Our son has loved the Cars movie for a long time, and is completely in love with McQueen, Mater, and all of the crew. So the choice for his 3rd birthday was obvious - I knew he'd LOVE a McQueen cake, and he did!!
Before I started, I had a look on this website and was inspired by a few really cool McQueen cakes - so glad that I looked! I used a Weight Watchers chocolate cake recipe (just because it's reeeally delicious!) for the cake, chocolate butter cream to stick it together, and marzipan fondant to cover it. As inspiration, I used my son's McQueen toy cars.
First, I baked a slab cake, sitting the layers on top of each other. It was 3 layers high at the highest point. Then I carved it up, dampened it with sugar water, and covered it with the fondant. I made the wheels separately - they were circles of cake, also covered in fondant. Then I wrapped straps of licorice around them, because I live in the Czech Republic and CANNOT find any sort of black food coloring here! The black parts of the eyes are also licorice.
For the windows and windscreen, I partly-covered the cake with white fondant first, so that I could cut out sections of the red to show the white underneath. It was quite easy. I enjoyed the challenge of kneading the red and yellow to make the shaded lightening streak and the 95 numbers. That wasn't too hard, either. Then I just cut them out with nail scissors, copying the shape of my pre-cut paper versions. Then I was running out of time in the end, so the piped details are a bit rough (I used royal icing).
I like to have nice-looking boards, so I made a racing flag by sticking cut-up black paper squares onto a white paper background. Then I covered it all in a heavy plastic which we had laying around. This provided a good, hygienic "separator" between the cake and the board.
And the last detail was a number 3, since it was our son's 3rd birthday! I used stiff royal icing to pipe the outline, then thinned the royal icing down a bit with water (so that when you run a knife through it, the line disappears after a few seconds). I colored it orange, and filled out the number 3.
And guess what happened? My husband filmed me carrying it out to our son, but forgot to actually press the button to start filming! So we had to do a take 2! And our son's reaction? TOTALLY LOVED THE CAKE!!