Lightning McQueen Birthday Cake

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Lightening McQueen cake

We like to make our own birthday cakes, and this is the second time that we’ve tackled the Pixar’s Cars theme this year. The first time Michael made a model of the race track, but he wasn’t pleased with the results. This time he made a model of Lightning McQueen and he is much happier with how the cake turned out. Our boys liked the cake so much that the very next day our 3-year-old started asking Daddy to make Mater for his birthday cake. “Mommy, you make the cake, and Daddy, you decorate it!” he commanded in his sweet excited voice. He still asks every day even though his birthday isn’t until June!

This birthday celebration was for our oldest, who turned 5 in November. He requested a Lightning McQueen cake and wanted the flavor to be yellow. I’ve tried a lot of yellow butter cake recipes, but so many of them just don’t have a good texture or flavor. For this cake I tried the All-Purpose Buttery Yellow Cake recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and I have to say we were very pleased with it. The cake was built with three 9×13 layers, graham crackers, and chocolate covered donuts, then covered with red butter cream frosting and detailed with more butter cream and a few pieces of fondant. This was one large cake and it could easily serve 28 people or more depending on how you cut the pieces. For a smaller cake, you can use mini chocolate covered donuts and just two 9×13 layers. We used a Fisher-Price Shake ‘n Go™ Lightning McQueen as the model for the cake.

Lightening McQueen model

As with our previous cakes, this one is 100% edible, though you can skip eating the fondant pieces if you want. The marshmallow fondant tastes better than regular fondant, but we’re not fans. Still, fondant is the way to go if you need a very smooth surface on a cake, and it works well in the few places we needed it for Lightening McQueen. We used Wilton gel colors and basic liquid food coloring for both the butter cream and the fondant. Michael tried to make as much detail as possible, though at 2 am he was getting a bit tired!

You can make the cakes and frosting a day ahead, and the cakes actually handle better if you let them sit overnight. Keep the frosting in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, and then allow it to come to room temperature before attempting to decorate the cake, otherwise it will be too stiff to work with. We tried a new butter cream recipe this year and we *love* it because it uses heavy cream and unsalted butter, no shortening. The flavor is so much better. The only disclaimer is for temperature and humidity. In hot humid weather, a pure butter frosting will start to soften and separate and even run down the cake, which is why the shortening is added because it acts as a stabilizer. In cool weather, I say go for the pure butter cream!

The butter cake and the butter cream frosting recipes are adapted from my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and the marshmallow fondant recipe was posted in the Wilton.com forums. The cake recipe makes one 9×13 cake, so you’ll need to mix two or three batches depending on how large you make your cake. The butter cream recipe makes three cups, and you’ll need two to three batches of it. We cheated a bit by using plain white frosting in between the cake layers rather than making more red, but you can certainly use red frosting if you prefer.

Notes About Red Frosting

The red frosting is challenging because it’s hard to make a really deep red, and you can go through an entire jar of Wilton Red for just one cup of frosting. Because you are making a large amount of frosting and need the red to be as deep as possible, you’ll want to use the No-Taste Red which doesn’t have FD&C red #3, otherwise the frosting will take on a bitter flavor. Here are some tips to help deepen the color of your red frosting:

  • Trying making pink frosting first, then start adding the red gel. You won’t need as much red as you would if you started from white frosting.
  • Make and color the frosting a day or two ahead and let it sit. The colors deepen with time.
  • If you have a cake and candy supply store near you, ask if they have Ameri-color or Chefmaster Liquid Gel colors. These are more concentrated and take less gel to make a deep red.
  • I’ve also seen tips for using maraschino cherry juice in the red frosting. I’ve tried it with cookies, but I have not tried it in frosting. The juice is usually sweetened and the color is somewhat thin, but it would add both color and flavor. Take care not to add too much, or you might end up with runny frosting.

YELLOW CAKE

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Equipment

2 or 3 (9×13-inch) cake pans, lightly coated with cooking spray and lined with parchment in the bottom
stand mixer with paddle attachment
medium bowl
wire racks

Ingredients (Make two or three batches, one batch for each layer.)

2-3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Stir together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in the medium bowl and set aside.

3. In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add each egg one at a time and beat in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Beat in the vanilla extract.

4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating on low speed. Add 1/2 of the milk and beat in. Add half of the remaining flour mixture, beating in, then the remaining milk. Finally add the remaining flour mixture and beat in.

5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and allow cake to rest in pan for about 10 minutes, sitting on a wire rack. Run a plastic knife around the edges, then turn the cake out onto the wire rack and then turn it back over upright. Allow to cool completely, about 1 to 2 hours.

Tips

I made each cake one at a time and baked them as soon as they were mixed so that the batter did not deflate, which it tends to do if the batter sits for too long before baking.

Set the eggs, butter, and milk out about 30 minutes before mixing so that they have time to come to room temperature.


BUTTER CREAM FROSTING

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Equipment

stand mixer with paddle attachment
4 small bowls
1 medium bowl
toothpicks (for dipping the gel colors)
popsicle sticks (for stirring the colored frosting)
food service gloves (optional), helps keep your hands color free

Ingredients (Make two or three batches, one for each layer.)

2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

COLORS
Wilton No-Taste Red, 2 bottles
Wilton Orange
Wilton Sky Blue
Wilton Black

Preparation

1. In a small bowl, stir together the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and the salt.

2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until it’s smooth, just about 1 minute.

3. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the confectioners sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Beat until smooth, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the cream mixture and beat on medium-high until the frosting is light and fluffy. ATK says about 4 to 8 minutes, it took about 8 minutes for me.

5. RED Frosting: Put 5-1/2 cups of the plain frosting in the medium bowl. (Adjust the amount based on the number of layers, about 1-3/4 cups per layer.) Using toothpicks and popsicle sticks, start adding the No-Taste Red gel coloring a little at a time, stirring as you go until you have a deep bright red. By the time we were done, we had used two bottles of color. This only makes enough red frosting to cover the outside of the cake. If you want red frosting in between the cake layers, you’ll need to add another cup or two, one for each frosting layer.

6. ORANGE Frosting: Put 1/4 cup of the plain frosting in a small bowl. Using toothpicks and popsicle sticks, add the orange gel coloring a little at a time, stirring as you go until you have the desired color.

7. BLUE Frosting: Put 1-1/2 cups of the plain frosting in a small bowl. Using toothpicks and popsicle sticks, add the Sky Blue gel coloring a little at a time, stirring as you go until you have the desired color.

8. BLACK Frosting: Put 1/4 cup of the plain frosting in a small bowl. Using toothpicks and popsicle sticks, add the Black gel coloring a little at a time, stirring as you go until you have a deep black.

9. You will have some white frosting left over. We used it in between the cake layers as well as in places where a little “frosting glue” was needed.

Tips

Some of the measurements for coloring the frosting are approximated because we started off making just two batches of the frosting then had to make another when we ran out. We tried to over estimate because it’s better to have a little extra (which tastes really good with graham crackers) than not enough.


MARSHMALLOW FONDANT

Adapted from a post on Wilton.com forums.

Equipment

large microwave safe bowl OR 3-quart pot
silicone spatula
rolling pin
toothpick (for dipping the gel color)

Ingredients

1 cup mini marshmallows, packed well
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cup confectioners sugar

COLORS
Wilton Brown

Preparation

1. Put the mini marshmallows in the microwave safe bowl and add the water. Cook in the microwave for 20 seconds, just until they soften and look puffy. If you prefer to do it on the stove, put the marshmallows in a 3-quart pot and add the water. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the marshmallows look soupy.

Marshmallow fondant, soupy

2. Add the confectioners sugar and stir using the silicone spatula until the mixture is fully incorporated and no longer sticky. It will get stiff.

3. Sprinkle more confectioners sugar on a work surface and spoon the marshmallow mixture onto the surface. Coat your hands with confectioners sugar and knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5 minutes.

Marshmallow fondant, kneaded

4. BROWN: Cut off about 1/4 cup of the fondant and mash it with your hands. Add Wilton Brown gel color a little at a time and knead it in with your hands. The color will look streaked at first, then will become more consistent as you work it.

5. WHITE: Set aside the remaining fondant.

6. If you make the fondant a day or more ahead, roll the pieces into balls and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and store in zip plastic bags to keep it fresh. Do not refrigerate. If it’s well-wrapped, this marshmallow fondant will keep at room temperature for up to 3 months.


ASSEMBLY

Equipment

serrated bread knife
paring knife
X-Acto craft knife (for cutting the fondant)
plastic drinking straws
cake plate
plastic lids about the same size as the donuts
pastry brush
4 (1-quart) freezer bags
decorating tips (five #3 and two #12) and couplers
angled spatula, for spreading frosting

Ingredients

prepared and cooled layer cakes
4 chocolate covered donuts (medium to large for a 3-layer cake, minis for a 2-layer cake) *We used Entenmann’s Donuts because they have the chocolate donuts in two sizes.
3 graham cracker halves
prepared buttercream
prepared fondant

1. CAKES: Level the top of the cakes as necessary using a serrated bread knife.

2. Place the one cake on your cake plate, cut side down. Spread a layer of white frosting on top. Add another layer, cut side down. (Spread another layer of white frosting on top if you are doing a 3-layer cake, then add the top layer.)

3. Using the serrated knife, cut away parts of the cake to shape it. Carve the top to make the windows. Cut the front at a downward angle. Cut the back in a shape that angles up from the windows toward the back fin (air dam). The back side has a bit of curve from the top middle down towards the wheels. Make sure all of the corners are rounded.

4. Place the plastic lids around the cake where the wheels will go. Use the serrated knife to cut around the lids, cutting in just enough that the donuts will be recessed, about half the thickness of the donut. Dig out the remaining cake with a paring knife. On the front of the cake, cut out the mouth shape.

Lightening McQueen cake, assembly

5. Use the pastry brush to brush away the crumbs all over the cake.

6. Use some of the leftover white frosting to glue the graham cracker halves to the back of the car. The crackers should stand up about 1 inch above the top.

7. Using the red frosting, spread a thin crumb layer all over the top, sides, front, back, and the crackers. Let the layer rest for a few minutes, then add the final layer which should be about 1/4-inch thick.

Lightening McQueen cake, with red frosting

8. Put the donuts in place, positioning them so that they stick out about half way.

9. Spread the blue frosting on windows all the way around. The blue layer in the windshield is the glue for the white fondant.

10. Prep one of the plastic bags by attaching a #3 decorating tip. Add some white frosting to the bag. Roll and cut the white fondant using the X-Acto knife and the plastic drinking straws (for cutting the little dots). You’ll need a windshield shape, a round medallion for the top, a mouth, 4 detail dots for the hood, 2 rectangular shapes for the hood, 2 half ovals for the doors, and 4 larger dots for exhaust pipes under the doors. Use piped frosting to glue the fondant in place.

11. Prep another plastic bag by attaching a #3 decorating tip. Add some red frosting to the bag. Pipe the red around the windows along all of the edges, and with three stripes running down the back window.

12. Glue the round piece of brown fondant on the hood. Prep another plastic bag by attaching a #3 decorating tip. Add some orange frosting to the bag. On a piece of wax paper, practice piping the word Rusteeze, then when you are ready, pipe it onto the decal. Pipe the lightening bolts on the lalf-oval white fondant pieces on the doors.

13. Prep another plastic bag by attaching a #12 decorating tip. Add some blue frosting to the bag. Pipe two circles for the eyes.

14. Prep another plastic bag by attaching a #3 decorating tip. Add some black frosting to the bag. Pipe two black dots on the eyes. Pipe two white dots onto the eyes.

Lightening McQueen's face

15. Glue the round piece of white fondant on the top of the car. Using the black frosting bag, pipe a number 95 on it.

Lightening McQueen cake, #95

16. Prep another plastic bag by attaching a #3 decorating tip. Add some blue frosting to the bag. Pipe five straight lines going down the back of the air dam.

Lightening McQueen cake, blue stripes

17. Prep another plastic bag by attaching a #12 decorating tip. Add some red frosting to the bag. Pipe some frosting into the center of the donuts for the wheel axles.


360° Views

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

Lightening McQueen cake

[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]

[Disclosure: This blog earns a few cents on items purchased through the Amazon.com links in posts.]

Comments

    • Jenn says

      Wish me luck. I’ve been gearing up to make this cake for about two months. I’ve gone back and forth a million times about if I could pull it off. Well the time has come and I’ve given myself the last pep talk. I’ll let you know how it goes! Yikes!!!!!!

  1. says

    Wow! That is truly an amazing piece of work!
    I’ve just chanced upon your site and I am sooooooo jealous of your talents! Your kids must be so thrilled and proud…

  2. says

    my god andrea… do you ship to the uk too? it’s max’s 4th birthday on ny eve and he adores lmq – i have never made fondant icing before, let alone decorated such an elaborate cake – is it worth the effort? will he forever love me for it? or will he have forgotten the day after?
    how many days did you spend on this, wonderwoman???

  3. says

    Hey Johanna! Our boys loved the cake. Seriously. They still talk about it. The project took us about half a day total, though we split it up. I would recommend making the cakes, buttercream, and fondant the day or night before you plan to decorate. There isn’t much fondant on the cake, just the white details and the Rusteeze label; all the rest is buttercream. Decorating was fairly easy, just time consuming. Michael started late one evening and worked on it until 2 am. If we were professionals, we could probably do it a lot faster! :-)

  4. Terri says

    Andrea,
    Thanks for the detailed instructions and great pics! I can’t wait to try this for my son’s 4th birthday party in a few weeks!

  5. Mel Field says

    Andrea, I just fell over your site searching for a Lightening McQueen picture to start and plan my sons 3rd birthday cake. I am very much into making fancy cakes for his birthday – age 1 was a very gorgeous Pooh Bear and age 2 was Bob the Builder. Thank you so much for putting all of this info on the net – it will make my task a lot easier than I thought it would be.

  6. alana says

    Hi guys,
    I am so pleased i found this site your cake is great. My son loves lightening and hopefully this cake will make his day{thats if it turns out as good as yours. Thanks for the great instructions.

  7. Kati says

    I just love your cake and was planning my son’s 2nd birthday trying to fiqure out how to make a “cars” cake… this makes it so much easier…. However I think on my trial i will try fondant as I have wanted to for years!!! So thank you SOOOOO much for all the directions and pictures to help…. also just in case anyone else needed a little help… if fondant icing is just too intimidating Wilton actually sells it in packages…. I am sure the taste isn’t great but for the really small amounts it shouldn’t be a problem and it really isn’t that expensive…. just a local craft store like Michaels would have it….

    Thanks for the help!!!

  8. Sarah says

    Andrea & Michael, I came accross your site looking for ideas for my son’s 2nd birthday..he is CARS mad & that’s putting it mildly! Am going to try and attempt your cake and hope it turns out remotely as good. In the past I’ve made bob the builder, blues clues, spiderman, transformer, lego and castle cakes for my older son, but this will be quite adventurous, even for me. I love what you both have done, so very creative. Thanks for the detailed instructions. I will have to make do with the limited supplies we get in Qatar. Thanks!!

  9. Lisa says

    I made this cake yesterday for my son’s 3rd birthday tomorrow and it looks awesome, he is going to love it…thank you so much for you instructions…you have made me so popular….THANK YOU THANK YOU

  10. lydia says

    thank you soooooooo much i was looking for such a long time to find a good lightning mqueen cake for my son’s 3 rd bday. all i kept running into was those store bought flat sheet style. but i always try to make something unique for the kids b day cakes. this is just great!!!!! i’m trying it tomorrow thak you again

  11. DONIELLE says

    ANDREA, I CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE THIS AWESOME MCQUEEN CAKE FOR MY SOON TO BE 3YEAR OLD!!! I WILL BE IN TOUCH TO REPORT MY RESULTS. THANKS FOR THE RECIPE!!!!

    THANK YOU
    DONIELLE

  12. Karm says

    Hi Andrea and Michael. You two are great! Thanks for all the fabulous instructions. Just finished making mr. Mqueen and he turned out excellent. Couldnt have done it with out your outrageous instructions. A million thanks! Karm (british columbia, canada)

  13. Joan Meyer says

    Got a phone call this morning 24/07/08 ‘ Joanie please would you make Alex (3 year old grandson) a Lightening McQueen birthday cake.?’…….NOT REVEALING MY HORROR AT EVEN ATTEMPTING IT I AGREED………… came straight to my computer to see if I could find a picture of the said car and found your website with pictures, recipes et al……… what a life saver . I just know he is going to be delighted with it. Thank you so much. I hope you do not mind me getting a few compliments!!! Will reveal the secret later.
    Joanie in Johannesburg South Africa

  14. Tiffany says

    Andrea! As everyone else has said, this cake is just genius! Im so grateful to have stumbled upon your website – my son is going to love it! Birthday party is in 11 days and I’m soo looking forward to trying this ‘looks hard to do’ cake with your easy instructions!! I have one question, you used three cakes, what is your opinion on using just two 9×13 cakes as far as appearance and number of servings go?
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this in such detail! You have helped the lives of many loving moms and eager boys!

  15. christy says

    I came across this site looking for lightening mcqueen for my friends 4 year old son and love the way you put the step by step instructions. Your cake looked awesome and I bet the boys loved it. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  16. says

    Hi Tiffany! According to Wilton, a 2-layer 9×13 cake will yield up to 45 servings cutting in a 9×5 grid (these would be rather small servings, I think). Since a good portion of the top layer is cut away in the Lightening McQueen pattern, you need to allow for that. I think up to 20 decent-sized servings is a reasonable expectation.

  17. Shirley says

    Hi there, I have a question about the cake… Wondering if the window part of the car is part of the third layer or is the window attached on top of the third layer.

  18. says

    Hi Shirley! My husband carved it so that the windows are actually part of the third layer. It is not a separate piece that rests on top. Hope this helps!

  19. Toni says

    Hi Andrea,
    I have been spending the afternoon making the cakes from your recipe and they smelt absolutly devine and so far looking good. I am attacking the icing side of it tomorrow night so hopefully it will look as good as yours has.
    I thank you for putting this up as there were no other pictures or recipes for a lightning McQueen cake and this was the exact idea i had in mind for my sons 2nd birthday.
    I will let you know how i get on with the icing.
    Thank you once again

  20. Annabelle says

    andrea,
    back in september i used your husbands design for the little einstiens rocket cake. it turned out great and now i am making a lightning mcqueen cake and i am curious why the frosting recipe is different for this cake?
    Annabelle

  21. says

    Hi Annabelle. As I explained above, this frosting recipe is one we decided to try and found that we liked better. The difference between the two recipes is the use of butter and cream in this one and shortening in the other. We’ve found that we prefer the flavor of this buttercream frosting, but it tends to get overly soft and even run in hot humid weather. So we now use this buttercream recipe when the weather is cool and dry, and the other one in the summertime when the frosting is more likely to run.

  22. Suzanne says

    I TOTALLY love you Lightening McQueen cake!! I had pretty much the same idea and I can wait to try your ideas !! Now I just have to be pacient enough to wait until March to make it!! LOL !
    PS: the fact that your hubby did the decorating is AWESOME!!

  23. susan says

    Andrea,
    Thank you so much for your details with this cake. I used almost everything you sugested to make a cake for my son for his birthday tomorrow. He wanted storm lightening so it was blue. But the mesurements were so acurrate. I have never made a cake before for my family and you really made it so nice for me. Thank you again. This is the one thing he really wanted.

  24. Andrea says

    Andrea, I am so excited this will be the second one of your cakes I am attempting the first being Rocket I am so impressed by the creativness of your cakes the doughnuts are an awesome touch. I am going to make this for my sons forth Birthday for sure.. He is going to be so excited although I am not sure he will let us cut into it.. hahaha have a wonderful day and thank you…

  25. Ashley says

    OMG!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I have been searching your site!!! A step-by-step how to Mcqueen cake! Its my sons 2nd birthday in 2 weeks and loves “bean” he calls him!! He is going to be the happiest 2 year old EVER!!!!
    Thanks again you’re a God-send!!

  26. Betty says

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I plan on using this cake and frosting recipe (well, with cocoa powder added to the frosting) to make a bunny cake for Easter – I’ve never carved a cake before, so I wanted to be sure to make something tasty and suitable for carving. Some of the recipes I had found looked great, but I feared they would be too crumbly. Now I can relax a bit ;o)

  27. Betty says

    Little update – I made the cakes today, and oh WOW is it ever delicious! One batch was enough for one layer and a dozen cupcakes (I’m going to use the layer to make the Betty Crocker bunny, and the cupcakes will become bee hives with little candy bees). I find yellow cake to be even tastier than white, that little hint of egginess just adds so much! Thanks again :o)

  28. Donne (South Africa) says

    Thank you Andrea for the awesome instructions on the Mcqueen cake. I did the cake for my son’s 2nd birthday last month. It was a raving success. In South Africa we don’t get all the goodies you used, but I could find substitutes where necessary. Keep up the good work! Nice to know that there are mommies with similar interests ;-)

  29. Amber says

    i was just wondering if it would be okay to make the cakes ahead of time and freeze them until ready to use?

  30. Maureen says

    Dear Andrea,
    Thank you for the insturctions! I wanted to make a Lightning McQueen cake and found your posting. I did make some shortcuts by using 3 Pilsbury cake mixes (on sale for $1 each) and I used all icing instead of fondant…but it turned out really well. Also I used toothpicks to secure the graham cracker and small chocolate covered donuts for wheels as my cake did not get enough height for the regular sized donuts. Your ideas to create the LM cake really was a big hit and worth all the work. My son’s 3rd b-day was great and he loved the cake. As I posted on FB…hours to make and minutes to eat…but so worth it:-)
    Sincerely,
    Maureen

  31. Marie Ketchum says

    I have a friend who is a cake maker making a copy of this cake for my 3 year old’s birthday this week. I want to pay her for it, and I want to know what a cake like this costs. I’m afraid since she’s a friend she will low ball the price, so any pricing info would be helpful!

  32. Dani Wilson says

    Thanks so much for the easy to follow, clear instructions. Absolutely LOVE the fondant recipe. My nephew is turning 4 tomorrow and has been obsessed with Cars ever since he first saw it, so he’s going to adore his cake.

  33. Kari says

    Andrea! This cake is amazing! I’ve only tried making one fun cake before – a simple drum for my son’s 3rd birthday. Even that was a struggle for me. Am I biting off more than I can chew by trying to make this cake? My son is in love with Lightning McQ and I’d love to surprise him with this. The last cake I made was with boxed cake mixes and it was so crumbly it was really hard to cut. I also had trouble removing it from the pan all in one piece. Do you think using your cake recipe rather than a boxed one will make much difference?
    Thanks so much for your time!
    Kari

    • says

      Hi Kari. The texture of cakes made from boxed mixes is typically too light for carving and we’ve not had good luck with them, which is why we use the America’s Test Kitchen cake recipe. It hold its shape well when carving. The good think about Lightning McQueen is it’s pretty much a rectangle with a little shaving for the windows and the front end, then carving out the holes for the donut wheels. I hope your son enjoys it!

  34. Maya Perez says

    Hi, your cake looks amazing! I must say the thought of making a Lightning McQueen cake for my 4 year old is a bit daunting seeing as my previous attempts of birthday cakes were not great. My main issue is the frosting- I just cannot get it right! I might resort to fondant instead of frosting, but have never used it before and I’m not sure if the flavour will be right. 2 questions:
    1) I see that while you did your frosting you had the cake on a layer of wax paper. How did you remove the paper later on? How do you make sure that the board the cake is presented on stays clean?
    2) Do you by any chance have a non-dairy butter cream frosting recipe?

    Thanks so much, I’m really inspired!
    Maya (South Africa)

  35. Chady says

    Hi,

    I made this cake last night for my girlfriend’s 30th birthday(a trial run for my son’s 3rd birthday next month.)However, I am having a hard time finding the larger sized chocolate donuts. I have found the “mini’s” but cant seem to find the regular sized ones. Do you happen to remember the brand or where I might find these?? Thanks so much!! I will send a picture of both cakes soon!!

    • says

      Hi Chady. We found Entenmann’s chocolate donuts at our local grocery store, and they worked perfect. They make two sizes of the chocolate donuts. We look forward to seeing your finished cake!

  36. Elizabeth says

    I have looked all over for instructions I could actually follow to make a 3-D Lighting cake. All of them had trouble keeping the spoiler on. Great idea to use Graham Crackers, and great tips on using homemade cake (which I like better anyway)! I’m using a recipe for a homemade chocolate cake my mom always made which is a little more dense. My husband will also be doing any of the artistic detailing. Wish us luck!

  37. Cris Gallegos says

    please write the recipe in spanish for me… my son birthday is a december 7, please send me you recipe in spanish.. soo thanks!!

  38. heather says

    hi i just came across ur post and my boyfriend and i love it we were just discussing how we should make our sons 3rd bday april 30th cake he loves lightning we r going to attempt to make yours hope it turns out as good and yummy looking as urs did thanks for the details and inspiration
    sincerly heather

  39. Christina says

    am so glad i re-found this site!! I used this tutorial (THANK YOU SO MUCH!) for my son’s 3rd birthday Cars party about 3 years ago, and the cake turned out SO cute!! I got so many compliments on it. Thank you for making the step by step instructions so easy to follow!! here’s a link ot the picture of the one I made! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.118198921836.112346.600601836&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=118199971836&set=a.118198921836.112346.600601836&type=3&theater

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