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Train Cake (1970's Party)

This recipe is in categories Baking, Party food, Postwar / Modern,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 2
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Number of servings: 8-10
Serving suggestions: Serve in small pieces as this is very sweet.

Nowadays, birthday cakes of all kinds can be bought from supermarkets and bakeries.  Post-war that was not the case. Very special cakes, like wedding cakes, could be ordered from the baker - these would all have been rich fruit cakes.

Children's cakes were made at home.  By the 70's, there were a lot more convenience foods available, which meant, for example, that the chocolate swiss roll, that is the basis for this cake, could be bought, not made, as could the smaller chocolate covered rolls.  Because of this, it became much easier and quicker to make birthday cakes that reflected the child's interests or favourite characters.

Books and magazines  of the time carried lots of recipes showing how to make a huge variety of popular children's cakes for birthdays quite easily and quickly, with ingredients that could be bought already made.

For images of the cooking process see our Train Cakes Images.

With thanks to Caroline Cuerden, The Hair Company for their help with this podcast.


Making and cooking it
  1. Cream the margarine in a bowl
  2. Sift in the icing sugar, stir slowly at first
  3. Add the cocoa and mix in. If the mixture is too thick still, add a little milk
  4. Put the large swiss roll on the serving platter and cover with butter cream, including the ends. This is the body of the train
  5. Cut 2 mini swiss rolls into quarters, to make the wheels of the train
  6. Stick the small rounds along the sides of the large swiss roll using butter cream
  7. Apply butter cream to the rounded sides of 2 swiss rolls and stick these onto the top of one end of the large roll to make the driver's cabin
  8. Cut off one third of the last swiss roll, add butter cream to the cut end and stick it at the front of the train to make the funnel
  9. Discard the piece you cut off
  10. Finally, use the sweets to make a face on the front of the train. You could decorate your train in lots of different ways, so see what you can come up with