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Dump Truck Cake

Gearing up to host a construction-themed birthday? This hauler will get your party on a roll! Using packaged cake mix, easy-to-mix frosting and basic loaf pans instead of a special mold to form the truck's shape, we made this cake speedy. You can pave the way for your own big rig, too, by following these simple instructions. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    8-10 servings


  • 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon shortening
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, softened
  • 2-2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Yellow and blue liquid food coloring
  • 3 Ho Ho's
  • 6 chocolate-covered miniature doughnuts
  • Shoestring black licorice
  • 2 large white gumdrops
  • 2 red M&M's
  • 1 milk chocolate candy bar (1.55 ounces)


  • Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Pour into two greased 8x4-in. loaf pans.
  • Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Using a serrated knife, level the top of each cake. Crumble removed tops; set cakes and crumbs aside.
  • For frosting, cream shortening, butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the milk and vanilla until smooth.
  • Place 1 cup frosting in a small bowl; tint yellow. Place 3/4 cup frosting in another bowl; tint blue. Leave remaining 1/4 cup frosting white. Frost the top of one cake yellow; top with the remaining cake to form truck body.
  • For truck cab, measure 2-1/2 in. from one end. Cut at an angle 1-1/2 in. deep and 1/2 in. toward the front of the truck. Remove cake wedge and save for another use.
  • For dump truck bed, leave 1-1/2 in. of cake for cab roof, then cut 1/2 in. deep at an angle. Make a horizontal cut to the back of the truck. Remove cake wedge and save for another use.
  • For wheel axles, place two Ho Ho's side by side and 1/2 in. apart near one corner of an 11x10-in. covered board. Place the remaining Ho Ho parallel to and 2 in. from the inside Ho Ho. Carefully arrange truck body over Ho Ho's. Frost the hood, doors and bottom third of the truck with yellow frosting. For wheels, attach doughnuts with plain frosting on each side of truck.
  • Spread some of the white frosting on the slanted windshield. Place the remaining white frosting in a pastry or plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner. Pipe the windows on the doors. Frost the rest of the dump truck blue.
  • Cut thirteen 3/4-in. strips of licorice. Arrange eight strips on the front of the truck for the grille; set the remaining strips aside. For headlights, cut gumdrops in half. Place rounded half of each on outside of grille; discard the remaining cut gumdrops.
  • Cut two 3-1/2-in. strips, two 1-in. strips, six 1-3/4-in. strips, two 1-1/4-in. strips and four 2-in. strips of licorice. Using the 3-1/2-in. and 1-in. strips, outline the windshield. Place two 3/4-in. strips on windshield for wipers. For doors, position two 1-1/4-in. strips for the door tops; place the 2-in. strips for the door sides. Decorate sides and back of truck with remaining licorice.
  • Place M&M's on back of bed for rear lights. For back bumper, break candy bar into individual sections at perforations. Cut one piece in half widthwise. Place some of the chocolate, flat side out, on the truck back (save remaining chocolate for another use). Spoon reserved crumbled cake into truck bed for dirt.

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  • Kat
    Jan 16, 2021

    I found this recipe to be absolutely clear. I didn't have a crumb/icing issue on the cut pieces. That may be due to the cake box I used (Betty Crocker devil foods cake), or because I softened the icing a bit more with more milk. My son absolutely loved the result. Great cake!

  • Joanna
    Sep 14, 2019

    Although I did not make this cake, I'm on the fence about it, I do recall when having to frost a cut piece of cake it needs to be spread with some Jam or jelly first,( not sure which) to contain the crumbs.

  • Mitchell42
    Aug 30, 2014

    One of those recipes that is tiresome in practice. Makes you wonder whether the person who wrote it up really made the cake per instructions. We ended up with something that looked much more rough-and-ready, though still charming. Quite charming. Don't regret making it, but be warned.Among the problems. (1) Once you cut pieces off the cake to shape it, icing neatly becomes impossible, because spreading icing along cut surfaces is very difficult. Don't know the fix to this, but be aware this will be a problem. (2) One of the unmentioned construction challenges is that loaf pans have tilted sides, so when you put one cake so cooked on another one, you don't have neat vertical sides. Either you do a lot more trimming or you get a different result. (3) The construction instructions, starting with the bullet on "For truck cab," are actually incomprehensible. They just make no sense. So you have you use your own instincts. Good luck. This cake can be to make, but be aware that the directions aren't going to help you much once you have put the two pieces on each other. :-)

  • mtrundle
    Feb 5, 2013

    No comment left

  • halee0310
    Sep 3, 2012

    Nice only 1 gum drop needed since cut in half. No picture of back of truck & found the directions all over the place not in order needed to do the work.

  • rodsgirl
    May 9, 2011

    I just made this cake for my son's 2nd birthday. He LOVED it! I thought some of the instructions were hard to follow but was able to just go by the picture for most of it. A few things I did different: I used my own chocolate cake recipe rather than a mix. I froze the cakes overnight before finishing the next day; MUCH easier to cut and frost that way. I also used black frosting and piped all the black parts on because I could not find black string licorice. Mine turned out almost exactly like the picture and overall it was a great success!

  • s_pants
    Jan 19, 2009

    Has anyone made this cake? Any suggestions?