A homemade birthday cake adds a special touch to any celebration. Use the theme of the birthday party, a wish or a hobby of the celebrant to fashion the cake after something the celebrant enjoys. For your car-enthusiast spouse or child, a car-shaped cake is sure to please. A general car shape will work, or you can recreate a specific make, model and colour to add a more personalised touch to your effort.
Sheet Cakes and Standard Cakes
Make a car-shaped cake using a sheet cake, or a combination of "standard" cakes (typical-sized round or square cakes). Use the amount of guests the cake will feed to determine the amount of cake you'll need.
For a sheet cake or rectangular cake, use a slim icing tip to draw an outline of a car, or blow up an image of a car and use transfer paper to outline the car's shape onto the cake. A sharp, clean knife works best to cut the cake into your desired shape, then you can decorate with a design of your own or modelling a specific car.
Another easy solution to shape your cake is to use a combination of a smaller round cake cut in half to form the top of the car and a square or rectangular cake to form the base. Cupcakes would make excellent tires. Decorate the cakes as one, creating the car of your choice.
Sculpting a three-dimensional car out of cake and icing requires patience and creativity; however you will likely be rewarded with "oohs" and "ahhs" and the smile of the guest of honour.
Start with a sheet cake and cut 1/3 to 1/4 off of one end of the cake. Stack it on top of the piece that's left, slightly off-centre. Ice the cake using any colour you'd like. Yellow, black, grey or light blue can be used for the windows. You can add doughnuts or cupcakes for wheels, or decorate tires onto your cake using black icing. Add an edible vanity number plate on the back, if you're good with small details.
Smaller cakes can be used in the same manner as a sheet cake. You can make a car cake using smaller cakes, then stack it on top of a sheet cake decorated like a road or dirt field. Use extra icing to make the windows slope down onto the car so it looks more natural than a boxy shape.
Car-Shaped Cake Pans
Look at your local arts and crafts store for car-shaped cake pans. A basic race car form is available, as is a cake pan shaped like Lightning McQueen from Disney's "Cars." If using the "Cars" pan, you can decorate the cake like the character or use the basic form to create your own car.
This is probably the simplest way to make a car-shaped cake since the shape is predetermined by the pan, however you have more room for creativity with the other methods.