How to Decorate a Lightning McQueen Cake

Written by jennie dalcour
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How to Decorate a Lightning McQueen Cake
A Lightning McQueen cake will take your birthday party to the winner's circle. (racing flag and crowd image by Maria Bell from

Disney Pixar's movie "Cars" is a favourite for many young children, especially boys. The excitement of fast cars and racing make "Cars" a popular theme for birthday parties. The centre piece of a festive "Cars" party is a 3D Lightning McQueen cake. While a 3D car cake may seem to be intimidating for a novice baker, anyone can put this cake together with some time, preparation and patience. Bakers and party planners, start your engines!

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Two packages of cake mix
  • 3D Car Mold
  • Butter (optional)
  • Shortening (optional)
  • Flour (optional)
  • Cocoa Powder (optional)
  • Cupcake wrappers (optional)
  • Round cake pan (optional)
  • Bowls
  • Three cans of commercially prepared white frosting
  • Gel food colouring
  • Cake decorating bags
  • Cake board or plate
  • Toothpick (optional)
  • Cake decorating tips
  • Model or picture of Lightning McQueen

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  1. 1

    Prepare car mould by greasing the bottom and sides of the car mould with butter or shortening. Sprinkle flour into the pan if you are making a vanilla or white cake, or use cocoa powder for chocolate cake. Tap out the excess flour or cocoa powder.

  2. 2

    Prepare the desired flavour cake mixes following directions on the box.

  3. 3

    Pour enough of the batter into the prepared car mould to fill it three-quarters of the way full. Filling it any more than this will cause the batter to overflow as the cake bakes. Pour any remaining batter into cupcake wrappers or round cake pan, if desired. Bake cakes as directed. Allow Lightning McQueen cake to cool in mould for at least 15 minutes before removing.

  4. 4

    Separate frosting into six small bowls. Add red gel food colouring to an entire can of frosting until you achieve the desired red colouring. Continue mixing gel food colouring into frosting until you have separate bowls of black, orange and yellow, as well as a small amount of blue frosting. Leave some frosting white. Fill decorator bags with frosting, leaving the red frosting in its bowl.

  5. 5

    Remove cake from car mould onto cake board or plate once it has cooled. One hour later, apply a thin coat of red frosting to seal in the crumbs. Carefully spread a thicker coat of red frosting to the car.

  6. 6

    Attach a small, round decorator tip to the bag of black frosting. Outline all of Lightning McQueen's details, including the windshield, windows, headlights, tires and ads. Use a model or picture to decorate the cake correctly.

  7. 7

    Fill in the outlines with a thicker tip on the appropriate coloured frosting bags. Use white frosting to fill in the windows, windshield and smiling teeth. Use blue frosting to create the eyes and yellow frosting for the lightning bolt. The orange frosting will make up advertising decal on the bonnet.

Tips and warnings

  • Using a toothpick, outline the windows, lightning bolt, and other car details before drawing the outlines with coloured frosting. If your cake is crumbling, freeze for an hour before decorating.
  • Do not try to remove the cake from the mould while it is hot because it may break apart.

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