3D Lightning McQueen Cars Cake Tutorial

lightning mcqueen cars cake

To make this Lightning McQueen Cars Cake you will need:

cake pans 11″ x 15″ (I had two so I could bake two sheet tins at a time)
chocolate cake x 3


Cars Cake Cutting Template for cake & fondant
Template for cutting the cake and the fondant pieces (note this is a digital download you will need to print it out). After payment do not close your screen, follow the links to download the template. For tutorial click on cars cake image.

2 x my  chocolate buttercream recipe
3 x   ganache recipe cooled in the fridge

750g (26.46 ounces) Black fondant I used Bakels Black Pettinice
1 kg (2.2 pounds) Red (will be just enough if you are new to decorating you may want to get a bit extra) I used Satin Ice RED
150g (5.29 ounces) White for eyes and windscreen (get 500g (17.64 ounces) and split it up leave some white & colour some yellow/grey/brown)
250g (8.82 ounces) Yellow for side logo
50g (1.76 ounces) Grey for windows (mix a small amount of black fondant with some white)
50g (1.76 ounces) Brown for rusteze symbol

Powdered food colour in red, orange and yellow
silver luster dust
metal piping tip for cutting out eyes – you can use something else round in a similar size
Drinking straws for cutting circles.
circle cutter
thick card to cut for cake board
Platter or cake board to put cake on (see cutting templates for indication of cake size)
Oreos or other flat cream filled circle shaped biscuits x 8

Step 1. Do ahead of time for you lightning mcqueen cars cake Allow approximately 6 hours to make these well, I like to make extras of things so I can choose the best one.

Print and cut out cake cutting templates

Cut cake board out of thick card and cover with alfoil or tape to waterproof

Make the fondant details for the car that can be made ahead, see video for instructions:

silver dots x 4
eyes x 2, I made four so that I could choose the best two
rusteze symbol for bonnet x 1
’95′ x 3 (for each side of the cake and the top)
brake lights
Back of the car with details
Side windows
Back windows

disney cars cake tutorial


Step 2: Making the Cake & Frosting
Bake your chocolate cake x 3 this will make six sheet cakes of which you need five.  In the trays this cake takes 15 minutes to bake (swap top tray to bottom and bottom to top half way through cooking).  My cake tray is 26cm (10.24 inches) x 39cm (15.35 inches)
Make you frosting: double quantity of my chocolate buttercream
and triple quantity of  ganache. Cool the ganache in the fridge until firm and then whip into the buttercream.   I had plenty left over to use with the cake scraps to make cake pops, or you can put the excess in a ziploc bag and freeze it.

Step 3: Assembling Carving your lightning mcqueen car cake
Watch the video to see this demonstrated.
Set up your cake board to sit 1cm (0.39 inches) above the platter in the middle and 1 1/2cm (0.79 inches) at the front 3cm (1.18 inches) at the back
Using your car template cut out 4 of the layers and assemble with ganache between on top of the cake board. Cut your 5th sheet cake in half and stack on top in the centre. Use your side of car template to check that the cake is high enough in all places and then carve using the side template as your guide.

Place the top of car template 1 on top lined up with the base of the windscreen and cut around to the level of the front bonnet. then put the smaller roof template in place and trim across to meet the outline that you just made.
Trim down the centre of the bonnet and the centre of the back of the car.
Cut out the wheels holes deep enough until you reach the cake board.

Cover the whole cake in frosting smoothing as best as you can and the refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Step 4. Decorating your car cake

Make your wheels using fondant and oreos, see video for instructions.

Take the cake out of the fridge and use paper towel to smooth. Put the white in place for the teeth, cover with some non-stick baking paper in the shape of the smile. Cover in red fondant, cut out the smile and then add your pre-made details.
Make and add front windscreen and the side lightning flashes. Clean the cake board and lastly add your wheels.

Step 5. Photo Time
Smile, you did it! Take a photo and upload in the comments section below. Photo Tips: It is hard to get a good photo of the cake at the party so take a photo with the birthday boy or girl before any of the guests arrive.  Pay attention to what is in the background of your picture.


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About Ann

Hi I'm Ann, food scientist, dietitian, wife, mum to 3 boys. Join me each week for desserts, chocolate and cakes.
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354 Responses to 3D Lightning McQueen Cars Cake Tutorial

  1. Ashwini says:

    Hi ann,
    I am planning to make this cake for my little guy’s birthday next month. How many serving does 11″-15″ inch pans serve? And if I buy the templets can I resize it according to my serving capacity? As in can I make a bigger or smaller cake?

    Please help thanks

  2. Peta Dallas says:

    Had to make this for a little man who turned 3
    Your tutorial was fantastic lots of pause and rewind lol
    Thank you

  3. connie thompkins says:

    Hi Ann,
    Just purchased templates for lightning mcqueen and thomas the train, did not get a link to download and have paid, previous post states download are automatic. I’ve checked my emails several times and nothings there.
    Please advise.

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