Sunday, December 2, 2007

VW Beetle Cake

A friend of mine offered to loan me her Wilton 3D Cruiser cake pan. So I decided I could make it into a VW beetle cake because my son is just crazy about them.

This was the most I have ever put into a cake, but I enjoyed making it (primarily because I made it before, not on, his birthday) and he really loved it. I didn't want to do all that piping, but I couldn't smooth out the icing without hiding the detail from the pan.

Two days ahead of time, I baked the cake using my banana bread recipe (I think I tripled it). This turned out to be a great choice because I had done the bamboo skewer test for doneness (a toothpick was too small) but when I went to level the cake it revealed that the inside was definitely not cooked through. I put it back in the oven until it was really done. If it were a regular or light cake, it would have collapsed in the middle and I would have had to start over. I also made and colored the icing that night. I baked the cake ahead of time because I wanted to be sure it was cooled enough to ice it.

The next evening I decorated the cake. I raised the cake a bit by placing it on a smaller board, then on the main one. I iced the windows with grey icing, then I covered it with wax paper (actually the butter wrappers) cut out in the window shapes to prevent it from getting smeared by the red icing. Next, I spread a thin layer of red icing. That step is probably not not necessary if you are piping the body, but I was trying to get a smooth layer initially.

(before, with the wax paper templates)

(After the wax paper was removed)

Then, I piped the body with red icing and added the details. I had hoped to use some of the cake scraps to make the domed top, but it wasn't working well, so I used a heap of icing instead. I also put the cake back in the fridge quite frequently so that the icing wouldn't melt (I made buttercream icing with just butter because it's trans-fat free, tastier, but melts easier).

If you notice in this picture, I iced the contours (such as the headlights and the hood detail) first and filled in the rest. I think this defined the areas more and helped when I did the final touches.

Now, for the detailing...

  • Tires: Oreo cakesters, split in half (I would have preferred the cookeis, but I didn't want to buy a whole pack of oreo cookies and the cakesters were available in a snack pack) I then piped the centers with red icing.
  • Front red and rear lights: Gummy Life Savers. The red lights were cut in half.
  • Rear view mirror: Red licorice circles from a bridge mix at a bulk candy bin. I iced them with the grey icing and stuck a toothpick in them. You might want to get more than two of these because they can crack. That way you can pick the best two. I wonder if Hershey's Kissables would work.
  • License plate light, door, and trunk handles: licorice rods from the same bridge mix (I really don't remember what they are called)
  • Headlights: I also got these from the bulk candy bin. They were big gummy circles. I think they were Sunkist brand.
  • License plate: Wrigley's gum. I trimmed it to size and then piped my son's name on it with a small round tip (can't remember, maybe #5).
(the rear view, with the license plate)

If you try this, please leave feedback on how this worked out for you.


  1. Question-I like experimenting with cheesecake a lot (my bf loves it) so I'm going to try experimenting with this to see if maybe I can't do the same thing for his upcoming birthday. If you have any tips or advice, they'd be appreciated.


  2. I am going to try this in a couple of weeks for my sons 3rd birthday. He is obsessed with VW's! Do you have any recommendations for a good thick chocolate cake recipe for this? I would really appreciate your feedback.

  3. Hi,

    I haven't tried a good thick chocolate cake, but a chocolate pound cake or bundt cake recipe should work. It may not be very healthy, but it is a birthday, for goodness sakes. Just remember it takes a while for it to cook through. Check or another website and try one with good ratings.

    Thanks for letting me know you want to try it.

  4. where did you find the mold for this? i want to use it for the grooms cake at my wedding. please email me at

  5. McClure Mom:

    I used the Wilton 3-D Cruiser Cake Pan that my friend had (I think she bought it at Michael's Arts and Crafts). It has a flat roof, but I put more icing there to make it curved.

    I checked the Wilton website and it is out of stock there (

    But a quick google search came up with some stores listed here:
    You can probably find it on Ebay too.

  6. I am so glad a came across your site. I was searching desperately for a VW beetle cake pan. My son loves VW beetles and wants it to be the theme for his 5th birthday party. I took your advice and got a PT cruiser cake pan. I baked a separate regular cake to to cut out molds for the dome roof and the make the fenders more prominent. It turned out great. I could not have done it without your info - - thanks sooo much!

  7. hi im after a mold for a vw camper looked everywhere anyone help thanks

  8. Re: VW Camper

    There are several ways to try this:

    *Use a school bus mold and cut the front off
    *Use a loaf mold (you might even be able to buy aluminum ones fairly cheap)
    *Stack several rectangle cakes:

  9. Thanks for your positng this. It gave me the confidence to try one for my son's birthday. I was able to use the cruiser pan, I then added a dome on top, sloped the back and rounded the hood and it truned out great. I was really scared and nervious about making a car, but your post guided me on a few things and gave me the confidence to go for it.

    I also made small VW bugs that I carved after baking in my little metal prep bowls. They were really cute.

    I made all my cakes from betty crocker's rainbow party chip, I modified the recipie by using 1/4 cup less water then the box called for to make it a little thicker adn it worked great.

  10. Thanks Anon!
    I bet the mini ones were so cute. Thanks for the cake mix tip.