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
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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

1,136 Comments View Comments

  1. 2nd

  2. Rating: 4.5

    My attempt

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

  3. Hi sir if I do payment how i will be getting it
    Is it through mail or by postal

    • All purchases are completed online and templates are then made available immeadiately for digital download.

  4. I’m trying to buy the template but won’t let me

    • hi Carli, the website was down for a few hours but should be ok again now. Let me know if there’s still a problem 🙂

  5. Rating: 5

    Thanks for this tutorial – I made one for my son and he loved it. Problem now is to top it next time!

    • Great work Natalie.

  6. Rating: 5

    Thank you so much for your brilliant lightening McQueen cake video. I must have watched it 1000 times lol but it was worth it as managed to make an awesome McQueen cake for my sons 5th birthday party tomorrow. So pleased with it. Thank you!

    • Hi Rebecca, Well done! your little one will be extatic.

  7. Rating: 5

    It’s my first 3D cake and my 2nd time using fondant so I did a trial run tonight (party in 2 weeks). I didn’t do some of the small details or the black outline since it was just my trial. Any constructive feedback/hints?

  8. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, this cake is amazing and I am making it for my sons 5th birthday party next Sunday. Please could you tell me how long I can keep the finished cake for before the party? Also, can I keep it in the fridge once it’s covered in fondant? I am concerned about the cream in the ganash keeping fresh. Thanks!

  9. Rating: 5

    Loves your tutorial om Mqueen. Theis is my result for mye four years old

  10. Rating: 4.5

    Here is the one I just did for a 2 year old.

    • Great work Sarah. Your rusteze logo looks particularly good.

  11. Hi Fe Mercado the customer support details are on the shop page. You would have also received the link by email, so do check your inbox. Just in case I will forward your comment to customer care.

  12. bonsoir
    pourriez vous svp m envoyer le patron de la voiture cars? elle est excellente bravo je vous remercie d avance

    • Bonjour Hafida, Le modèle pour ce gâteau peut être acheté en utilisant le bouton «Achetez-le maintenant» sur la page Web ci-dessus. Je vous remercie.

  13. Rating: 5

    And here is Asher blowing out the candles…

  14. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann – I made this cake for my grandson’s 3rd birthday. The cake was made with homemade chocolate pound cake with chocolate cream cheese icing. Thank you so much for the instructions, and for including a template. It was awesome!

    • Well done Shelia and thanks for the pics. We hope Asher loved it!

    • bonjours je pourrais avoire svp votre patron de la voiture cars que vous avez fait de ann je vous remercie d avance

  15. Rating: 5

    Loved this cake! My son wanted a McQueen cake for his birthday, he was sure it had to be this one!! So here it is! Thank you so much for the brilliant tutorial!! He had to watch it over and over with me!!!

    • Great work Elizabeth. The cake looks awesome!

  16. Loved this cake! My son wanted a McQueen cake for his birthday, he was sure it had to be this one!! So here it is!

  17. Rating: 5

    Thank you so much Anne, I finished my Son’s cake at 2:30am and was just so thrilled with how it turned out. He lives for Lightning McQueen and it was important for me to get this right for his 3rd birthday. Everyone was so impressed and thanks to your clear instructions and wonderful advice it was a huge success.

    • That is great to hear Kelly. Well done!

  18. Hi! I need help in pricing. How much should I price this cake?

    • Any pricing needs to cover the cost of your ingredients and your time, plus an amount to cover the equiment usage, power and storage etc.

  19. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, My neige requested a flash Mc Queen cake for her little boy for his both birthday. I looked around and really liked your cake. So I bought your templates and followed the instructions. I had to get a move on as it was quite a close call to get it finished in time. Anyway, its not as perfect as your in the video, but the little lad loved it and refused to let anyone cut it up. His mom cried a bit, but she did that last year when I made another cake. I learned a lot from your video, so thanks for everything.

    • That’s great Robert. Excellent work on your cake!

      • Its my niece who asked me to make the cake, but the automatique corrector decided that neige(snow in french) was the right word:d.

  20. Rating: 4

    Hi Ann, thanks for the fab tutorial. I have successfully used it once and am now hoping to adapt it to a different car. I see you recommend it for 40-45 portions but I can’t remember what the portion serving sizes were on this? I’ve been asked to make a car to feed 100 small portions (usually for small I do 1″ by ” finger slices) so not sure whether to keep the template the same or double it if that makes sense! Many thanks1

    • Hi Sarah, for 100 small portions I would either double it. Or place the car on a decorated base cake.

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