I wasn’t too sure about how to make a race car cake for my son’s 6 year old birthday party, which was being held at an arcade with a big slot car race track, and debated for a long time about just using a form pan. In the end, I decided to wing it. The cake kind of came together as I went along, and involved 3 trips to the grocery store as I figured out what sort of ingredients I needed to create the cake. For only spending a couple of hours planning, baking, and decorating, I was pleased with the results.

The best tip I got after looking through the coolest-birthday-cakes.com website was to bake the cake so it came out slanted. Instead of spreading the batter evenly, I poured most of it at one end to give the cake a slope. I cut thin symmetrical triangles out of the sides of the cake, leaving a long thin rectangle at the front of the cake to represent a front wing. I trimmed the triangles so they stacked at the back of the cake. I used chocolate donuts for the back wheels, and Little Debbie Cocoa Cremes as front wheels. (Hostess donettes would have been perfect, if they were still available!)

My husband wanted to use extra pretzel rods to show more realistic suspension connecting the front wheels to the cake, but I didn’t think 6 year old’s would be too concerned about those details. A York Peppermint Patty was used as the steering wheel. For the “helmet”, I used half of a plastic Easter egg since they were laying around for the following day’s egg hunt. (I would have preferred to use something edible.)

The rear wing was made using frosted graham crackers perched precariously on top of 6 pretzel rods and 1/2 of a cracker. More thought might have resulted in a more stable wing, which would have been helpful on the 1/2 hour drive to the party place! Luckily we were able to rebalance the crackers, and the kids were none the wiser.

I really wanted to do more decorating, but stayed simple with a row of M&Ms across the front wing and gel icing pinstripes and the number 6 on the top and sides. Sometimes, less is more!