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 would you be able to do a truck cake ( a little truck like roadworks one)

    • Hi Kim, did you see this one?

      • Hi yer I seen that one thanks I was more after a different truck tho umm one with like a cab and deck f that makes sense lol I am going to attempt the cars one its awsome but will be doing a truck around october if you could help would be awsome 🙂

  2. hi vithuni, sorry about delay in replying, im catching up with so many comments. the pan is 1.5cm

  3. sorry about that dash, did you manage to get it. if not, email us here: [email protected]

  4. Rating: 5

    Hello!! This is my try for the cake and it went very good!! The cake is red velvet! Thank you very much Ann for everything!!! :))

    • Awesome Koulla great cake

  5. I am very tempted to make this cake for my sons birthday. I was womdering how many people the cake would feed ?

    • about 25 people

  6. Thank you for the tutorial it was excellent I wasn’t even thinking of attempting a car until I saw how detailed your tutorial was so I dived in, took me a very long time but my son loved it, which was so worth it. Thanks again here is my picture.

    • well done Kerrie 🙂

  7. You are gorgeous

    • 😀

  8. Thanks for creating the tutorial and templates. Couldn’t have done it without the video but not sure I’ll tackle a cake challenge like this again – it took ages! Here’s a photo. Went down a treat at the party today especially with the 4 yr old birthday boy!
    Thanks again.

    • Rating: 5

      Thanks for creating the tutorial and templates. Couldn’t have done it without the video but not sure I’ll tackle a cake challenge like this again – it took ages! Here’s a photo. Went down a treat at the party today especially with the 4 yr old birthday boy!
      Thanks again.

      • Hi Vanessa, yes cakes take time, which is why they cost a lot to buy. Now that you’ve made this one so well I’m sure your kids will be planning a cake next year for you to make too.

  9. Some more pictures of the step by step would be greatly appreciated. I found myself having to watch the video over and over again to get it right, whereas if you had some pictures of your cake at the step by step basis, this would of helped GREATLY.

    • Hi, thanks for your feedback, the video has pause buttons so you can watch a step, pause then move onto the next one. A video is made up of many many photo frames and as such is easier to follow than a single picture.

  10. Rating: 4.5

    This is my Lightning McQueen cake that I did. He is iced in buttercream and all of his lights and numbers ect. are made from modeling chocolate

    • Great cake Jayne, was the red buttercream or modeling chocolate? It looks really smooth so well done if that’s buttercream.

  11. Hi ann I am going to make the mcqueen cake but I have one question. One of my lo’s friends arre diabetic and what can I use instead of fondant. Thank you

    • Hi tammy, all the fondant type products are very high in sugar

  12. Rating: 5

    Thank you for sharing this amazing cake. My daughter made this for her brother’s 3. y.o b-day yesterday :), she’s 14 and it was amazing :).

    • Looks fantastic, and she is only 14, bright future ahead 😀

      • Rating: 5

        Only 14 and she told me that she wanted to do this cake for her brother 2 months ago, when she showed me the cake I almost laught, I was very sceptical :). But she pulled it off. Here she is 🙂

        • Awesome, I love seeing young bakers do amazing things 😀

  13. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for this fabulous tutorial video 🙂
    I finished the cake just half an hour ago 😉
    I made a few mistakes, but I am very happy with my McQueen 🙂

    • Fabulous Kersch you should be happy you’ve done such a good job looks perfect

  14. Rating: 5

    Hello Ann!! Congrats on your Lightning McQueen Cake!! its the best one I have ever seen! plus your tutorial its great!!, I will try to make it for a next sunday party, I tried downloading the templates, I am in Mexico city and i was wondering how could i purchase the templates out of your site? could i purchase them from here?
    Thank you so much for your time, and again….Congrats!! I think you are awsome!! =)

    • hi maria, if you click on the add the cart button you can then purchase with visa or paypal and the link should be immediately available on screen, and an email should also be sent with the download link. If you have already purchased it and are having problems downloading pls email sales support at howtocookthat [at]

  15. i want to thank you for the video tutorial of 3d lightning mc queen.i made it for my son s 8th birthday party and everyone was thrilled. i made some mistakes but i enjoyed it. tell me your opinion about it. thank you

    • well done 🙂

  16. Rating: 5

    Thank you! Your video really help me. My 2 year was thrilled and the cake was the talk of the party:)

    • Well done Mireille, it looks fantastic!

  17. Hi Ann
    Can I freeze your chocolate cake to ice Lightning McQueen later haven’t got the time to do it near the birthday?

    • yes Sandra, as long as you completely defrost it before you start decorating

  18. Hi,

    Thanks for the great tutorial I spent 6hrs yesterday painstakingly putting this this cake together for my sons birthday. He’s just seen it and loves it!

    I’m very proud too…..


    • well done Andrew, what a great job you did!

  19. Hallo Ann!
    First of all thank you for a a great tutorial! And thank you for being kind enough to share your secrets with us. Ann I purchased a McQueen template and your recipe book couple of days ago but still did not receive a link to download the template so I can print it . Please help me, I’m running out of time.
    Thank you very much in advance!

    • hi Janetta, sorry it took me some time to get back to you, we are working hard to catch up on comments at the moment. can you please email me at [email protected] if you still have not received the template (it should have come immediately so there must have been a glitch).

  20. boa tarde! por favor eu preciso dos moldes do bolo 3D Relâmpago McQueen Carros. NÃO consigo encontar os moldes. por favor mande os moldes para o meu email. muito obrigada.

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