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. Hi Ann, just finished the Lightning McQueen cake. It’s the second car I ever made so I’m quite pleased .
    I used a Mocha cake recipe, your chocolate buttercream and LMF. I usually use swiss meringue buttercream. I was pleased I was able to smooth your buttercream with paper towel. Is it a crusting buttercream?
    Having wonderful templates and clear easy to follow video was awesome! Thanks for sharing your time and talents .

    • Hi Sheiba, Thanks for the feedback. The chocolate buttercream, will firm up in the fridge, but it doesn’t really crust.

  2. Rating: 5

    thank you for the awesome’s what I made for our little man..more power to you


  3. Hi Ann, just finished the Lightning McQueen cake. Its the second car I ever made . It’s for a friend s little boy s birthday tomorrow. You made it all possible with your wonderful templates and excellent video. A huge thank you for sharing your time and talent :)))

    • Thanks Sheiba.

  4. Hi Ann, wonderful demo. My sons bday is coming up. There will be 60 people attending the party. I was planning to make 10*15 sheet cake (atleast 2) and then top it with this car.. Little smaller version though. I had a doubt in my mind that if i put car on top , will my sheet cake be pushed down or will it just like be the third layer of cake? Because Im also planning to cover the sheet cake with lots of buttercrram icing. Its my first making make for so many people and working wirh fondant too.Please let me know your suggestion. Thanks a alot.

    • Hi Chanda, I think you would find the car would squash the layers below unless you use supports and a cake board. Post a photo when your done. I would love to see it.

  5. Oi, Ann, tudo bem???
    Estou louca para fazer este bolo, já estou de olho nele há séculos!!!
    Gostaria de saber quanto ele pesa,ou para quantas pessoas este bolo dá.


    • Oi Mariana, O bolo de Relâmpago McQueen fará o equivalente a 40 serve queque .

      • Muito obrigada!!

  6. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann,
    Thank you very much for the tutorial, made the cake for a friend’s son’s birthday and they were very pleased.

    • Great work Rachael!

  7. Rating: 5

    Made for my sons 1st birtday came out better than I had expected!

    • Hi Rachel, So glad it went well!

  8. Made this cake for my sons 2nd birthday. My first time with 3D cake and in general I don’t do cakes to much, turned out awesome with highly skilled teacher like you Ann, you are amazing!

  9. Made this cake for my sons 2nd birthday. Thank you Ann, you are an awesome teacher!

  10. Rating: 4.5

    I made this for my son’s first birthday

  11. Consulta es en dolares verdad para comprar las plantillas

  12. Thank you

  13. Thank you for you ideas
    Can you please send to me paybal for car
    I want to make cake for my kid on his brithday
    And thank you 😀

  14. I confirm that I got my template as well using a credit card.

  15. hi, the company that runs the shop is having trouble with paypal & dropbox at the moment but it is still ok to use credit card. The issues with paypal should be resolved within a week or so.

    • Hu, Ann I used my credit card at got my template. Thank you so much for all your help with the template. Everyone understands that things happen; thanks so very much for sharing your work.

      • oh that’s great, glad it worked out Ruthann 🙂

  16. Hi Maria,
    yes it is very frustrating. The company that runs the shop is having trouble with paypal payments. It will still work on credit cards but no paypal for at least another week. Sorry about that.

  17. sorry Franc, the company that runs the shop is having problems with paypal. They tell me it will be fixed in the next week or so.

  18. Hi is the template problem solved as I would like to purchase templates?
    Thanks everyone

    • hi mandy,
      the company that runs the shop is having problems with paypal. You can still use credit cards.

  19. Rating: 5

    watched your tutorial for this cake and i love it! thanks for this recipe i was able to give my godson a lightning mcqueen cake! I don’t have visa card so i dont have any template to pattern my cake with 😀 . I had a hard time with the fondant because it was very sticky at first because it was quite humid where i live but tons of powdered sugar helped a lot,. please do more inspiring videos for us to watch! thanks a bunch!!

  20. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,

    Just want to send huge thanks for your tutorial. My very first cake for 3rd birthday of my son. He loved loved it and my husband was amazed with the cake. I myself even could not believe I did that because I never baked anything before. Thank you so much for your generousity sharing your valuable information.

    • how many servings is there?

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