Posted on July 23, 2009
Filed Under Birthday cakes
I made a birthday cake last evening for my friend Renita’s 6-yr-old son, Jordan. His birthday is TODAY! The cake is a Lightning McQueen cake. I was thinking of updating as I make it, but decided not to this time. (That way, I don’t get icing all over my mouse and keyboard. ???? Just kidding, I have to wash my hands to handle my camera anyway.)
Here’s a list of what all I used:
–chocolate cake mix
–store-bought white fondant ($6 at Walmart)
–red, black, yellow, and blue food coloring paste
–buttercream icing (recipe featured in this post, you’ll need to scroll down a little)
–graham cracker crumbs
–small piece of thin cardboard
–small bamboo skewer
It’s all very common/inexpensive things, no molds or anything, so I hope that after you see this cake being made, you can see how easy it is to do one yourself.
I started by baking a 9×13 chocolate cake, cooled it and froze it (easier to carve that way), then cut out a section about 11×7 and placed it on the cake board. By the way, the cake board is a piece of foam board cut in half, stacked, and covered with tin foil. Renita gave me that little car to look off of. Very helpful!!!!
It took awhile to get the fondant red. See that little can of red paste? It was brand new and I used at least 3/4 of it! This is when I was starting to mix it…
And then I never got a picture of it after it was red. *rolleyes* The way to mix it is to pull it, twist it, knead it, and whatever till it’s all uniformly colored. It’s easy to do swirly designs with fondant too!
Ok, now the carving starts. I took another smaller piece and stacked it on top for the cab. Is it called a cab when it’s a race car? I can’t think of what else to call it. Anyway, the part inside where you sit. This doesn’t look too promising so far, does it?
Ah, but frosting helps SO much and covers lots of imperfections! Not to imply that there are no imperfections here!!! But at least it looks like now it actually has a chance of becoming a race car.
Now we roll out the red fondant. By the way, whenever you do cakes, please use concentrated paste, NOT liquid food coloring. Concentrated paste makes the end result such true vivid colors. Sprinkle the table with plenty of powdered sugar. Flatten the fondant a bit and sprinkle powdered sugar on it too, then simply roll it out like you would a pie crust.
To pick up the fondant, I rolled it around the rolling pin, then unrolled it off of the rolling pin over the car.
Kinda blurry, but you get the idea. There was a powdered sugar issue because it was really sugary on the bottom and then when I rolled it up onto the rolling pin, it got sugary on part of the top. I thought, “Oh no! Now what?!” because when I tried to brush it off, it didn’t want to come off!
By patting and tucking, fit the fondant to the shape of the cake. Then, trim off the excess.
Roll out some white fondant and cut out the windows and the smile. To cut the fondant, I used either a sharp knife, a scissors, or a pastry cutter, whichever seemed like it would work the best for what I was cutting. Pieces of fondant don’t automatically stick… you need to wet the back with water a little bit first, then they’ll stick.
By the way, remember all that powdered sugar that was on the red when I first put the fondant over the car? The problem took care of itself… the sugar melted or something and dissolved into the fondant. I love when problems take care of themselves like that.
Now we’ve got eyes. I know, one is bigger than the other. Oh well. To make the eyes, I used a small (clean) painbrush and black and blue coloring paste and painted them on.
Now we’ve got wheels. They are made out of black and red fondant. To put them on, I cut into the fondant, icing, and cake, making a wheel-shaped hole, then tucked the wheels in. I thought it might add a little character to turn the front wheels to give it a ‘rarin-to-go’ look. ????
Now we have decals, ‘lettering’ on the tires, and headlights.
Now with the Rust-eze logo, the spoiler, a flag, and a racetrack, Lightning McQueen is DONE!
The track is rolled out black fondant. Everything here is completely edible except the bamboo skewer on the flag, a thin piece of cardboard inside the spoiler, the 2 toothpicks under the spoiler, and of course the candles. (The spoiler kept settling instead of staying at the proper angle, so I had to prop it up with toothpicks.)
Happy birthday, Jordan! Have fun being 6!
Edited to add: Several readers have been inspired to use these instructions and make a Lightning McQueen cake themselves! See their cakes here: Lightning McQueen cakes that readers have made They all did an awesome job! If you want to do it, I’d love to see your cake! Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add it to that post!!
Edited April 25, 2011: I just made another Lightning McQueen birthday cake last week. It’s posted here: Regan’s Lightning McQueen birthday cake.