best of intentions. Creating a Thomas cake for a child so fixated on Thomas the Effing Engine that if you so much as change the volume of the video or DVD currently on high rotation he will come from wherever he has roamed to ensure the Thomas is still playing.

But because of my penchant for procrastination, I selected meeting some friends from work for lunch rather than stay home slaving over a Thomas cake that would still look hopelessly amateur hour irrespective of the number of hours I spent on it.

For you see, while I love to cook (and eat) and do a lot of it (scroll down to the bottom of the page for a sample) and while cooking sweet things is my absolute favourite, creating those decorated cakes is something I fail at time and time again.
Spectacularly so.
My best creation was a to-scale cake model of a toy cash register that Oscar had requested for his fourth birthday.
The birthday referred to as the cat mauling of 2002.
I think I wrote about it on Glamorouse all those years ago and if I could be bothered would find it for you. But needless to say, my Dad and stepmother arrived for Oscar’s fourth birthday (at which there were going to be about 15 kids under the age of 5, as that was the time when I used to put myself through such things) from the (sort of) country, bringing their two fully grown dalmatian dogs with them.
I think they’ll go down as some of the most famous last words in our family’s history as my stepmother said ‘oh they’re fine with cats, we’ve just been at G’s place and they didn’t even look at her cat’.
I guess our cat, then about four months old and grey, looked more like a rabbit than the fully grown Persian fluffball owned by my stepsister.
Because it took all of about 30 seconds from arriving and them letting them off the leash in the backyard (which caused a strangled yelp from my mother who then resigned to her upstairs abode from the stress of dogs, being in her backyard) for them to find the cat and to indeed maul her to within a milimetre or two of her life.
It cost them about $570 from recollection.
I remember Chef driving me and the cat to the vet hospital and seeing all these people heading to our house driving the other way.
To our house.
By the time we returned, the beautiful Linda and my then sister-in-law had the party all under control and Linda handed me the biggest, fullest glass of red wine possible and the party proceeded with a few noticeable exceptions, like my father and stepmother who thought it best they depart and my brother and his then wife and her parents (out from the UK to witness this sublime event) who went home because my brother was so upset he couldn’t really talk.
In that largely pre-digital camera age I took all these photos of the cash register cake, which was magnificent, only to discover that evening as my blood pressure had settled somewhat and with enough alcohol in my system to dull the pain of just how fucked my family was that I couldn’t even have a ‘simple’ birthday party without some monumental catastrophe unfolding that there was, infact, no film in the camera.
Anyway, my inability to craft these divine looking creations (there’s also Oscar’s 6th birthday, commonly referred to as the year of the phallus, such a resemblance did his Thunderbirds rocket cake have) is now so accepted by me that I don’t really try.
Except I do use the little tubs of food colouring rather than the stuff from the supermarket as you need less to get better colours.
And I like creating the scenes around the cake.
So this time, no real effort at all. Just bang it on and be done with it.
Of course the boys were so excited.
Felix: Mum, this is the best train cake you’ve ever made. Ever. At least I’ve managed to set their expectation levels to: Low.

BLUE ICING! ON TOOT TOOT! (I was only just icing this as he got home from a day with Nana and Grandpa and there was a point where the excitement was so manifest I thought the bulging vein in his neck may well explode.)
With every addition came a subtraction:
The attempted distraction by way of smarties was shortlived. As the only thing better that BLUE ICING! Is SMARTEEEZ dipped in BLUE ICING!
The concentration on and dedication to eating as much BLUE ICING! in as shorter time as possible was commendable:
Hiz gaze keenly kept an eye on brothers and mother to keep said brotherz at bay and to guage motherz willingness to let this unchallenged consumption of BLUE ICING! continue.
Even trying to sneak in to get a mouthful of BLUE ICING! under the guise of getting a photo taken was doomed to failure (that right arm gave a good swift jab to MOVE IT BUDDY soon after this was taken):
So hilarious was this moment. The creation of Scary Thomas that camera phones snapped it and sent it to friends and family for their collective enjoyment. Scary Effing Thomas I kept muttering under my breath. That and Blue Icing! I can’t even imagine how you make Blue Icing! in my worst Sally Field impersonation yet.
But see those chocolate fingers as railway sleepers? I don’t even want to think about how many of those I ate dipped in BLUE ICING!

This cake is mine. MINE. MIIIINNNNNEEE.
Incredulous. Not only BLUE ICING! But SMARTEEEZ! AND FIRE!
The contemplation, the getting the brain around the fact this cake was going to have to be shared required significant facial contortions to indicated thought processes being given to such a concept.
The cake was delicious by the way. A simple butter cake with butter cream icing that despite its lurid colour was yummy and didn’t turn teeth/lips/tongues or anything else blue unless you ate close to your bodyweight in it. I learnt that the hard way – that I’m sparing you all the gory details should make you very grateful indeed. Use the expensive food dyes from specialty shops rather than the stuff you can buy at the supermarket is all I’m saying.

*****
In late breaking news, Grover has now mastered rolling from his front to his back and from his back to his front. The first was mastered the day he turned three months, the latter today at three months and 11 days. I even caught it on camera: