For my nephews 2nd birthday, I wanted to give him something besides the normal everyday gift. It took a while, but 2 days before his party, I decided to “make” him a Lightning McQueen cake (his favorite character). I was pretty good at doing “cupcake ” themes, so I figured it couldn’t be too hard. Boy was I wrong! I had no clue. Looking at my baking materials, I realized I had made a big mistake, but there was no turning back now.

The day before the party, I browsed  through magazines and the Internet looking for anything that had to do with Lightning McQueen. It didn’t help, so I went to bed, tossing and turning all night. I finally got up at 7:00am, the day of  the party. Still unsure of everything, I began the stressful, yet self gratifying task anyway. I started by baking a 9×13 chocolate cake. While that cooled, I made various shapes and sizes of cactus and rocks, all made from fondant and food coloring. By now the cake was cool, not knowing what to do with it, I cut it into pieces and thought of it as a 3D puzzle, putting pieces together til it looked like a car, so far, so good.

I then rolled out a big chunk of red fondant and gently placed it over the cake. Using my fingers, I smoothed and sculpted til it was the shape I wanted. Now it looked like a car. Patting myself on the back for not giving up, I continued to make the decals for the car, I even put a couple of personalized touches to them, instead of writing Rust-eze ( with edible marker) on the hood decal, I wrote my nephew’s name Pierce. I also made the number 2, representing his 2nd birthday of course. Last but not least, I made the wheels. I took 4 pieces of fondant and using the lid to a spice bottle, cut out the wheels. I brushed black edible paint to color them.

All the parts were done, now I just had to add them to the car, I used icing for glue. With time to spare before the party, I crushed up some graham crackers to use as sand. Thanking my lucky stars that it all worked out, I arranged the car, cactus and rocks on the platter with the graham cracker sand. Done! and it only took 7 hours, Hah! piece of cake, I said to myself while wiping the sweat from my brow. I headed to the party with my gift, didn’t even bother to dress up because I was too excited. Everyone love it, I even got a request for another cake. I kinda felt like they weren’t surprised at all about how awesome the cake looked, they knew I could do it all along.

My brother (Pierce’s father) liked the cake so much that he didn’t even want to cut it, so I scooped out the inside, leaving just the shell of the car. To this day it sit’s proudly on their fireplace mantel. My nephew in now 3 years old…but that’s another cake story.