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, thank you so much for the video tutorial! I used your awesome template and it was sooooo helpful! I didn’t have much time so I printed all the decorations on edible paper and still it was very time-consuming but definitely worth it!
    Thanks again!

    • well done Tal . keep trying

    • I love the look you got with the printed pieces! It’s very nice!

      • Thanks for the feedback Christy.

    • Thanks Tal. You have done an awesome job on this cake. We love it and the cake board decorations. It looks brilliant!

      • Thank you so much!

  2. Hola,por favor de donde saco las plantillas para hacer el Rayo MacQueen ?
    Esta precioso y me han encargado uno .Podrían decirme las medidas del molde en cms?

    Muchas gracias !

    • Hola, yo no podía entender bastante su mensaje, pero si usted está teniendo problemas para descargar la plantilla por favor póngase en contacto con soporte del administrador: howtocookthat(a)

  3. Hi,
    I made this cake for my son’s birthday and now someone wants me to make it but offering to pay me. What should I charge her? I have no idea about pricing?


    • Hi Anna, Have a think about how long it took you to make. Multiply that by how much you want to charge per hour for your time, then add the cost of the ingredients.

  4. Rating: 5

    Here’s this year’s cake! I was so happy with it and it’s all thanks to you!! This time I used little lights for the headlights which I wish I had placed a bit higher but overall it turned out great. I had forgotten to put the white fondant for the smile before covering in red but it worked out okay. Thank you again!! My son was over the moon. 🙂 Only thing is I wish I had seen was your 5th instruction to take a pic of him with the cake BEFORE THE PARTY!! 🙂 GeorgeAnn

    • Hi George Ann, Fantastic Work! Well done. I am sure your son was thrilled.

  5. Hi, only I would like to know for how mani persons are this cake, because I need to do one for 120 persons. What you recommend me

  6. I am in Vietnam but I cannot buy this by my credit card (mastercard). What should I do now?

    • Sorry Ms Nguyen, Unfortunately the payment gateway will not accept payments from a couple of countries including Vietnam. We happy to have an alternative option soon.

  7. Hello,
    Just wondering how many servings do you get out of this cake. I need to make it for 30 people. Please advise.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Sergio, The cake serves about 35 people, depending on the size of each serving.

  8. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, Thanks a lot for the inspired to make my first fondant cake. I made the cake for 50 people. So made sheet cake layers. Used dowels for support. But faced some difficulty to lift cake to put the tires on sheet cake.i used small cake for lifting. I put some flags to hide the mess. Please give me some suggestions.
    Thanks Again!!

  9. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann, Thanks a lot for the inspired to make my first fondant cake. I made the cake for 50 people. So made sheet cake layers. Used dowels for support. But faced some difficulty to lift cake to put the tires on sheet cake.i used small cake for lifting. I put some flags to hide the mess. Please give me some suggestions.
    Somehow im not able to attach the photo.
    Thanks Again!!

    • Hi Chandra, The cake looks great. See my other reply for suggestions.

  10. Rating: 5

    If not for you video my son wouldn’t have gotten the cake he asked for. You made a little man’s day, thank you.

    • Well done Mj’s Mum and thanks for the feedback.

  11. Hi Ann, thanks for responding to previous querry. I m not able to open the previous page. Thanks a lot for video. It really helped me to make this cake for my sons 2 nd bday. Everyone lived it. ☺️

  12. Hi , can any one please help me and tell me how can I get the draw of the car with all the details that she is using here to create the shape , is it something that I need to print from the Internet ?? Is there a special website for these things

    • Hi Rawya, You can purchase the template via the link on the web page. Click on the Buy it now button and you can pay via paypal or credit card. Then the template will be downloadable. Any hassles, just email tech support: howtocookthat (at)

      • Hi Ann, Thanks a lot for the inspired to make my first fondant cake. I made the cake for 50 people. So made sheet cake layers. Used dowels for support. But faced some difficulty to lift cake to put the tires on sheet cake.i used small cake for lifting. I put some flags to hide the mess. Please give me some suggestions.
        Thanks Again!!

        • Hi Chandabairagi, You could set up the support first and then assemble the car cake on top, to avoid having to ‘lift’ it.

  13. I am planning to make this cake for my sons 3rd birthday but I have some questions. I hope someone can help. I don’t have 11×15 pans but think I can just use my 9×13 pans I am just not sure if it will make enough cake for me to build up the top of the car. Does anyone know if this will work or not a good idea? I also don’t have powdered food coloring and was wondering if I can just paint the pieces with my gel colors? If I do decide to invest in a couple 11×15 pans how deep are yours? I am guessing 1 inch? Sorry I love cake decorating but only really do it for my kids anymore so I am not wanting to invest tons of money into materials just for making 1 cake. TIA to anyone who can help!

    • Hi Christy, The 9 x 13 pans would make about 70% of the cake volume that you would need, so you would need to cook an extra tray and piece the cake together. My 11 x15 pans are about 2cm deep or 25/32 of an inch!. You can use the gel colours to paint the fondant, however you want be able to get the nice shading you can achieve using the powdered colouring. Hope this helps.

  14. Victoria, a little 2 years old Princess was happy! 🙂 Thanks the templates and everything! 🙂

    • That’s great Flora. Well done!

  15. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann , my second car ever ! I’m so pleased to have all the templates and exceptional video to follow . The little boy who turned four , loved the cake ! Thanks so much!

    • Your cake looks amazing! Well done Sheiba09.

  16. Rating: 5

    hi Ann!.. thank you so much for this amazing tutorial.. I will be making this cake on Mar client requested it for his son’s 3rd birthday.. and I will definitely use your tips. I just want to know.. where can I get this car template? looking forward for your reply..

    • Hi Arlen, You can download the template via the Buy It Now button on the web page.

  17. Rating: 4.5


    • Great job George Ann. It looks fantastic!

  18. Rating: 5

    Hi. Sorry it took so long. He wants the same cake again this year! 🙂 I have to tell you I printed the Rusteeze symbol and the eyes on the edible printer but I think it turned out pretty good for a novice and this was COMPLETELY due to your INCREDIBLE instructions and templates! Thank you so so much again.

  19. Rating: 5

    Fantastic cake took me a long time to make, luckily on school holiday for a week! It was all worth it to see my grandson’s delighted face.

    • Great work Frances.

  20. Rating: 5

    Just made this for my sons 5th birthday. The template was awesome and so is your instructional video! While we didn’t make ours into lightning McQueen I did use your template for all the decorations. Mine is done in buttercream and the decorations were made with sugar paper (with the exception of the wheels, they are fondant… So clever with the Oreo center!)

    • That’s great Dani.

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