A fun, easy-to-make Cars birthday cake! A black and white triple layer cake decorated with a silky smooth white chocolate buttercream, a Cars cake wrap, M&M’s, sprinkles, and a fun finish line banner.
My grandson turned 3 years old last month and he decided he wanted to have a Cars birthday party. My daughter asked if I would help her make a fun Cars cake for the party.
We talked about making a checkered cake to match the checkered flags on top, but decided to make a black and white triple layer cake instead so the cake was much easier to make.
I don’t make white cake very often, so I turned to the queen of fun cakes, Amanda, from I Am Baker, for advice on the perfect white cake. She loves the white cake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. So I adapted Cook’s recipe to make a single 9″ layer for the middle layer of the cake.
The layers are iced with a luscious, easy-to-work-with Whipped White Chocolate Buttercream frosting from Comfortably Domestic. I used one batch of the frosting to do two crumb coats on the cake to completely hide the black layer. Refrigerated the cake overnight, then the day of the party, I made an additional half batch of the frosting to do the final frosting layer. After the cake was frosted, then I added additional powdered sugar to the remainder of the half batch to pipe the bottom border.
We bought the Disney Cars Cake Wrap on Amazon. It’s an edible sugar sheet image that you wrap around the cake. You just peel if off a paper and wrap it around a freshly iced cake and it becomes part of the icing. We marked a line around the cake so it would go on straight. There was just a little gap in the back where the wrap was just a little too short, but no one seemed to notice.
My daughter printed the finish line banner on the computer and we hung it on wooden skewers. The top is decorated with M&Ms, star sprinkles, and Lightning McQueen and Mater. I piped the border at the bottom of the cake with a Wilton 1M star tip and then we crushed up some of the star sprinkles and sprinkled them on the border to tie it all together.
My grandson loved his special Cars cake, and I loved how easy it was to make. I made the layers from scratch, but you could use cake mixes.
Cars Birthday Cake – Single White Layer
- 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray; line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper round. Spray the paper rounds and sides of pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour.
In a small mixing bowl, combine milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract; set aside
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but 1/4 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Spread batter evenly in prepared cake pan. Bake 23 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean,
Let cake rest in the pan for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pan with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto a wire rack. Reinvert onto an additional wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
High altitude changes: I reduced the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons, used 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 cups whole milk + 1 tablespoon for high altitude.
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
If you’re looking for more birthday cake ideas, here’s the first two birthday cakes I made my grandson for his first two birthdays: