The Bell Still Rings for Me~ Polar Express Inspired Blog Tutorial



Hi everyone!  I’m excited to show you today’s tutorial because it centers around one of my FAVORITE Christmas stories~ The Polar Express!

Every year, this book becomes our coffee table book through the holidays.  The other night, I couldn’t help but picture the final page of the story in cake form.    Read along for a simply sweet design~


A few key supplies~

Rice Cereal Treats– I needed three (22 gram) bars, rolled and compressed into a ball shape.

Fondant- Use your fondant of choice.  I used white Satin Ice fondant (tinted black with Americolor Super Black)

Silver Highlighter Dust or Silver Luster Dust (I used Silver Highlighter)

Americolor Black Pen (optional)

Crisco/Vegetable Shortening- To prevent stickiness and to make the fondant adhere.

Small paintbrush(es) for brushing on silver dust and for creating impressions.

Wilton Tip 2 for piping the words, Tip 12 for border

Sanding Sugar- Optional Sparkle on the top of the cake

Coloring Gels- Super Black, Chocolate Brown (for strap), Super Red (and I added a speck of Navy to it)

Red Ribbon (optional)


Let the fun begin!


First, I lightly greased the rice cereal treat “ball” and covered with a piece of grey fondant.  I formed the fondant around the ball and trimmed away the excess.

Next, use your tool of choice to press four shallow holes/impressions into the fondant, and join them with two intersecting line impressions.  (All of this was done with a small paintbrush handle.)

The top of the ball/sleigh bell was left uncovered after trimming away the excess fondant.

I turned over the bell and pressed on a smallish mound of fondant. (This is optional but my bell had become flat on one side!)

Next, I covered this top half of the bell with a circular piece of fondant, creating an overlap that ended at about the midway point of the bell.  A small strip of fondant covered the seam.

Next, I used my food coloring pen to color in the impressions that I made earlier.  This gives our bell dimension and begins to really bring it to life!

Next, I used a dry paintbrush to apply Silver Highlighter dust all over the bell.  WOW! What a difference.  If you don’t have silver highlighter (which ups the shine factor), you can also use Silver Luster Dust.  ***A big tradeoff with using the Silver Highlighter is that it is completely for show.  It is not edible, and shouldn’t come in contact with the cake.  So, you won’t want to dust the bottom of your bell unless you plan to have a shield in between the bell and the cake.  (For instance, a piece of fondant or tiny fondant covered cardboard which could be hidden under sanding sugar or frosting.)

 Next, I used a (chocolate brown) tinted strip of fondant to represent the leather piece attached to the bell.

I wrapped a  small piece of grey fondant around the brown strip & attached it to the back of the bell with a little sugar glue.  (Piping gel, royal icing, melted chocolate, & even water would be adhesive alternatives.)

 I was so excited that the rice cereal treat ball actually turned out looking like a sleigh bell!  All in about 15 minutes too! ;0)

So, now that I had my sleigh bell, I needed a cake to put it on.  I used this tall 6″ round cake, frosted with vanilla buttercream.  I made simple vertical strokes with my spatula.

 After making all of those lovely ridges I remembered that I wanted to write in buttercream across the front of the cake!  Way too bumpy.  So, I smoothed/gently patted down the ridges for a more piping-friendly surface.  The impressions still remained though, which I liked!

Some days, I’m in the mood for piping my letters, and other days I use letter cutters.  Today was a piping day for me :0) .  If you aren’t a fan of piping, you could write the message with food coloring pen on a fondant plaque, or cut out your letters!  This is the lovely last sentence (most of it anyway) from the story!  Ahhhh….. love.

I thought that a ribbon would be a nice touch.  I had my red fondant out and ready to go when I realized that we already had some pretty red ribbon on hand (YES!).  Sometimes I back my ribbon with waxed paper, but today I greased my ribbon with a light coating of vegetable shortening.  This way, there’s no worry of discoloration from the frosting–we’ve beat it at it’s own game.  ;0)  Once greased, the ribbon stuck right to the frosting.

And we are finished!


I hope that you enjoyed our tutorial!  Stop by again soon ;0)


Category: Blog Tutorials, Seasonal & Holiday, Winter


  1. Paula M. says: #1

    Wow!! I am the first to comment! :-)…OK are a creative genius! This cake is absolutely darling, charming, festive, and delivers a warm and cheery holiday’s magical, like you. Wishing you and your family the warmest of holidays. Thank you for coming into my life!

  2. constance says: #2

    Gorgeous, thanks for the tips..

  3. Wanda Higgins says: #3

    OMG! When I initially looked at the photo, I thought you had used a REAL bell and couldn’t figure what you were going to show us how to do!!!! Absolutely amazing! Makes me want to make it for my third graders next week. They do a ton of activities with the Polar Express.

  4. Wanda Higgins says: #4

    Super White Disco Dust would be a great addition!

  5. Sue says: #5

    Such a cute cake, and your bell is perfection!

  6. Melissa Diamond says: #6

    Thank you all SO much for your comments!

    @Paula M- Thank you for those sweet words! Happy holidays to you & your family too!

    @Wanda–Haha- I’m so glad that I was able too fool you with the bell…at least for a minute ;0) — I think that nothing is impossible when you have Rice Krispie Treats, fondant and sparkling dusts- ;0). I agree about the disco dust!

  7. Lisa C. says: #7

    This is lovely. Nice job!

  8. Lona728 says: #8

    Love this cake! My son’s kindergarten class will be watching this movie in class. I wish I could make and take this cake in for them, but his school has a strict policy on bringing in treats. Everything must be store bought :(

  9. Manal El Deeb says: #9

    Very nice tutorial as usual, I have a question, you said sometimes you back your ribbon with waxed paper, I like that but how do you adhere it to the cake and also to the ribbon wether the cake is covered in butter cream or fondant?

  10. Joy Thompson says: #10

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! My husband came home from work last night and asked me to put together a last-minute cake for a work party today. I ran to my freezer and thawed some cakes/buttercream. I was stumped as to what decorations to put on this last-minute cake. Then I saw your tutorial! You saved the day! It was easy and cute all in one. I’ll post pics for you. Thanks again!!!

  11. The PartiologistTh says: #11

    What a beautiful cake – I love the bell!

  12. Melissa Diamond says: #12


    @Lona~ Boooo, we had the same rules at my daughter’s school last year. I understand the reasoning but it’s still disappointing when you want to bring some homemade sweetness to the class!

    @Manal~ You can attach double sided tape to the back of your ribbon and then press it on waxed paper. Then cut away all the excess paper. You can attach it with a few dots of icing if working with buttercream. Use sugar glue, piping gel, royal icing, etc. when working with fondant.

    @Joy~ Reading that you made this just makes my day! ;0)

  13. Wanda Higgins says: #13

    For those of you with the school rules, One way around it is if you have a friend like I do that has a bakery or someone that has a . I make it there and then I pay her a penny. :) Technically, I bought it at a store.

  14. gracie says: #14

    Where can you find the silver luster dust?

  15. Fernanda says: #15

    Love it!!! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Liz Morgan {Scotland } says: #16

    wonderful will give it a try have a Merry CHristmas

  17. Sadia Wasim says: #17

    Love it!

  18. Elsie Lekgwakgwe says: #18

    Lke ur cakes jst wnt 2 do a course plsee help

  19. Melissa Diamond says: #19

    Hi Elsie- We would love to have you as a member. Members of our site have access to our full member video tutorial library which is hundreds of videos. You can find information here (as well as a link to submit payment through PayPal) –
    link to


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