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

    Dear Ann,

    This cake is just amazing!!!!!!!!!!
    My son just turn three and would like to make one.
    I just have a question before starting. I need the cake for a party on thursday (it is friday today) would you please let me know what can be make well in advance or help be to organize my time. I can only work on it in the morning.
    Many thanks and do not stop amazing us!!!!!!!
    Best wishes

    • Rating: 4.5


      Grâce à vous j’ai pu faire un beau gâteau Flash Mc Queen pour les 3 ans de mon petit garçon!!!
      Mais j’ai mis au moins 10h moi, heureusement j’avais préparé la déco à l’avance!!!
      J’ai eu du mal par contre avec le taillage de la partie haute de la voiture…


      • well done, the cake is lovely

  2. Thanks so much for the help on this one my little nephew was so happy and all the guests thought it was a toy on the table at impressed

  3. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann!
    I made this last night for my son’s 2nd birthday!
    Obviously not quite the same, or as perfect as yours! Haha
    But I used a lot of your techniques! It really made it a lot easier!! 🙂

    • Looks fantastic Hayley, great job!

  4. Hi,
    I live in France and I made the car ´s cake for my 2-year-old son. He was so happy with his red car, that really worth all these hours of shapping and painting.
    Thank you so much for your tutorial, I would not ne able to do it without your help :-))

    • that looks amazing Agnes! Im sure he absolutely loved it

  5. Rating: 4.5

    I live in France and I made the car ´s cake for my 2-year-old son. He was so happy with his red car, that really worth all these hours of shapping and painting.
    Thank you so much for your tutorial, I would not be able to do it without your help :-))

  6. Rating: 5

    Thank you for this tutorial.
    I used buttercream for the red instead of fondant
    The cake turned out so well the birthday boy
    Cried when the cake was cut.
    Added the surprise cake flag an app for a
    firework filled finish line.

    • oh using the app was a brilliant idea Jo!! Well done on the cake too

  7. Rating: 5

    Hello Anne, i’d just finished the cake . It was incredible! I needed a lot more hours than you. It’s for my grandchilds 3rd birthday! I cried as it was finished. Really! But I’m also proud. Thank you for your Inspiration and for showing me how it works!! Look at the photo! Greetings! Christiane from cologne

    • you cried when it was finished! wow, you must have worked so hard. The cake looks brilliant

  8. Rating: 5

    Lightning McQueen cake made for sons 3rd birthday.

    • great job Nicola

  9. Hi, I’m going to attempt to make this cake for my son’s 3rd bday in March, how many people would this cake serve? Thanks!

    • sorry for late reply Tania, it feeds 25

  10. Rating: 5

    Thank you for your tutorial !
    Everybody was admiringly astonished, my 3-year old Dani the first of all!!!

  11. I wanted to know your twitter account so that i can follow you

    Best regards from ayesha

    • hi, it’s howtocookthat

  12. I made this car three weeks ago and it came out awesome thanks to you my friends liked it too much and dont stop doing this you are taking a lot of prayers from people and from me too

    • thanks ayesha

  13. Hi Ann,

    This is the third cake I made it by myself. I asked questions from you 2 or 3 times .you didn’t answer for that. But i made this car cake for my son’s 2nd birthday, and it came out very nice. Have a look at this.

  14. Thanks first ever cake and you made it easy for me to do!!

    • Thats really a nice cake lydia

    • your first-ever cake? WOW! well done

  15. Hi Ann
    I juste wonder how meny servings this cake makes. Im about to make à var cake to serve 30 people. Will this recipient be enough or då i have to make the car Birger ?
    Best regards
    Emma in Sweden

    • hi emma, sorry for late reply, it will feed about 25

  16. Hi Ann
    1st I wud like to say thanks you thanks you thank you soooo much. You are a great inspiration for me. I follow your site and always how can you make cakes so perfect! It amazed me how much details work you do and all of them you posted in videos so we can learn them. I have made my 1st fondant cake for my son . It is not as good as your cars cake but atleast my son recognized the cake as cars that’s enough for me. And all credits goes to you. I forgot to count how many times I watched your video off this.

    • amazing job! well done

  17. Sorry just us again. Can these cakes be frozen like other chocolate cakes?

  18. Photo to add to comment below. Note we cheated with the Rusteze sign!

    • it looks brilliant, you’ve done so well

  19. Awesome thanks P & P for all of your details, do you have a picture of your finished cake?

  20. did u use 4 half sheet layers or 4 quarter sheet layers?

1 4 5 6 7 8 30

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