School Bus Cake

Total Time

Prep: 35 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling


12-16 servings

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
Here comes the big yellow bus! Kayla could hardly wait to board a real one to go to kindergarten, so I made her birthday cake to look like a school bus. It wasn't very complicated to decorate, yet everyone immediately recognized the sweet vehicle. -Leslie Miller, Butler, Pennsylvania


  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 8 to 9 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black paste or gel food coloring
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon yellow paste or liquid food coloring
  • 2 Oreo cookies, cut in half
  • 2 yellow gumdrops
  • 6 red gumdrops


  1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into two greased 8x4-in. loaf pans.
  2. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Place cakes end to end on a 22x8-in. covered board. Level if needed. From the top of one end, form the front of the bus by cutting out a section 1 in. deep and 3 in. long (Save the removed piece for another use.)
  4. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter and shortening until fluffy. Add 6 cups confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining confectioners' sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Tint 3/4 cup frosting with black food coloring; set aside. Tint remaining frosting yellow. Frost top and sides of cake with yellow frosting. Frost cut edge of cookies with yellow frosting to form wheel wells; place two cookie halves on each side of bus.
  6. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a #5 round tip. Fill the bag with black frosting. Outline windows on both sides of bus; pipe strips under windows. Pipe windshield and back window; fill in with black frosting. Pipe lines on front of grille. Place yellow gumdrops on front of bus for headlights; place red gumdrops on front and back for lights.