Racecar Cake!




My cousin Melinda recently turned eight (fun fact: she was only 4 minutes off from being born at 1:23 on 4/5/6), and my mother begged me to make a cake for her. She really loves racecars, or so my mother told me, so I decorated a cake that, when cut open, looked like a race flag.

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Step 1: Step 1: Ingredients and Tools

Ingredients for Cakes:

  • 1X Dark colored cake mix (I used dark chocolate)
  • 1X White cake mix
  • Liquid black food coloring
  • Vegetable Oil (enough for the two cake mixes)
  • Eggs (enough for the two cake mixes)
  • Water

Ingredients/ Supplies for Decorating:

  • 2X Jars of white frosting (I used Betty Crocker Whipped White Frosting, not pictured), or two bowls of homemade white frosting.
  • Liquid or gel black food coloring
  • Cars of some sort (I used hotwheels stickers, toothpicks, and wax paper)
  • Wilton #3 tip (optional)
  • Wilton #14 tip (optional)
  • Other food coloring colors (optional)
  • parchment paper (optional)


  • Measuring cups
  • Two large bowls
  • Spoon or Spatula
  • Wilton Checkerboard Cake Set OR a steady hand and ability to freehand circles with cake batter (easy, right?)
  • 3X 8-inch round cake pans
  • Non-stick spray
  • Scissors, if you decide to make a parchment paper icing bag (more on that later!)

Step 2: Step 2: Mix the Cake Mix

Mix the white cake mix according to the instructions on the back of the box (or, if you're fancy, make white cake mix according to your homemade recipe).

Pour the water required for the dark cake mix into a measuring cup. Add enough black food coloring that the water looks black (it was about 2 teaspoons for me).

Mix the dark cake mix according to the instructions on the back of the box (or your own instructions!), using the black water.

Step 3: Step 3: Get Creative/ or Use the Checkerboard Cake Pan Set

Spray your cake pans with non-stick spray, or use some other method of greasing.

Since I have a checkerboard cake pan set, I was able to use it to make my pattern. The end result are three bulls-eyes, one with a white center and two with black centers.

If you don't have the set, you can still make the pattern, but it may look a little funny. Here are the steps:

  1. Put a thin dollop of white cake batter in the middle of the pan.
  2. Surround the white cake batter with a ring of black cake batter.
  3. Fill out the circumference with white cake batter.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 about three or four times until the cake batter is about 0.5-0.75 inches deep (half the height of the pan).
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for a second pan, and then for a third with reversed colors (black in the middle, then white, then black)

DO NOT put a dollop of white, then a dollop of black on top, and then a dollop of white on top. It will end up looking like this but less colorful. It will definitely not look like a race flag :(

Once you've spooned out all the batter, bake the cakes according to the instructions on the back of the box. If the temperatures for the cakes are different, try baking them at the average temperature. You might notice that one of the colors expands more than the other (the white rose more than the black for mine), but it's not a big deal.

Once they've baked, let them cool for an hour before removing them from the pans.

Step 4: Step 4: Cut Off the Top!

Cut off the top of each cake so that the layers will stack more easily. They don't have to be perfectly horizontal, but getting rid of even a little bit helps.

Step 5: Step 5: Frost Your Cake!

Add some of the black food coloring to one of the cans of frosting (or to one of your bowls of frosting, if you made your own).

Take one of the two cake layers that match (black-white-black if you did it the way I did) and frost ONLY THE TOP by coloring inside the lines of the colors of the cake. Black frosting on the black parts and white frosting on the white parts.

Take the cake layer that's unique (white-black-white for me) and place it on top of the frosted layer. Frost ONLY THE TOP (not the sides!) in the same way, white frosting on white cake and black frosting on black cake.

Place the final cake layer upside-down on top of the frosted middle layer.

Once all the inside frosting has been completed, take a big glob of white frosting and spread it around the sides. Don't be stingy with the white frosting, and don't let the black layer of frosting contaminate it (if there is a danger of this, just use more frosting!). Smooth it out with the back edge of a bread knife or something similarly flat.

Step 6: Step 6: Decorate the Outside!

For my cake, I drew a road (with a nifty perspective thing going on, but that's unnecessary) and the words, "Happy Birthday, Melinda!"

To frost the road: I made an icing bag (up to step 6), dropped a Wilton #3 tip into it, and piped an outline. I then sparsely scribbled in the rest and spread it with a knife. The letters I did with the #3 tip.

To make cars: I made little cars using Hotwheels stickers. I stuck the sticker to wax paper with a toothpick between the sticker and the wax paper, and then cut out the wax paper around the sticker. You can also use royal icing cars, if you have time to make them ; kristylynn84 has a pretty sweet instructable about how to do that sort of thing.

I also added a shell border in another color along the bottom (Wilton tip #14), mostly because the bottom edges of my cakes tend to look messy without one.

Step 7: Step 7: Party Time!

Take your cake to whatever event you made it for! (Or just eat it alone, I don't judge). If you've followed all the instructions, and really were quite handy with a spatula, you should have a race flag on the inside :)

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