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: 3.5

    What is the depth of your pan you used for lightning McQueen cake because I have all my pans have a different depth you use five cakes for a 10 x 15 but it doesn’t say the depth of yours.

  2. Rating: 4.5

    Thank you for such a great video and cake. It made my little 5 year old friend very happy! I took a few shortcuts by printing some bits and pinning them onto the cake (a woman’s gotta know her limitations!) The flash wasn’t coloured on the template so I had to do a bit of searching and patching, but got there in the end.

  3. Rating: 4.5

    My son wants vanilla cake instead of your recommended chocolate recipe. How many cups of batter should I use per pan?

  4. Rating: 5

    How do I get the template? I am trying to buy it and Im not having any luck

  5. Rating: 5

    How can I get template?

  6. Rating: 5

    Thanks so much – I made this cake recently for my son’s 4th birthday and it turned out great! He absolutely loved it and the cake was delicious.

    • Amazing!!

  7. Rating: 5

    Might be a silly question but do I print the template on A4 paper or bigger? Thanks

    • Print on A4 paper. It will print over several pages that you can tape together in the correct size of the cake

  8. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    Thank you so much for this inspirational design! I didn’t do it quite as well as you but it still looks amazing 🤩 🤩

  9. Rating: 5

    Thanks for all the info. I made my son one for his birthday. Haven’t baked a cake in probably over 20 years.

  10. Rating: 5

    Thank you so much for this! Because of you I was able to make this beautiful cake! I literally couldn’t have done it without your help

  11. Rating: 5

    Hello I am making this cake for my daughters 3rd birthday at the end of the month and was wondering if there was any reason that I couldn’t make the wheels in advance? Thank you for the tutorial it is amazing x

  12. Rating: 5

    I tried this cake and I had so much fun making it. Thank you so much Ann!

  13. Rating: 5

    HI, how can I get the template?

  14. Rating: 5

    how can if get the lightning McQueen cake template?

  15. Rating: 4.5

    I’m preparing to make the Lightning McQueen cake and just wanted to verify the chocolate cake recipe. It calls for 8 large eggs for a 2 layer cake? (two sheet pans for this cake.) I’ve never used so many eggs in a cake!
    I do love your ideas and the detailed tutorials. Thanks!

    • Rating: 5

      How can I get the lightning mcqueen template to be able to make it for my little boy please thank you

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