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


My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
Stores that sell my book listed by country:
All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

1,136 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 4.5

    great tutorial here is my finished product not bad for first attempt..

    • Awesome Karen, love the finish line too 😀

  2. Rating: 5

    Hi ann ,I made this cake for my friends sons bday Which is was a great effort for me to do it as it was my first ever fondant turned out to be not a not bad one but when I shifter the cake from the table,the fondant seemed to have cracks on it.thanks for your tutorial …you’ve done a great job with your website.

    • Hi Anu,
      looks fantastic well done. The ‘cracks’ are due to the fondant drying out before it has stretched into place on the cake, some brands are better than others. Massaging some margarine into the fondant before you roll it out can help with this.

      • Thanks a lot for that tip Ann..will try it for the next one..

  3. hello,
    I would make the cake cars for 2 years of my son but I can not pay for and download your tutorial on your website ? Help me please ? I ‘m French . Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Caroline, The purchase button should work for you, the company that runs the payment side of things is available in most countries with the exception of Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan as well as countries not supported by PayPal. Do you have paypal in France?

  4. Hi! i just both the templates. I would like to know how much is the perfect amount of Ganache for your chocolate buttercream recipe. Thanks

    • Hi celeste I like to make a double batch of chocolate butter cream and add one quantity of ganache

  5. can some one please tell me when baking the cakes … why are they done with so many layers? why is it not just two / three thicker layers of cake ?

    • Hi Magdalena, the trays bake quicker in the oven than thicker cakes and so you don’t get a ‘crust’ on the edges that needs to be cut off.

  6. Rating: 5

    This was my first 3D cake I made for my little boy’s 2nd.
    Thank you for the tutorial 🙂 🙂

    • looks awesome Hollie well done

  7. Rating: 5

    Thank you so much for your instructions. This was my first 3rd Cake i made. My 3 year old boys face was priceless 🙂

    • Awesome cake Marune, so glad he liked it and happy birthday to your little boy

  8. Rating: 5

    with the help of this vidéo tutoriel I cooked this MacQueen Cars Cake and I really want to thank you and show you a picture of my MacQueen Cars cake

    • Awesome Frier looks great

  9. Rating: 5

    What a great tutorial video! A friend of mine saw the cupcakes that I made 2 days ago with fondant icing and asking me if I could make a Lightning Mcqueen for him. I was very shock because it’s just my first time to make a fondant icing and now someone is asking me to make a big one. (Oh my goodness!!! hehehhe) I hope I could do this one for him.

    I have a question, what other base cake could I use? Chocolate is a big no no for him. and the powdered colors you use, I think we don’t have it here. What other options could I use for it?

    Thank you so much

    • Hi Marj you can use any cake as long as it is firm and not a light sponge type cake. Powdered colours are available at most cake decorating stores for colouring chocolate.

      • Rating: 4

        Thank you! My friend is thinking of this Lightning Mcqueen or the whole team in cupcakes. He’s still thinking.

  10. thank you

  11. Hello Ann,

    Amazing tutorial, I am making this cake on Monday and would love to use the template but I’m having some trouble purchasing it. please help.


    • Hi funmi I just put a purchase through myself and it seems to be working correctly, click on buy it now, then enter name & email, choose paypal or credit card, enter appropriate details and then wait a few seconds for the payment to process and the ‘get your downloads’ button to appear. It is a newly installed shop system so your feedback is helpful, if you could let me know what part of the process it was not working for you that would be great 😀 I have also sent you an email with some more details.

  12. Rating: 5

    Thank you! the best tutorial i’ve ever seen!)))

    • Wow this is so good Irina well done

  13. Rating: 5

    I think I have your tutorial memorized now and the sound of your voice. I made this cake for a client and my cake board wasn’t strong enough and my cake was too soft and moist, after carving and covering in fondant it was not keeping it’s shape. I rebaked and reshaped and made my board twice as thick and that helped. I was using a vanilla strawberry cake recipe and realized my chocolate recipe (or yours too) probably would have been a better carving choice because my vanilla seems to not be as strong as my chocolate for some reason. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial and guidance. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and try to think of one all by myself. It’s been 5 years since I last shaped lightning and I was so much happier with this one! Thank you!

    • Rating: 5

      I love your tutorial, please make a Lego brick!!

      • Awesome Fiona great job 😀

    • Hi Alicia, nice cake well done

  14. Rating: 5

    Thanks a lot!!! It’s the best tutorial I’ve ever seen:)
    Here is my mcqueen:)

    • brilliant job Irina, well done!!

  15. Rating: 5

    My first time making this car cake. Your tutorial was very easy. Thank you!

    • awesome, that looks fantastic Aida 🙂

  16. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, finally completed my first 3d cake. Thank you so much for your tutorial! It was really easy to follow. 🙂

    • wow, that looks really good, well done!

  17. Rating: 5

    Hey Ann,

    I used your tutorial to make the birthday cake for my boyfriend of his car. It was my first attempt at making a fondant cake and he loved it! Thank you very much for sharing your tutorial.

    • WOW! That is really amazing Pauline, well done.

  18. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, I made this cake for my friend’s son. I loved your tutorial. Thank you very much. There are some colour differences in my cake.

    • wonderful job Robeena, i bet he loved it!

  19. Rating: 5

    Hi! I would have never attempted this cake without your tutorial! I made it a bit smaller and placed it on top of a round base cake. Thank you so much 🙂

    • It wouldn’t let me show the front picture 🙂

      • cool!

    • great job Ellie, i like the cactus too, a nice touch 🙂

  20. Rating: 4.5

    I used your tutorial except from the moth and the wheels. I hope yoy like it!

    • Christine that looks great!

      • Thank you very much!

    • Christina that looks awesome thanks for sharing 😀

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