I asked for a theme and flavors.
We came up with trains and flowers for the theme...
...and chocolate and vanilla for the cake:
After baking three 8" chocolate/vanilla swirl layers, the cake layers were stacked and ready for carving. Looks like a funny spaceship, huh? The flour canister lid helped as a guide for a curve. The tooth picks will help guide the cutting.
The dashed lines (below) show the cake shape we're going for in this spiral cut-out design:
Cut and remove excess cake:
For the fondant details on this cake, I rolled chocolate fondant between two sides of wax paper and then trimmed both sides straight with a pizza cutter. Then make perpendicular cuts to create the railroad ties. Dry brush black food coloring across the tops and sides of the railroad ties.
Then I started placing railroad ties. There are two sizes of railroad ties. About an 1.5" and 3/4". The 1.5" ties are placed closest to the tunnel. The shorter ties are placed around the top and the bottom edge of the cake. I piped the edge of grass before adding the ties.
Then fill the rest of the top with piped grass.
Good top view of the tracks:
Finish by adding decorated train cookies and flower sprinkles. You could also use a toy train, but I kept it all edible by using some chocolate train cookies I had reserved from our Christmas baking.
After adding the second train set along the backside of the cake, I piped some white steam from the engine and some white clouds.
This was a fun cake to make.
Wish I could have made it to the party.
Happy Birthday, Vance!