Lightning McQueen cupcakes inspired by Cars 3

I know everyone was excited to see Cars 3 this summer and watch Lightning Mcqueen kachow his way back into your heart. I love the Cars movies and I will watch even if they make 30 of them. I cried like a baby when I saw Cars 3 and I cant wait for it to come out on blu-ray later this year. So I wanted to share this cute Cars 3 cupcake recipe with everyone. They would be perfect for a movie viewing party or birthday!

These are so cute! I know it seems like a lot of instructions but they are very short and easy.


Ingredients for the icing transfers

2 egg whites

1 1/2 C powder sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tarter

1/2 tsp vanilla

five piping bags fitted with the number 2 tip

red, black, blue, and yellow food dye

Lightning McQueen’s eyes image from google

pen or pencil to trace the image

piece of white paper

Cookie sheet

parchment paper

5 bowls


Directions to make transfer

locate the image of Lightning McQueen’s eyes on google and print it out

Take your piece of paper and place on top of the image

Using a pen or pencil trace the image onto the white paper about 3-4 times 4 inches apart

Place the paper with the copies onto the cookie sheet

Fit a sheet of parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and tape the edges so that you have a smooth flat area

Using the standing mixer, combine the powder sugar, egg whites, cream of tarter and vanilla and mix on medium speed

if the royal icing is still a yellow soup, add in 1/2 C powder sugar

Continue to mix until you get stiff peaks

Evenly divide the icing into the five bowls,

Add a few red drops into the first bowl and mix until combined.

Add a few more drops to get the shade of red that you want

Add a few blue drops to the second bowl

Add a few yellow drops to the third bowl

Add a few black drops to the fourth bowl

Leave the white icing in the fifth bowl white

Scoop the icing colors into a piping bag

Using the black icing, outline the place lines on Lightning McQueen’s  eyes

Using the red icing, fill in the top part red

Using the white icing, fill in the bottom part white

Using the blue icing, add two blue dots for his eyes

Using the black icing again, add a dot into the center of the blue dot for his pupils

Using the yellow icing, below Lightning McQueen’s eyes on a empty space on the cookie sheet, pipe on 24 small yellow dots for his headlights

Using the black icing, pipe on 48 medium sized black circles for the tires

Set aside for 1 day to dry.


Makes 12 cupcakes 


1 box of french vanilla cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 C (1 stick) of softened unsalted sweet cream butter
1 C whole milk

1TBSP pure vanilla bean paste

cupcake liners

cupcake pan


Directions for cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with the liners

In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, butter, milk, and vanilla bean pasta and mix until combined

Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and fill about 3/4 of the way full

Bake in the oven for about 21 minutes

Pull out and place on the side to cool


Frosting Ingredients 

1 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
2 1/2 C powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3-5 TBSP heavy whipping cream
Red food coloring
medium star tip and pastry bag



Using a standing mixer, combine all ingredients except the food coloring into the bowl and mix on medium speed

If your frosting starts looking like powdery rocks, add another tablespoon of heavy whipping cream

Mix until you see creamy stiffed peaks

Separate the frosting into three bowls

Add red dye into the bowl and mix until combined

Add a few more drops in to get a bright red

Fit the star tip into the piping bag

Scoop the red frosting into the piping bag

Twist the top of the piping bag and squeeze the frosting down

Take your cooled cupcake and frosting the cupcake from the outer edge

Gently peel off Lightning McQueen’s eyes and place onto the top center of the cupcake

Add two yellow dots below his eyes, in the corner for the headlights

Add 4 black dots, 2 on each side, for tires

Author: Kat

Kat is a married mom of three kids aged 19, 11, and 8 that lives close to Birmingham, AL. She loves cats, books, cooking, hockey, and watching movies. She is an admitted nerd, comic book lover, action figure & barbie doll collector, blackjack dealer, beginner croupier, and all around queen of the dorks. You can reach her at [email protected] to talk about product reviews, press trips, sponsorships, or brand messaging.

23 thoughts on “Lightning McQueen cupcakes inspired by Cars 3”

  1. this is so cool. thanks for sharing the recipe for the icing transfer, i bet i can make all sorts of fun stuff now

  2. I’m from Italy and Cars 3 just hit the cinema, I’m so excited and can’t wait to see it…This recipe is very interesting, I think I’ll try to replicate it, but to achive your level I’ll have to practice a lot!

  3. These cupcakes look so cute, not to mention delicious. I love this series, have to see the 3rd installment.

  4. This is one of my favorite Pixar characters! This cupcake recipe looks simple enough for even I can do it. Thank you very much for sharing.

  5. My kids would go crazy over these cupcakes. They’d probably make theirselves sick by eating them. They wouldn’t stop at one.

  6. The cupcakes are so cute ! My grandson would love this although i am not so sure i could do this Thanks for the post

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