How to make a 3D Lightning McQueen Car Cake

The Disney Pixar’s Movie “Cars” is a favorite among many young kids, especially boys. No wonder it is a popular theme for birthday parties for small children. My son loves the Lightning McQueen Car that I think is also a wonderful center piece for his 9th birthday. My ambitious goal is to make a 3D cake shaped and decorated to look like the red race car in the movie. While a 3D car cake may seem to be intimidating to me at first, but I considered it as one of my achievements in baking and cake decorating. I am not a professional baker but I really enjoy the whole moment of making this one-of-a-kind cake in chocolate flavor and coated with buttercream frosting. I just put this cake together with a lot of preparation and great amount of patience.


So novice bakers out there, if you want to challenge yourself, why don’t you try making this impressive cake that will surely bring so much joy and excitement to the celebrant and to many avid “Cars” fanatics.

Get ready, buckle your seatbelt, start your engine, and here we go!


2 cake pans of 9 x 13 size
Paring knife
Wilton’s # 5 tip for the outline
Wilton’s #12 tip for the body and details
Icing bags
Cake board


1. Bake two pans of 9 x13 inches chocolate cake and let them cool.

pans of chocolate cake

pans of chocolate cake

2. Cut the first cake into the size /base of the car. I use toothpick as my guide for trimming down the cake.

insert toothpicks as guide

insert toothpicks as guide

3. Place the first cake on a rectangular cake board.
4. Fill the first cake with your desired filling. Here I use pastry cream made of milk and egg yolk.

fill with pastry cream

fill with pastry cream

5. Then, gently place the second cake and trim down to its desired size.


6. Start carving the cake in a shape of a car. I highly recommend to have a printout or a real Lightning McQueen Car toy as your guide in shaping the cake.


7. Refrigerate the cake for a couple of hours for easy decorating.
8. Once the cake is a bit hardened take it out from the refrigerator and enhance its details using a paring knife.


9. Ice the cake using your preferred frosting. I use buttercream frosting dye with red color.
10. Refrigerate the cake for another hour until the icing hardens.


11. Outline the cake’s front, side, and back with a toothpick.
12. Trace the outline using black buttercream.
13. Attached 4 Oreo cookies using buttercream as the car wheels.


14. Start piping with white buttercream on the front side of the cake.


15. Continue piping the buttercream on the sides and back of the car cake.

16. Lastly, pipe the red buttercream all over the cake.

17. Once the cake is done, you can write the birthday greetings using buttercream on the sides of the cake board.


Now, your cake is done and ready to be served in the party.



  1. Use a toothpick to outline the windows, lightning bolt, and other car details before drawing the outlines with colored frosting.
  2. If your cake is crumbling, freeze for an hour before decorating.
  3. Do not try to remove the cake from the mold while it is hot because it may break apart. Let it cool for several minutes.
  4. You can also use ready-made 2D Mcqueen Car cake pan instead of carving your own car shape out of the sheet cakes.

Is it simply amazing customized festive cake, right?

Lots of love,

RIAH – the Happy baker

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