How to Carve a 3-D Dump Truck Cake (or Smash Cake)

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How to Make a Dump Truck Cake

Okay, so I rarely get a tutorial post up this quickly, but since I had some extra time and this won’t need to be a long post (famous last words), I thought I’d go ahead and get this How to Carve a 3D Dump Truck Cake Tutorial now!

I don’t have pics of all the details (sorry), but I can give you a general idea of how to get this shape.   See all the pictures and other goodies from the Construction Pals Party here.

And as for the background – well, I’m just keeping it real.  My kitchen was a total disaster during this carving.   Remember, I was doing a huge amount of cakes that weekend!  I barely had counter space to do the work… I’m just sayin’.

I know it’s crazy that I don’t remember this, but I started with a 9″x13″ sheet cake or maybe it was cake baked in this Alphabet pan.  Any rectangle cake pan would work – you may just end up with slightly different proportions.

Anyway, It was my typical vanilla cake recipe.  I then cut it into thirds… like this:

Once it was cut up into the 3 rectangles, I cut about 3″ off of one of the pieces… on the short side, then I stacked it up, with only a thin layer of vanilla buttercream in between each layer, just to help it stick!

This is what it looked like now, with the short piece on top:

After that, I cut out a little notch in the top layer, where the windshield would go.  You can see that in this side shot:

And I also cut a notch to make the bumper stand out on the bottom… and I carved some of the top so it would be slanted  (lower at the back of the truck than at the front… it’s easier to see in the frosted picture).

Then I froze it for awhile, so the cake wouldn’t tear (no pic of that)… and when it was good and solid, I covered it in buttercream:

See how it’s lower in the back?  Then I froze it again for a little while… and covered it in yellow homemade marshmallow fondant:

And that’s that – my last photo.  I know, I totally suck for not finishing the pics, but honestly it was about 2am when I got to this point and I just wanted to finish and sleep… so I forgot to pick my camera up again.

But I can tell you… I cut a long strip of black vanilla fondant and wrapped it all the way around the bottom. to create the illusion of “under” the truck.

Then I cut out the bumper and grill and the windshield and glued those on with sugar glue.

To finish it all, I used my extruder to make tiny yellow/orange and blue strings of fondant for all the trip work.   You can see how much I love my extruder here.  And the other details were cut with an Xacto blade and glued on.

For the tires, I rolled out some rice cereal treats about an inch thick, cut 4 circles out with a cookie cutter, then covered them all in black vanilla fondant, for the tires.  You could also use donuts like I did for the tractor cake here.

I used gray fondant, mixed with Tylose, to make the mirrors, and I put toothpicks in the brackets so they’d stand off the truck and look real(ish).

I smeared the top of it with chocolate buttercream and then used Oreo crumbs for the dirt.

And that’s it – I think.

I truly hate it that I didn’t finish out the photos.  I was so very tired.

But if you’re reading this and something doesn’t make sense – leave me a comment and I’ll try to clear it up!   I love to hear from readers :)



  1. Amber says

    Wow!! That is the cutest little dump truck. Thanks for sharing your tips and tutorials on this. I would have no idea to even begin to try to make a cake like that.

  2. Jessica says

    This is EXACTLY what I am looking for! Apparently dumptruck cake pans are out of style, so it dawned on me to “build” one. Thank you SO much for documenting the construction! I’m not a huge fondant fan, so I may frost mine with buttercream and use blue Fruit-Roll Ups for glass. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  3. Jessica says

    I read the fondant recipe. I PROMISE I will try it! IT looks and sounds very promising. I may convert some people too! It’s for my son’s First birthday. He loves Tonka trucks,

  4. Darcy says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I barter out cake decorating to my friends, and she requested a construction cake. I made a topper out of Rice krispies based on your smash cake and it turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing your knowledge – It is much appreciated!!

  5. Terri G says

    I love you dump truck. Great job!! I need to make one for this weekend, any suggestions on frosting it not using fondant. Can I just frost it using all the same colors as it I were using fondant?

    • Rose says

      I really try to avoid doing 3D shapes with buttercream, but I’m sure if you’re experienced with it, it’ll work out great using the same colors in place of fondant.

  6. Caitie says

    Love this gorgeous dump truck cake!
    I am going to have a go at decorating this cake on the weekend, would you recommend using a mud cake or just make a plain cake?
    Was thinking of covering the cake in ganache before covering it in fondant, would you recomend this? Or would buttercream/frosting work just as well?
    Thank you for this wonderful tutorial!

    • Rose says

      Hi Caitie! I’m all about keeping it real here, so I have to tell you that I’ve a) never made a mud cake and b) never covered a cake in ganache before covering in fondant. If mud cake is a good sturdy cake that works well with carving – it should be fine! For my cake, I used my vanilla cake recipe, covered it in buttercream and then marshmallow fondant. I know that works… beyond that, I’m sorry I can’t be much help!

  7. Irene says

    The cake looks gorgeous and i’m gonna try to make this as my1st fondant cake!!
    Btw, may i know how long do you bake the vanilla cake? As your recipe is for a much bigger cake..I’m not sure for a thinner cake how long do we need to bake it…

    Thanks in advance!

  8. Tracy says

    Any tips on transporting a cake like this? I am going to make this for my son’s 2nd birthday and I have to transport it about 4 hours because we are going to grandparents for the party? I don’t have any experience transporting cakes! Should I put it in a big cooler and keep it cold??

    • Rose says

      I box all of my cakes up and just try to keep them level and out of sunlight. Obviously you’ll want to avoid any bumpy roads or drastic changes in temperature. A cooler would be okay, but if it gets too cold, it’ll get condensation on the outside when you take it out (in other words, it’ll sweat). If you can keep your car cool (room temperature), the cooler really wouldn’t be necessary.

  9. Debi says

    I love your recipes, tutorials, creations & blog! However, I read on my iPhone & it is super annoying when the pop up ads cover your text & pictures! Grrr! I know you have to monitize your website but, so many? In every image?

    Sorry for the negative comment and just know, I LOVE your work!! I just wanted you to know!

    Heart U!

    • Rose says

      Thanks for the feedback Debi! I’ve just started working with a new ad company in the last 2 months that puts the ads on my photos and I’m still trying to find balance with it. I’m also having a new mobile website built… hoping it’ll be easier to read and I’ll definitely take your feedback into consideration. I hope you’ll stick with me!

      • Debi says

        Oh I’ll stick with you!! No worries there! I love your content! You are an amazing baker, decorator, author, photographer & blogger. I bookmarked, pinned, tweeted, liked & shared your stuff and will continue to do so!

  10. Katie Doiron says

    Hi Rose. I will be making this cake this weekend. It seems to me that this cake is only apx 10 servings if you’re just taking one layer of a 9×13 cake and cutting it into 3. (That’s what the box cake I have says anyway… that the box makes 10 servings and one box makes one 9×13 cake). I want to make this to serve 25-30 people, so I’m thinking I will make two 9×13 cakes and one 9×9 cake to go on top of the other two. I’ll stack those instead of cutting one 9×13 into three sections. Does that scale seem like it would work? I could also make three 9×13 cakes and just cut one of them if you think that would work better. After that I’ll pretty much follow the directions exactly. This will be my first time using fondant to complete cover a cake. I’ve used it before and done cut outs to decorate, but I’ve never covered a cake with it. About how much yellow fondant will I need to cover the whole thing as I’m describing? Thanks so much for your help!

  11. Harriet says

    I absolutely love your way of laying out all the steps . It makes me feel I can tackle anything !
    I have made some great cakes before, but you are awesome in giving confidence.
    I am trying to make the dump truck cake for my grandson’s 2nd birthday. Your buttercream icing is fab and I am making a test cake before the date to make sure I have a handle on things before the big day.
    The pop ups on your website are so hard to see. When I try to close them , it keeps going to the pop up site. I can’t seem to be able to control it and I keep losing your tutorial. Please please help .
    I just love your tutorials!!!!!!!

    • Rose Atwater says

      I’m so sorry – where are the popups coming from? I haven’t had that complaint before so I’m not sure how to fix it. Maybe you can send me a screen shot? rose @ rosebakes . com. Thanks!

  12. Cheyenne says

    I think I wrote my 1st comment in the wrong place… oops! Thank you for the tutorial. I made this for my son’s 3rd birthday yesterday and he loved it! I appreciate all the details you put in your posts. I don’t think I could have pulled it off otherwise :).


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