My son was turning 4 and I was adamant to make him a great birthday cake. For his previous birthdays I was very ambitious but never managed to get it right. The icing was always my biggest challenge and would make the cake look less than perfect in my eyes.

My friend who bakes a lot introduced me to the wonderful world of bought fondant and I was fixed on this idea for the cake. I spent many hours on the internet looking for ideas on how to make a Lightning McQueen Birthday Cake, icing tips, videos on how to ice and roll the fondant.

I baked 3 rectangular cakes from locally bought vanilla cake mix. I froze each cake wrapped in cling film and foil (this apparently preserves the moisture). I placed the 3 cakes on top of each other using a creamy frosting to hold them together. Then from the top layer I cut away the shape of the top of the car and then shaped the sides of the car.

Next I frosted the whole outside of the car (a crumb frosting) to stick the loose crumbs down and to act as an adhesive for the fondant.

I then coloured the fondant with red gel colouring. Gel colouring gives a much more intense colour. (Warning: wear gloves when mixing the colour into the fondant! My hands were red for days after!) I needed help from another person to lift the fondant over the cake. Check youtube for tips on how to make a neat finish around the cake.

I used fondant for the decorations as well. I drew the shapes onto wax paper and placed the paper onto the rolled out fondant. I traced over the shape with a knife and then when I lifted the paper I was able to cut out the shapes. I needed to wet the back of the decorated pieces to make them stick.

The tail of the car was made of thick cardboard covered in fondant. I used bamboo skewers to prop the tail up. The wheels were made from plain round tea biscuits covered in black fondant.

This cake took almost a whole day of decorating but was well worth the effort! I had such fun, was so proud of myself and my son told me at the party that he didn’t want anyone to eat the cake because he wanted to keep it!