How to Make a Tractor Cake Picture Tutorial

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How to Make a Tractor Cake Picture Tutorial

Today I want to share with you my “How to make a Tractor Cake Picture Tutorial”.   Mine looks a lot like a John Deere tractor cake, but really, with this tutorial you can do any tractor cake!

Here’s what I used:

Note:  See step #13 for something you may want to do a day or two ahead of time, although it’s not absolutely necessary!

Step 1:

Bake, fill and frost a 9″ cake, 2 layers tall.   This step is optional… you could put the tractor cake directly on a cake board, or on a larger cake of any shape.  This is just how I did it!

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Step 2:

I used my Alphabet pan to bake 2 rectangle cakes, each one 4″ by 8″ and 2″ tall.  You could bake an 8″ square cake and cut it in half too, but I really love my Alphabet pan and use it for fun projects like this all the time!

Freeze these cakes for at least 30 minutes!!  This will help them be so much easier to cut/carve!!

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Step 3: 

Take one of those rectangles and cut it in half lengthwise.  This step is also optional, but I like my cakes to have lots of frosting filling because it’ll be covered with fondant on the outside.

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Step 4:

Add a dam of frosting around the edge (or stiff frosting as my son calls it!) and then fill with buttercream (or the filling of your choice).

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Step 5:

Stack it up, then trim the front edge so the tractor will have a rounded front.

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Step 6:

Take the other 8″x4″ rectangle and cut it in half.

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Step 7:

Take one of those halves, cut it in half horizontally, then fill and stack those 2 layers on top of each other (similar to steps 4 and 5).

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Step 8:

Spread some buttercream on the longer base of cake (covering a little less than half of it), then stack the short piece on top.

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Step 9:

Crumb coat the tractor body, then pop it back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

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Step 10:

When ready, roll out green fondant to cover the tractor (or red or blue or whatever color you want your tractor to be!  As stated many times, I use The Mat to roll out my fondant and it’s the best cake tool ever!

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Step 11:

Drape the green fondant over the chilled tractor, then smooth it down.    Also, trim it tight around the edges (although I don’t have a picture of this step).

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Step 12:

Use bubble tea straws or dowels to support the tractor on the base cake.    You can see how I stack cakes here for more details.

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Step 13:

Take a small ball of green fondant and mix in some Tylose.  Then roll it out and cut a square slightly larger than the top of the tractor.  I think mine was slightly smaller than 5″x5″.

You’ll also want to make an exhaust pipe out of black fondant (I use Satin Ice) with tylose added (no pics of this either).  I made mine on a lollipop stick so I could easily insert it into the cake later.

*You may want to do this a day or two early so the pieces can harden, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary since the pipe is on a stick and the roof of the tractor doesn’t have a lot of overhang to sag!

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Step 14:

Pipe some brown (or chocolate) frosting onto the sides of the tractor.  Then take cookie crumbs or graham cracker crumbs or even brown sugar and add to it for dirt.  In my first tractor cake like this, I used Oreo cookies.  For this one, I used graham crackers with some black sugar mixed in.

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Step 15:

For the tires on the cake,  I used donuts!!  These are so much lighter than using solid fondant tires and a lot less work than using rice cereal treats (although that’s a great alternative if you want to go that way!).

Besides… we had lots leftover for breakfast 😉

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Step 16:

Roll out black fondant and cut out a circle slightly larger than the donut you’re covering.

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Step 17:

Flip it over and tuck the fondant around the bottom.  When you’re done, very gently press in on the center to get a good indention.  Just be careful to not poke a hole or tear the fondant.

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Step 18:

Flip the tire back over and pipe frosting on the backside to attach it to the cake.

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Step 19:

After it’s pressed to the side of the cake and into the dirt, use a gum paste tool to add some details.  Or you could use a butter knife :)

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Step 20:

Repeat for the small front tires.

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From here on I don’t have details pics of all the steps, but I think you can figure out most of it!  As always, if you have a question, please leave me a comment and I’ll answer and help if I can!

Step 21:  

Roll out gray fondant (I just kneaded together some black and white fondant) and cut a rectangle that will wrap around the top of the tractor.  You could cut individual windows, but I just used black fondant to break it up and it was a lot less work!

Once you have the gray (in one long wrap or individual windows), cut strips of black fondant to add the details.  My FMM Ribbon cutter is most favorite tool for cutting thin strips of fondant!

I attached the gray and black pieces with easy homemade sugar glue!

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Step 23:

I used yellow fondant and round cutters to add some more details to the wheels…

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Step 24:

Add any final details to your tractor.  I attached the exhaust pipe, another yellow stripe, some details on the side and tires, the grill on the front … and of course, glued the roof onto the top!  And I’m done!!

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Step 25:

For the bottom of the cake, I used a wood grain mat on brown fondant to make the fence and an extruder to do the stacks of hay!  You could add tons more details if you want… including a number, a name, etc.  The sky is the limit!

Tractor Cake

This cake was vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream filling and frosting.  The white, green and yellow fondant was homemade marshmallow fondant.  The black fondant and brown fondant was Satin Ice.

Sooo….. do you have any questions about making this cake?  Leave me a comment and let me know!


  1. Sweet Bakes Of Mine By Yaneri Rodriguez says

    Great tutorial Rose!!!! Lots of pics!!! Will guide me a bit, I have a fire engine truck I have to make in August. Will see how that goes!!
    But I really think you should get into video making! Nooooooooooo there nothing wrong with your voice. Dont judge yourself….hahaaha!!! Just do it! I’m sure a lot of your subscribers will agree on me with this one!!!
    Go for it Rose!! 😀

  2. Jo BROOKER says

    Love the cake! My son’s birthday is on Sunday, how many days before can I make th cake? How will it keep best?

    • Rose says

      I probably wouldn’t finish it any earlier than Friday night. The longer it sits, it will start to sag and droop. You have to keep it at room temp – if you refrigerate it, it’ll sweat really bad when coming back up to room temp.

  3. Kassey says

    My sons birthday is in January and I have NEVER done anything with fondant… He really wants a tractor cake so how is the best way to start teaching myself before I attempt this amazing cake?

    • Rose says

      I’d just say practice, practice, practice on any cakes that you can! When I got my first big wedding cake order, I had never done a tiered cake OR a fondant cake so I just started volunteering to do fondant cakes for ANYbody that would let me. I don’t know that you need to do anything specific other than just get a feel for it and work with it as much as you can!

  4. Barbara says

    I am going to make this cake for my daughters second birthday on the 4th of January. Probably with sheep cupcakes: Her grandparents live on a farm and I think she will love this :)
    I was wondering how many regular sized slices you get out of this cake. Any idea?
    And what is the size of the doughnuts for the tires?

    Greetings from the Netherlands!

    • Rose says

      The whole cake (tractor and round cake underneath) probably has 35-40 servings. The tractor alone maybe only 10-15. The small donuts were probably 2 inches across and the larger ones maybe 3-4 inches. Sorry I missed your comment before! Happy New Year!

  5. Patricia eli says

    I’am going to make this cake for a wedding for the groom he wants this cake in a itialain cream cake what do you think of that do you think that’s a good idea?

    • Rose says

      The bottom cake wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m afraid the top (carved) cake would be difficult. I won’t say it’s impossible, but I would probably try to talk them into something else personally.

  6. Jamie says

    Attempting this for my sons 1st birthday in March, going to be practicing in the meantime, if I get a good practice one, can I freeze it and save it for his birthday? Will it freeze ok?

  7. Nichole J says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! This was my first experience with shaping a cake and making and using fondant. You made it easy and straightforward. My cake was a bit tilted, but it made my three year old son so happy!!

  8. Jcb mum says

    Excellent tutorial thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.
    My first sponge and first icing ever to do and it turned out great!
    To buy the cake I was being quoted £60 but the ingredients cost about £8 and a little time, effort & research, a no brainier from my point of view!
    Pity I can’t post a pic.
    Thanks again,
    Jcb cake maker :-)

  9. Dani says

    Hello. I’m 14 years old and I’m getting really interested in baking. My uncle and I are having a ‘cake-off’ on Sunday and I’ve been trying to find a good recipe. Well I found one. The only problem is I’ve never worked with foundant, do you have any suggestions? Also, to make the black fondant, how do you pigment it black. There is no black food colouring! Help. Thansk so much. Hope to hear back from you

    • Rose says

      Actually, there is black food coloring and you can get it at hobby stores or cake supply stores or here on Amazon: BUT, I don’t recommend trying to make fondant black – it takes SO MUCH coloring that it changes the texture of the fondant. Instead, I buy pre-made black fondant. You can buy the Wilton brand at Walmart stores or you an also get it online or at cake supply stores: I hope that helps!

  10. Jaimee says

    Hi Rose- I’m going to attempt your tractor cake for my nephews 2nd birthday. I just wanted to check on the base cake frosting- does it react OK to the fondant i.e. the fondant doesn’t get moist and soften? Or did you use a specific frosting? Thanks!

  11. Beverly Mosher says

    Hi I love the cake. But instead of the tractor I am going to make a jeep. The bottom cake will be brown and will some how put the sand color sugar on. then the Jeep will be a blue. A;so will put a mom in the drivers seat and a boy in the back. I took class over a year ago and loved it.
    thank you for all the directions for it.

  12. CIndy says

    Hi Great cake

    I was just wondering how much you would sell a tractor cake for?
    what do you think/?

  13. Natasha says

    Going to make this for my son’s 3rd birthday party. We bought him a motorized kids tractor with a trailer for his gift, so he will love this too.
    Wondering how much fondant it took to make this? I was reading your recipe and curious if one batch is enough or if I should do a double.


  14. Rebecca says

    I am SO excited about making this cake for my sons first birthday! I’ve bought all the bits you have suggested and LOVE your blog and recipes, so practical and step by step clear instructions. Thank you so much. I have just one question – for a complete beginner in decorating cakes have you got any pointers for the fondant icing? Are there some good techniques you could suggest for working with the fondant? I have my mat and my tools ready!!!
    Thanks again, Rebecca

    • Rose says

      Just play with it ahead of time if you can. Get a feel for rolling it out, how think you like it, how warm/cool it needs to be. You definitely have to get comfortable with it! Best of luck!

  15. Rebecca says

    I did it!!! Thank you so much Rose for your brilliant instructions. My first ever fondant attempt worked out OK! Little bit wobbly in places but hey – that’s the homemade touch! My son adored the cake.
    I also used the delicious cream cheese frosting for it which was so yummy.
    Thanks so much for igniting a spark in baking for me – I am hooked! Cannot wait to keep trying your recipes and step by step tutorials! Thank you!

  16. Autumn says

    Love your tractor cake idea! But my question is about the cake itself. Do you have a fool proof cake recipe, do you use cake flour, and can you get cake flour in bulk? Your cake looked delicious even before you started frosting it!

  17. Janelle Williams says

    Hey Rose. We want to make this cake later this month. We were wondering how many batches of your marshmallow fondant should we make to make this cake, or maybe on a 9×13 base even. Please let us know. Thanks!

  18. Jenny says

    Thank you so much for sharing the step by step instructions! You are amazing. I am in the middle of making my son’s tractor cake!! The donuts for tires are genius. Wish me luck 😉

  19. Stephanie Christie-Carmichael says

    this is exactly what i have been looking for as i have a 1 year old (soon to be 2 year old!) who is digger/tractor mad! one question though (and forgive me if i am being thick1) – when it gets to making the top part of the tractor, what do you do with the other half of the 2nd rectangle? or should that be what you sandwich together? and what is a crumb coating?! I should perhaps opt for a simpler cake with these questions but hey, nothing ventured nothing gained! thanks!

  20. charlene patey says

    i have a request for this lovely cake to a boy name Jens.3.år
    just hope he is going to like this cake ,he is a tractor frekk and loves cakes and to eat a tractor maybe well be magical…

  21. Ashleigh says

    Hello, I am going to make this for my son’s first birthday, can you confirm how much fondant I need please? Here in the UK it comes in 250g bars. Many thanks p.s. Fantastic cake!

  22. Pamela G says

    The heck with all of the little kids everyone is making this cake for, this coming November my “baby” brother turns 49 years old and this is the PERFECT cake for me to make for him. He’s been farming for 25 + years on his own place and in the last several years has made the decision to retire from his daytime job of truck driver for an area supermarket chain and farm fulltime and go much larger. All he’s waiting for is to get his youngest graduated from college. The farm has been able to pay all of the tuition for him so far. The boy has become OBSESSED with the farm and his cows. I can’t believe that anything would become an even bigger obsession than his almost 40 year obsession with hunting but I think it has. What I should do is have a few heads of white tail deer standing around the base of the cake in front of the fence. That would have everything then. I’ve made a tractor cake for him before using the NordicWare tractor pan to copy his blue New Holland tractor but I like this John Deere replica better. I think he’ll be extremely tickled too. He doesn’t say gush too much about things but I can tell he loves the extra effort when I do things like this for him. That makes it all worthwhile.


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