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: 5

    That’s the best cars cake I’ve ever seen, seriously you have an amazing talent. I was wondering if you can make a dusty crophopper cake from “planes” the movie, thank you for being awesome xxx

  2. Rating: 5

    Hei Ann. Greetings from Norway. I just love everything you do. And dis kake whose a dream for me to make beat your tutorial is helpt me a late thank you so weary moch. I made my own templates and woch your tutorial meaby 50 times. And that I and app with.

    • wonderful job Sylwia

  3. How much would you charge for this cake??

    • i don’t sell cakes Keren, i just help people make them 🙂

  4. Rating: 5

    Thank you so much for the cake plan. Worked a treat and my 4 year old is sooo excited for his party tomorrow now

    • that looks perfect Victoria! well done

  5. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, cheers from Brazil =D First of all, your videos are amazing, I adore it ! Second, well, when I first saw this Lightening McQueen video, I got chocked. I NEEEEEDED to try it for my nephew and I did ! It took me days but the result was absolutely perfect for me, as I did not expect to make it so cute as I don’t have much experience. The chocolate cake is amazing and the buttercream frosting is great ! Just one thing, I used only ganache for the filling, and I think it ended up a little too hard, but tastes amazing, I did it in strawberry flavor ! I also used strawberry fondant and everybody loved it ! The party was expected to have 70 guests, so I baked another cake to put together with the car. But the car ended up with almost 4 kg, It was not needed to bake another cake as huge as I did, buuuut, of course, Its better having more cake than not enough. When my nephew saw his cake, he was delighted ! He asked to eat the wheel, and them, one eye ! His happiness made it worth every second I spent on this cake. Ann, once again, thanks for your videos, recipes and everything. You explain everything with such details that it is so easy to do it myself. Wish you the best !! Love, Gisele

    • Rating: 5

      Hi Ann, here is one picture of the party table ! =)

      • wow, wow ,wow that is amazing. The whole thing looks awesome, the cake is great the balloons are great like that and the rest of the party food is arranged so well. Great job.

  6. hello love this where do i find the patters for the logos and things are they in the pattern you buy

  7. Rating: 5

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I love it. 😉

    • wow, terrific job!

  8. Wonderful tutorial! How many portions would you get out of this cake?

    • 25 portions 🙂

  9. Hello there, I got over to your webpage via Pinterest. Not something I regularly read through, although I like your opinions nonetheless. Many thanks for putting together some thing worthy of reading through!

  10. Dear Ann,

    Do u know approx. how many Kg’s this cake is? and if i need a larger cake should i blow up the templates?

    • it would serve about 25 people malaak

  11. Hallo ann ..Thank you for the tutorial …its for my sons 3 rd birthday tomorrow …it was my first 3 d cake ….

    • wow, fantastic job Adriana!

  12. Rating: 5

    Here is my lightning cake, I used butter cream and modeling chocolate instead of fondant. I really enjoyed making this car. Thank you

    • Awesome Jayme modeling chocolate can be a little harder to work with but you’ve done a great job

  13. Rating: 5

    Just finished this cake for my son’s birthday party tomorrow. Thank you so much for your brilliant step by step tutorial, there’s no way I would have been able to create this without it. I really enjoyed making it, although I’m really tired now (it took me 11hrs)! ha, ha x

    • Fantastic I bet your son loved it, The checkerboard cake board is a good idea too.

  14. Rating: 5

    Thank you very much for this tutorial. I’ve never worked with fondant before or made a 3D cake so I was pleased with my first attempt. Quite a lot went wrong and I got pretty stressed but it was worth it in the end. My son absolutely loved it.

    • So good caroline, i just saw this one on the fb page too. The cake underneath is a great way to make it feed more people and I love the way you’ve decorated it.

  15. Hi,

    Im trying to find everyhing to make the cars cake but i cant find the right baking tray in the netherlands.

    Can you help me?


  16. Hi Ann. I was wondering, if i purchase the template onlite. do i just download it afterwards or is the template delivered??
    Please reply coz i live in the middle east and if it’s delivered it would defeat the purpose.

    • Rating: 5

      Hi Malaak, you just follow the link to download it 😀

  17. Hi Ann, love your cake! I’m going to try and make this cake for my nephew’s birthday this weekend. I have a question though, how thick is each sheet cake? How many cups of batter in each pan? Thank you!

    • hi bonnie, each tray is about 1.5cm

  18. Rating: 5

    thank you so much for this tutorial! so easy to follow, my son absolutely loved it!! :o)

  19. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    This is my outcome. With the colour (i colored the fondant myself) and the tyres I am not very happy, but rest is ok. It was my first schulpted cake. Thanks for the Template.

    • good job Alpha 🙂

  20. Thank you! All received!Thank you! All received! Many thanks for a master class! I wish you success.

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