Lightning McQueen Birthday Cake

OK, so here is a confession, I love to make birthday cakes.  This is such an obsession that I actively encourage my children’s belief that we have to have cake when ANYONE we know is having a birthday (even if they are far, far away, across an ocean).  As you can imagine I get to make cake quite often.  The thing is, I rarely ice the cakes we make, if I do, I’ll do a vanilla butter cream icing.

When one of Maxi’s friends was going to turn 4, I jumped at the chance, and offered to make the cake. It was requested that it could be a chocolate cake, as the birthday boy wasn’t really a fan of anything else. I suggested I’d make it in the shape of Lightning McQueen and it was agreed.

The only problem is that I am REALLY fussy when it comes to chocolate cake.  Between you and me; I am not a fan; chocolate cake can be dry, and to be honest quite dull.  If it is to be chocolate, it better be moist, dense and truly unctuous.

So I began a search for a recipe, and stumbled upon this James Martin Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe.

Now I could re-write the recipe here, but to be honest it’s fab, really easy to follow and makes the most delicious dense cake imaginable.  So much so, I though it’d be a bit of a waste on a bunch of toddlers, but I knew that with toddlers come a gaggle of yummy mummies who deserve a great piece of cake.

I made two batches of this cake in a rectangle tin, one at a time as I only have one tin, which did take a while, as the cake needs 55 minutes to cook, but worth it all the way.  I also used crème fraiche rather than soured cream (though admittedly they are essentially the same ingredient) why did I do this, simple that’s what I had in the house. It worked a treat.  The cake mix is more of a batter than a cake mix, but even making it, you can tell the cake will be moist and dense (am I repeating myself, this is truly a great cake recipe)

So to the icing, I first sandwiched the two layers with chocolate butter cream icing, I used melted chocolate rather than coca powder, and made about 225g butter, 450g icing sugar and 75g melted chocolate.

Then I shaped the cake, not as well as I’d do it next time, but I made it look like a car, then covered the cake with the remainder of the butter cream icing, ready for the red fondant.

I hate covering cake with fondant, I usually make such a mess (and this did take at least two attempts to roll out) but I am getting better.  I now colour my own fondant, though am yet to attempt to make it myself.  Rolling it out, is always a challenge, I always worry that using too much icing sugar to stop it sticking will affect the colour, but it didn’t.

With this base, I was able to sculpt the windows, tyres, eyes, mouth, lightning flashes, bonnet and glittery name on the top.

Now in hind-site I would have drawn the lightning swishes on greaseproof paper and used that as a template to cut them out, but it was about half past midnight when I was shaping them, and I was starting to get impatient… I decided to go with the Cars 2 livery (that is to say the piston cup on his bonnet rather than the rusteze logo) and to put Sam’s name, on the top in glittery letters.  So here is how it ended up…