With Ann Reardon

3D Lightning McQueen Cars Cake Tutorial

lightning mcqueen cars cake

To make this Lightning McQueen, Cars Cake you will need:

cake pans 11inch (27.94 centimetres) x 15inch (38.1 centimetres) (I had two so I could bake two sheet tins at a time)
chocolate cake x 3
This quantity will make about 40-45 serves.

Template for cutting the cake and fondant pieces



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 fondant (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 fondant 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 fondant for side logo
50g (1.76 ounces) Grey fondant for windows (mix a small amount of black fondant with some white)
50g (1.76 ounces) Brown fondant 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 your 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 up some Simple Syrup using 1/2 cup or 108g (3.81 ounces) sugar amd 1/2cup or 125mL (4.23 fluid ounces) water.
Heat until the sugar is dissolved then leave to cool. Store excess in the fridge.

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 (I made two and chose the best one)
’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 your 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, Cars 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 Lightning McQueen, Cars 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.

by Ann Reardon How To Cook That


1,012 Comments View Comments

  1. A bit disappointed – not sure whether I missed something but went to the site to download the template for lightning mcqueen and there to my surprise it says you have to pay 6 dollars!!!.., I am in South Africa – why don’t you mention in your video when you talk about downloading the template that people must pay etc?

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Vee, all the templates unless otherwise stated are for purchase for a very small fee. This is clearly stated on the site and indicated by the Buy it Now button. The cost at your end will depend on the exchange rate. This is a tiny cost in comparison to the many hours of development and testing each template takes to create.

  2. I’ll like to show how I done my cake thank you.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Great work Angela.

  3. Dear Ann, thank you so much for your tutorial and the templates (Though I used a food printer and fondant paper for the stickers). The birthday boy and party guests loved it <3 Greetings from Vienna/Austria 🙂

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Great work Sandra!

  4. Hi Ann I managed to make my son a lightening McQueen birthday cake for his 3rd birthday thanks to your amazing tutorial and detailed instructions! Ive tried to add a photo, Im not too sure if it attached!
    This year he has requested a Jackson Storm cake!! eeeek! would you be able to help with any tips or template for this please.
    Thanking you kindly
    Lilly Robertson (New Zealand)

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Lilly, Ann doesn’t have a Jackson Storm cake yet but you could use the same basic template but shape the cake to suit the new character. Decals and stickers could be printer off the internet site. Jackson is a longer leaner vehicle. Cover with deep blue fondant and bruson additional colour if desired. I would suggest using edible gloss spray to get the super sourts car feel, though be aware that moisture can make the colour on the fondant fun.

  5. My Little Man’s Lightening McQueen Cake made using your awesome template

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      It looks great Katie!

  6. My Little Mans Lightening McQueen cake using your awesome template

  7. Made for my sons 3rd birthday. He absolutely loved it. Thank you and love your cakes x

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      It looks awesome. We hope Joel had the best birthday!

  8. Hi Ann! Thank you so much for this tutorial! It was so easy to follow & I loved how my cake turned out!

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      It looks great Roberta. Well done! I love your rocks and race track.

  9. Hi Ann, I’m planning on making this cake for my nephews birthdays in June and it is stated it makes 40-45 serves but just by looking at the template and measuring I’m not sure I would get that many serves. Just wondering if I read correctly that it does serve 40-45 pieces?

    • Ann

      hi melissa, it could be an issue with your printer. Ensure that your printer is set to print the template out at 100%. it will then print over several pages that you can just tape together in the correct size. Hope that helps

      • I got it to print using the side tray.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Melissa, It really depends on what size serve you want. It will do up 40 small serves suitable for a kids party. If you want larger serves or dessert sized serves then you could either use the left over cake scraps for cake pops or to create the hills or racing track boundaries on your cake board. Look back through the comments on this page to see the photos of what others have done for ideas.

  10. Thank you for the guidance to make a Lightning McQueen cake!!!

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Looks great Lynette.

  11. Hi from Japan! Thank you soooo much! First time making this type of cake and I had so much fun 🙂 my son loved it so much. You’re templates were so helpful!

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      That is great to hear Sakura. Well done!

  12. Hi Ann, Your tutorial is the best! I am truly amazed with how my first carved, fondant cake turned out just by following your instructions. A tip I found about exaggerating the carving also proved valuable. It was so much fun and my grandson LOVED it! Thank you so much for creating a template and making a wonderful video 😀

    • I have to make this cake and I am using the same template but for some reason it don’t look like it will serve 40 people. when you did it how many servings you think you got from the car? I was thinking of making a base cake for car to sit on top of so I can make sure my customer gets 40 servings she requested.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Donna, Your cake looks AMAZING. So glad your grandson loved it. Well done!

  13. 2nd

  14. My attempt

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Great work Sally. That is way better than my first attempt at a fondant cake. I hope your birthday boy or girl loved it!

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