April 19, 2010

Speed Racer Mach 5 Cake

Speadracer Mach 5 Car Cake
A couple of years ago, I made a Speedracer Mach 5 Cake for my son, and since I now have a blogging platform to share the process, here are the pictures.

The year prior, I made my son a car shaped cake for his 4th birthday, and since, he has had his mind set on having another car cake.  I learned so much from attempting the last cake that I was ready to redeem myself, test my skills, and at least try to make a car that was recognizable =)

We had just bought a new digital camera and I accidentally erased ALL the pictures of his 4th birthday cake making process, as well as of his birthday party…Ahhh!  Thank you to Grandpa for capturing this photo and sharing it with us.  The Disney Cars Movie (released 2006) was at the time, very popular and my son's favorite movie.  He wanted a particular, yellow car for his cake.  And although I love a good challenge, I was in over my head.  It would have been the very first time I carved a cake and, only the 3rd time I had worked with fondant.  Let's do this, was my mantra!

I failed disastrously at even remotely coming close to resembling that yellow car, but my son absolutely loved it and was so happy to show all his friends his Cars cake.  I added some special details to personalize the car:  The tires were Oreo cookies wrapped with black fondant and carved with “happy birthday” around each tire wall, the license plate on the back had his birth date, and the front hood’s banner read “Sponsored by Andrew”.  I even propped the cake up an inch up off the cake board!  And yes, that is a baking tray the cake is sitting on – I didn’t know any better and never planned for what to put the cake on or how to even transport it =).  I have come a long way since!

Fast forward 1 year, and he really wanted another car cake.  I had one more attempt to getting this next one to actually look like a recognizable car, which the kids would know as the, Speedracer Mach 5.  But, it was such a challenge to make!  Wanting the cake to hold up and not crumble apart, I baked a pound cake.  It's firm and stable.  Two nights before the party, I baked the cake. The following day, I put the cake into the freezer for about 2 hours so that I would be nice, firm, and solid making it easier to carve into.

As you can see in the photo above, as I roughly carved out the outline of the cake using a picture of the car as a template.  This was done before finding stuff on the internet was a thing, so I actually used his little, 3-inch toy car, scanned it over a copy machine, enlarged it on the computer, then printed it out to use as a template over a 9x13 inch cake to carve it out exactly to scale - LOL! 

Once I had the outline carved out, I removed the paper stencil and continued to carve and shape the rest of the features; rounded corners, a recessed area in the middle of the cake for the car seats, etc. I then outlined the cake over a piece of parchment paper using an edible marker to use as a guide to cut the cake board that I later covered in foil.

I did such a great job with the buttercream, right?  Hah-Ha!  It was a bit sloppy but I was still learning.  I didn't have a clue how to smooth out buttercream around curves and crevasses! Once the cake was covered in buttercream, I rolled out the fondant and placed it over the car smoothing out all the features. The toughest part was getting the fondant around the pointed corners and into those deep crevices without it ripping!  

I had barely enough fondant to cover the cake with or to make the remaining details, so I tried patching the cake up as best as I could and hide the little rips, tears and dents along the body.  It bugged me to see those imperfections but I had to keep reminding myself, it's cake, the kids are not going to notice...right?

I had rummaged through my pantry looking for something to use to make the tires with and couldn't find anything that fit the bill.  I then remembered how Bakerella made cake pops and decided to try the same technique to make the tires. I had plenty of cake from all the carving so I mixed the left over pieces with buttercream, made ½ inch thick disks, and with a round cookie cutter, cut 4 perfectly sized and shaped tires.  It worked marvelously!  I covered these up with black fondant leaving the back side exposed (it was going up against the cake and no one was going to see that part).

I also made red and white cake toppers for cupcakes since I didn’t have a clue as to how many slices the cake would end up serving.   In this same photo, you can see the tires along the top of the tray drying upside down.

Half way through decorating the cake, I felt so frazzled with what I had gotten myself into that I called my younger brother for help.  He was so awesome, adding all the little details onto the cake (he’s just as meticulous as I). He used a single, white sprinkle for the shift knob - wasn't that ingenious!  He also cut fondant for the seats and engraved seams into the seats, made the dashboard with tiny racing gages, and added a steering wheel. For the windshield, I took a piece of clear, plastic off the window of a toy box and cut out the windshield shape. After we stuck it into the cake, we realized the fondant was too soft and the windshield kept trying to straighten itself out so we just removed the windshield, set it aside and waited to insert it into the cake the following morning after the fondant had a chance to dry. As for the rims on the tires, I used the letter “i” from a Wilton, metal alphabet cutter to stamp out a rim design then stamped an “A” in the middle of the rim for my son's first initial.

We propped the cake up over a little box wrapped up in the same foil as the board, placed the cake over it, and added the tires using some buttercream and toothpicks to help it stay in place.

Tip: I have since learned to not use toothpicks in cakes involving kids. I now use dry spaghetti…Works like a charm! It's a tip I picked up from making cute, Bento lunch boxes for my picky lil’eater.  I had to come up with cute ways for him to eat his food while in preschool.

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The cake board is covered in blue, Premium Floral Foil Wrapping Paper which is waterproof and greaseproof.  My mom introduced me to this since it has a plastic coating and does not rip easily.  Each roll is 2-sided (either with silver or gold on the other side) and they come in a variety of colors.

In the end, no one wanted to cut into the car, and they all went straight for the cupcakes saying the cake looked too good to eat.  Since I was not allowed to cut into cake, it ended up in the trash a couple days later...hope it was a sweet death, cake! Next time, I'M CUTTING the cake!  You just have to eat the cake!


  1. OMG!!! this is beautiful.....my son's birthday is just 15 days away and I wanted to make Mcqueen car cake, but after seeing this I changed my mind. Thank you so much for the step-by-step guide.


  3. I'm obsessed with Speed Racer. Hoping to make this for my birthday. Your's is the most broken down recipe I could find and by far the best looking. Thank you!