Cars Cake

The movie Cars and Cars 2 is very popular with young boys. I’ve made several Lightning McQueen cakes over the years, so I was really excited when Jonathan’s mom wanted a more general Cars cake. It gave me the the opportunity to do something a little bit different.

Are you interested in making your own Cars cake? Start with a design sketch. Your design conveys your ideas to your customer but it is also great for honing down the steps that you’ll need to follow. I was thrilled when Sandy liked my very first idea! She was very forgiving of my rough sketch, somehow trusting that it would look fantastic in frosting.

At this point I knew that the Piston Cup would require an airbrush and gum paste with some support. I also realized that I could either model cars or have the family buy cars as a birthday present for Jonathan.

Before you begin decorating you’ll need to bake your favorite cake recipe. This cake is a 10″ cake, so make sure to properly size your recipe to make enough batter for the pans. A 10″ pan typically takes 1 1/2 recipes of cake. Prepare your frosting and then fill and crumb coat the cake. I used sky blue as a base coat for the cake after the crumb coating layer.  After you apply your base coat of frosting to your cake it is time to start decorating!


  1. You’ll need a 10″ parchment round. Roll out black fondant to completely cover the 10″ parchment round. Then, cut away the middle of the circle so that you are left with a road for the top of the cake. Transfer this parchment paper and fondant to a rimless baking sheet. Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes. After the time in the freezer, remove the fondant carefully from the parchment paper. It will be cold and easy to transfer. Gently lay on top of your frosted cake.
  2. Begin adornments. For the Jonathan piece you’ll need red and gray fondant, silver luster dust and a black edible marker. Roll out your gray fondant into a rope and gently form into a V shape. Roll your red fondant out and cut with a knife. Using a dry watercolor brush, use the silver luster dust to gently paint the gray fondant. Now write the name of the birthday party child on the red fondant. Lay the red fondant on top of the silver and set aside.
  3. Begin the Piston Cup. You’ll need a circle cutter, a lily flower former, a drinking straw and a small sharp knife. First roll out a thick base of colored gum paste and use a circle cutter to cut it out. Next, cut your drinking straw to the size you wish, about 2 inches and wrap around the straw. Roll this until it is thick enough and feel sturdy taking care to leave about 1/4 inch of exposed straw on the top and bottom. Stick the pillar part into the base. Now, roll the gum paste a bit thinner for the cup. Wrap around a lily former to dry and use a circle cutter to cut off excess. Secure the cup to the base, using keeping the lily former until it hardens just a little bit. Next cut out “wings” for the cup and attach them to the sides. Allow to dry until hardened. Use an airbrush, gold leaf mixed with spirits, or a spray can to paint the Piston Cup with edible gold. Allow to dry.
  4. Make the bottom border. Roll out white and black fondant and cut into small squares. Alternate the squares around the bottom of the cake. Use a flower cutter to cut out clouds. You will need your knife to cut out carefully around. You may also use frosting for your clouds. Place your center emblem on the cake.
  5. Embellish. Use a grass tip to frost the center and sides of the road to look like grass. Add a few bits of grass around the bottom as well. Use white fondant to form the white stripes in the road and place the Cars on the road with sugar glue or frosting. Sandy and I chose real cars for Jonathan. It was a nice birthday present for him, and well let’s be honest, it saved me from sculpting 6 realistic looking miniature cars! Secure the Piston Cup to the cake. You may simply place it on top, or if you have a skinnier straw or skewer you can run that through the center of the support straw. I did the latter and it remained well secured to the cake on a 30 minute delivery drive.

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