John Deere Cake: An Easy Tractor Birthday Idea
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Is your child obsessed with tractors? Throw a tractor birthday party! It’s especially easy with this idea for a simple John Deere Cake.
Does your child or toddler love tractors? It makes a great theme for a birthday party, especially with this cute idea for a John Deere Cake. Today, we’re sharing how we made this easy dessert for our son’s birthday from a regular cake mix, some colored frosting, and crushed chocolate cookie “dirt” topped with a miniature John Deere tractor. It’s a little boy’s dream come true!
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To say our youngest son, C2, loves John Deere tractors is an understatement. He’s only a toddler, but he seems to have a sort of tractor radar. He can spot them anywhere. He sifts through books at the library to specifically find the Johnny Tractor books. He also notices each and every tractor we pass in the fields near our house. His favorite toy is his Sit-N-Scoot Tractor (he has two of them!). If you open his bedroom closet door, the clothes he always wants to wear are the shirts with tractors on them… He’s obsessed!
The fact that my husband, Kent actually has a John Deere tractor only adds to C2’s love of these machines. He loves to go for rides and excitedly points out the tractor every time we’re in the garage “Daddy tractor! Daddy tractor!” So when C2 turned two years old last December, the only obvious theme for his birthday was to have a John Deere Cake with tractor plates, napkins and balloons, of course!
If your child loves tractors as much as mine does, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated to create a special birthday cake. Sure, I initially was dreaming up a three dimensional John Deere cake shaped like a tractor. I was going to bake the cake in tin cans to create the shape and even planned to use chocolate covered donuts as the tires. Unfortunately, C2’s birthday falls during the busy holiday season. So as the day got closer, a practical and easy cake trumped the creative challenge I’d been envisioning.
Instead, I found an adorable John Deere Mini Tractor Toy with Loader that looks exactly like his daddy’s tractor to use for the top of the cake. C2 was thrilled!
How to Make an Easy John Deere Cake
Green grass, piles of dirt and a small tractor — what little boy wouldn’t love this John Deere cake for his birthday?!
What you need:
- Cake mix
- White frosting
- Green food coloring
- Yellow food coloring
- A knife or spatula for frosting
- A fork
- Chocolate sandwich cookies
- Cake decorating tips
- Disposable cake decorating bags
- John Deere Mini Tractor Toy with Loader
1. Bake the cake. Follow the directions on the cake mix box to make a 9 x 13″ cake. I chose a chocolate cake mix so it would look just like dirt if I picked up any crumbs while I was frosting the cake.
Tip: To keep the top of your cake flat, wrap your cake pan with a long strip of an old terrycloth bath towel. Before you wrap the towel around your cake pan run it under cold water and wring it out with your hands. Use a safety pin to keep the towel securely in place. As you can see in the photo below from the Muppet Birthday Cake I made last year, doing this helps the cake to cook more evenly. Otherwise the outer edges cook first causing the batter to rise in the center.
2. Frost the cake. Once the cake has cooled completely, carefully flip it over on to a flat surface. We used a cake carrier with a lid so we could easily store and keep the cake covered until it was time for C2’s birthday party. Mix white frosting with green food coloring to create the color of a grassy field. Frost the entire cake with the green frosting. Don’t worry about making it look flat and perfect.
3. Create “grass”. Use a fork to fluff the frosting in different directions to give the appearance of a grassy field. I first came up with this technique when I made a bear cake for our oldest son’s first birthday. It worked great to use a fork to make the bear’s fur.
4. Make a “dirt” pile and path. Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies into crumbs. Use a blender or food processor so you can make the crumbs really fine like dirt. Our cookies were crushed so fine that our older son was concerned it really WAS dirt when he saw C2’s John Deere Cake. I piled the cookie crumbs in the lower right corner of the cake and down the sides. I then created a path from the pile up the side and across the top. I made sure the “dirt” path was the width of the toy John Deere tractor.
5. Add “Happy Birthday”. With the green grass, it only made sense to mix white frosting with yellow food coloring for the lettering. After all, that’s the accent color commonly associated with John Deere tractors. Put a decorating tip in the end of a decorating bag. Fill it with frosting and then pipe the bright yellow frosting on to the cake to spell out “Happy Birthday” along with your child’s name, if you desire. Add the tractor toy and your easy John Deere cake is ready to enjoy!
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Other John Deere Birthday Party Supplies
We had a pizza party with family to celebrate C2’s birthday. Beyond the John Deere cake, I was able to find these other fun John Deere party supplies to help us set the theme and delight our two year old:
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If you liked this idea for a John Deere Cake, please share it with your friends or pin it for later:
Carrie, I love it! My brother is a huge John Deere fan… I think I’m looking at his next birthday cake. 🙂
He’ll love it, Trish! We actually joked about making it for Kent for his birthday this year too. Boys of ALL ages love those John Deere tractors, don’t they?
Love this! I made it last night for my son, who is turning two today! It was easy enough for even me, who is decidedly not a cake decorator. 😉 the thing I was most surprised about was HOW MUCH food coloring it took to get the icing green enough!!! 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial!
Hello! So excited to try this for my son’s upcoming third birthday party!!! Did you scrape the cream off of the cookies before you crushed them up?
Great question! It isn’t necessary to remove the cream filling first. When you pulverize the cookies with a blender or food processor, the cream sort of melts/disappears right into the crumbs.
Enjoy making this cake for your son! I would love to see photos of how it turns out.
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