Thursday 12 February 2015

How to Decorate a Car Cake {Tutorial}

A bright and cheerful cake for a toddler who loves cars!

I began with a few sketches of the cake that was wanted. One was simpler, with a plain white background, red, blue and green cars, and brightly coloured bunting. Another was more complicated with cars on two levels and a bridge. This one was the favourite, so it was time to turn it into reality.

This cake has three layers of soft yellow sponge, filled with yummy chocolate buttercream and covered in milk/plain chocolate ganache and white fondant.

This is what you will need to decorate this cake:

I mixed all the different colours of fondant myself (the blue pack under the other colours is white fondant). I find it much cheaper to buy white fondant in bulk, then colour it myself. The only exception is black. It will either buy black fondant, or airbrush it. The black fondant I used on this cake was left over from a previous cake.

Click on the image to download the template pdf. Template scale is for a 4" tall cake.

I covered the cake drum with white fondant a few days before decorating the cake, so that it could set nice and hard. Airbrush the outside edge of the fondant with black edible colour (don't worry about painting the area the cake covers). If you don't have an airbrush, you can cover the drum with black fondant.

Next, prepare the cake for airbrushing. (Again, if you don't have an airbrush, just cover the cake with blue fondant, then add white fondant clouds). Use the template above to cut out cloud shapes out of baking paper. Rub the back of the baking paper clouds with vegetable fat, getting it right up to all the edges of the templates, then carefully adhere them to the top of the cake. Be careful not to get any fat on the rest of the cake as it will stop the airbrush colour from being absorbed by the fondant.

Airbrush the whole cake with sky blue edible airbrush colour. Be careful around the edges of the clouds, make sure they are stuck down well at all times.

Paint with thin even layers, building the colour up until you get a nice solid colour.

Peel away the cloud templates to reveal the pure white clouds beneath. The fat left on the clouds will be absorbed by the fondant and leave a mat finish.

Once the colour has set, transfer the cake onto the painted cake board, sticking it on with a bit of ganache or buttercream.

Use templates to cut tress out of light green fondant, rolled out to about 2mm thick. You can just cut out the printed paper temples to use for the rest of the cake (I hadn't made the print out yet when I made the cake).

Gently rub the edges of cut-out pieces to give them a smooth even finish.

Stick the trees to the cake with a bit of water or edible glue. The tops of the trees should just meet the top of the cake.

Cut tree trunks from dark brown fondant, rolled out to 2mm thick.

Stick to the cake with water or edible glue, so that the trunks touch the cake board (if they are a little bit too long, just cut the bottom shorter).

Paint branch details on with a fine paint brush and dark brown gel food colour.

Roll dark green fondant out to 2mm thick, cut out bushes and apply to the cake - these form the border around the bottom of the cake.

Overlap the bushes to add dimension.

Next roll out the red fondant to 5mm thick.

Cut out the car, ignoring the wheels for now.

Use a circle cutter to cut out spaces for the wheels. Use the same cutter to cut wheels out of 5mm thick black fondant.

Attach the wheels to the cake. Use the screw top of a coupler make an impression on the wheels.

Paint the centre of the wheels with silver cluster dust mixed with rejuvenator fluid or flavoured essence.

Repeat to make multiple cars with red and yellow fondant. Attach them to the cake with edible glue or water. There will be a gap behind the cars in places because of the raised details behind them, this is fine and gives great dimension, just make sure the cars are securely attached to the cake.

Cut little strips of white fondant and attach them to the cake board to make the road markings.

Finally, add a coordinating ribbon to the drum. A name, age and/or message can also be added to the top of the cake.


  1. Thank you! That was a great post! What great inspiration. :-)

  2. Love it!! Thankyou for posting xx.

  3. Thanks
    Will try it for my sons 2nd birthday

  4. how tall was your cake??? and car size? i love it

    1. The cake was 4 inches tall. I can't remember the size of the car, but I have provided a free template which you can print off, above.

  5. thank you gonna make this for my babys birthday this 13....

    1. Wonderful! I'd love to see the final result xx

  6. sure.....will send you pic

  7. can i make this with little bit thin fondant?? my family actually likes thin....and im planning to make it night before and refrigerate my cake in cardboard box....will it affect the fondant?

    1. You can make the fondant thinner, as long as you are confident you can cover the cake successfully.
      I never put fondant covered cakes in the fridge, as they get covered in condensation when you take them out again and that can completely ruin the fondant. As long as you are not putting anything like fresh cream in the cake, it will be absolutely fine to leave out of the fridge overnight. If you do decide to put it in the fridge, I have read that taping the box closed, so that it is well sealed, before you put it in the fridge, then leaving the cake in the box, once removed from the fridge, until it reaches room temperature, you can reduce the amount of condensation.

  8. Highly energetic blog, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2?

  9. Great post, this blog is awesome. Thanks for give us an idea.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Thanks so much for this beautiful cake. I just made it today for my sons birthday and he loved it.

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