1 family-size frozen pound cake (16 oz), thawed (I couldn't find a family-sized cake, so I bought two smaller ones and just pieced the train together using my own measurements instead of following the cutting guide you'll see below)
2 cans (16 oz each) vanilla frosting
Yellow food coloring
Blue food coloring
2 Tootsie Rolls
4 Ring Dings or Ding Dongs
1 bag plain M&Ms
5 Hershey's Sticks or Kit Kats for the track (optional)
Trimming the cake:
- Using a bread knife, trim a ¾-inch piece off both short ends of the pound cake to make the cake about 9 by 4 ½ inches.
- Cut the pound cake as indicated on the diagram to make two 2 ½ by 4 ½-inch cars, one 4 by 3 ½-inch car, and one 1 by 4-inch slice. Reserve the 1 by 4-inch piece and set aside.
For the colored frosting:
- Spoon the contents of 1 can of vanilla frosting into a bowl. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to tint it a light blue.
- Divide the remaining can of vanilla frosting in half and spoon into separate bowls. Add yellow food coloring to one bowl of frosting to tint it yellow; add red food coloring to the other bowl of frosting to tint it red.
For the engine decorations:
- Heat the Tootsie Rolls in the microwave for 2 to 3 seconds. Roll out each Tootsie Roll on wax paper and cut into two 1 by ½-inch rectangles for the train windows.
Frosting the cake:
- Lay the trimmed 1 by 4-inch slice flat on a serving platter. Spread the top with some blue frosting.
- Stack the 4 Ring Dings, spreading frosting in between each cake, and lay the stack on its side to make the cylindrical front engine.
- Place the 4 by 3 ½-inch piece upright behind the stack of Ring Dings.
- Spread the entire engine with blue frosting to cover and make smooth.
Assembling the engine:
- Add 2 mini- and 2 regular-size Oreos to either side for the engine's wheels.
- Press the Tootsie Roll windows into the sides of the upright cake.
- Trim off the large end of one Rolo. Press caramel side into the nose of the engine. Place a small dot of frosting on the center of the Rolo and add a blue M&M.
- Gently press one Rolo, fat end up, into the top of the engine. Stack two more Rolos on top, matching the skinny end with skinny end and fat end with fat end.
- Cut two picees of Twizzler, the same length (shorter than the "smoke stack" of Rolos), and gently press them next to each other in the top of the third Ring Ding.
Decorating the middle car:
- Set one of the 2 ½ by 4 ½-inch pieces of pound cake behind the engine. Frost with the yellow frosting.
- Trim the Twizzlers with a serrated knife to fit the length and width of the top edges of the cake.
- Fill the top of the cake with the M&Ms.
- Attach the mini-Oreos, two on each side.
For the optional train tracks:
- Cut 3 of the chocolate sticks in half.
- Place the pairs of halved chocolate sticks in front and in back of the middle car and caboose. To complete, place the 2 long chocolate sticks in front of the engine cake.