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

    I made it!!!! First 3D and second fondant cake of my life!!! I made it! Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nuts free, corn free, egg free!! 🙂
    And most important (ALSO) my son felt the king with his super Lightning McQueen birthday cake (FOR ONCE)! All his friends were amazed!!
    Thank you so much Ann, your tutorial is truly fantastic!! So powerful I feel now!! 😉
    Kisses from an Italian in Belgium!

    • it turned out beautiful, well done!

  2. Rating: 5

    Perfect instructions clear to use only missed how to make the boot of the car correctly but I figured it out and it was a hit! Thanks for sharing

    • WOW!!! Great job Lisa

  3. Hi Ann, first of all I find your cake fantastic and my son too – of course 😉 and I have decided I will try to make one for his birthday party in one week … God help me!
    I have one question: since my son cannot eat chocolate, I was wondering if I can make the “white” version of it and if so, what recipes do you advise I follow for the cake and the frosting.
    I really hope you can help me, thanks already!

  4. hello mis, my question is,,,
    do you axcept only dollars or also euro,s, and iff you axcept euro,s also how much is is then in euro,s?
    iff you dont axcept euro,s ,how can i get then the sjablone,s off cars in the netherlands?
    whit friendly regards of Nikita..
    see your mail back.. thnx

    • Hi Nikita, payment is through the paypal system, you can pay using paypal or credit card and they accept euros, click through to add to cart and it should covert for you before you click to pay.

  5. Rating: 5

    I LOVE your chocolate cake recipe, it is amazing!
    Made this cake for my 4yr olds birthday, your templates and instructions are so clear and easy to use, thank you! Just need to practise more!!!!

    • Love it, this cake is awesome

  6. how many servings does this make? Can I use 2″ high cake pans instead of making 6 flat ones? How high does the cake stand?

    Thank you!

    • yes you can use a deeper tin, but it will take longer to bake.

  7. Rating: 5

    Ann you are fab, My little girl loved Lightening , it took me 12 hrs but well worth it.

    My other little girl is made on Disney Stitch please help i need a 3d stitch
    I need to make it By July any ideas

    • Awesome cake Sarah, your girls are going to want beautiful cakes every year now 😀

  8. Rating: 5

    Great tutorial made this for my four year old cousins birthday for next week he loves lightning mcqueen

    • looks awesome Tracey well done

  9. Rating: 5

    This tutorial was a huge help, was my first time working with fondant , pretty happy with the end result. Thanks again Ann you are a genius 🙂

    • wow you are an amazing cake decorator, I can’t believe this is your first time using fondant well done

  10. Rating: 5

    What a wonderful tutorial and template!
    This was a blast to make!

    • looks awesome Chad, great job

  11. Rating: 5

    Hi there! Thank you SO much for this wonderful tutorial. I was able to bake, make all of the items by hand and decorate the car in full in 8 hours total. This was a special cake made for a little boy with autism that has never spoken but loves Cars. I was very happy with the results and your thorough instructions and templates – not to mention the cake was DELISH! XO (By the way – I weighed everything in grams to ensure proper measurements and I was so surprised how off the butter weight was compared to actual sticks!)

    • Great cake Julie, looks amazing. Big hugs to the little boy this was for.

  12. Rating: 4.5

    this was a great cake, and so much fun to make!!

    • great job Peggy and happy birthday to Liam

  13. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann Just wanted to say thank you for the cars tutorial, I made the McQueen cake for my grandsons 4th birthday and I was amazed how many people complemented me,(thanks to you.) I love watching all your videos, and cant wait for Fridays to come.
    Not sure if the picture came through.

    • This is so good, love the decorations on the cake board finishes it off so well

  14. Rating: 5

    Thanks so much Ann, your tutorial and template was wonderful!

    • Lovely job Rachel the cake looks great

  15. Rating: 4.5

    Thanks Ann for all your help! Here is my attempt to the cake. I couldn’t finish all the details because I ran out of time. But everyone loved it either way.

    • Looks great Adriana well done

  16. Hi what brand white fondant did you use 🙂

    • Hi Kim, I use different brands all the time depending on where I am shopping I think this one was bakels but not sure sorry.

  17. Here is my first attempt ever at cooking a cake. Love the chocolate cake used in this cake. Not a ad effort I think for a first timer

    • Rating: 5

      Oops not a great pic

      • cool cake, well done

  18. Rating: 5

    Hi !

    I did it ! Thanks you a lot for your tutorial and steps !

    I didn’t have anymore Red Fondant so I couldn’t make wheels (roues?). and I don’t like Oreo. So I put 2circles of black fondant and i put the cake BBetween them. I closed like a Chausson aux pommes. I did an other circle to have a good form (but I was so tired so it’s not perfect for me)

    I have two more pictures if you want to see my cake.



    • Well done Sara

  19. Thank you,thank you it’s beautibul demo loved

  20. Thank you for a great tutorial!

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