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.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Cakes & Frostings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

344 Responses to 3D Lightning McQueen Cars Cake Tutorial

  1. jhoanna says:

    hi anna thanks for the tutorial and templates! but i was sad because my end result was not really the way i expected it to be. i was done but then my fondant started getting sticky and wet so put powdered sugar to dry it. unfortunately, i have put too much that i did not expect what happened next. i was about to deliver it but when i tried to brush off the powdered sugar, a lot of it won’t come off.. it’s really disappointing.. i attached the picture of it.. tell me what you think thanks

  2. Larina says:

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you so much for your tutorial! My little boy loved his cake! He still talks about it months later.

    Thanks so much!
    Larina :)

  3. Karolina Siadek says:

    Hi Ann!
    I found your website about year ago and fall in love with it :)
    Your tutorials are clear and it makes baking and decorating easy.
    It was my first 3D cake I know its not perfect but my son was excited and delighted.

  4. evangeline Baleikasavu says:

    A thousand and one thank yous for posting the tutorial and template for this cake! my son loves this , and so for the first time I attempted to bake a cake and decorate using fondant! I can’t believe I pulled it off, my son was so excited and so were all the guests. I’m now attempting the hunger games one for my friend’s upcoming birthday!!! Thanks again! I love your work!

  5. Annie-Claude says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial! This was my first fondant cake, it took me forever to make it, but the look on my 3-year old face was worth the efforts!

  6. Sofia Mauricio says:

    Thank you Ann, I did it! (more or less)
    :) It was a real success in my godson’s birthday Party… I asked my boyfriend to make an innovation an place LEDs making the front lights. Here’s the final result…

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  8. Megan says:

    Second time ever using fondant and thought i was being way too ambitious attempting this cake for my 3yr old’s birthday but it turned out pretty good :)
    He was so stoked with it, he raved about his “Wightning Mcqueen” cake for days lol

  9. Stac says:

    How do I resize this template? it comes up on adobe and ther is no place to resize it.

  10. Aldona says:

    Hallo Ann ich habe den Download gekauft und dann ist die Seite zu gegangen und nun habe ich bezahlt und nichts erhalten könnten sie mir den download bitte per Email schicken? (Aldona-Wagner@web.de)
    Danke das währe sehr nett
    mfg Aldona

  11. Ann says:

    Hallo Ann ich habe den Download gekauft und dann ist die Seite zu gegangen und nun habe ich bezahlt und nichts erhalten könnten sie mir den download bitte per Email schicken?
    Danke das währe sehr nett
    mfg Aldona

  12. Trina Pittman says:

    hi i’v been trying to purchase the cars template for a little over a week for my nephew who is soon to be five. but it seems that it isn’t allowing me to. im using a temporary american express reloadable card. my question is why isn’t it going thru? please respond quickly slightly pressed for time. thank you.

  13. Lilly says:

    perke nn riesco a comprare il cartamodello????

  14. Irene Ng says:

    Hi Ann,

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for your tutorial and the awesome templete!

    Thank you!

    Love from Malaysia,

  15. Giovanna says:

    … and the back …

  16. Giovanna says:

    I made it!!!! First 3D and second fondant cake of my life!!! I made it! Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nuts free, corn free, egg free!! :-)
    And most important (ALSO) my son felt the king with his super Lightning McQueen birthday cake (FOR ONCE)! All his friends were amazed!!
    Thank you so much Ann, your tutorial is truly fantastic!! So powerful I feel now!! ;-)
    Kisses from an Italian in Belgium!

  17. Lisa says:

    Perfect instructions clear to use only missed how to make the boot of the car correctly but I figured it out and it was a hit! Thanks for sharing

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