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How to Make a Sandy Beach Cake

Updated on February 18, 2016
Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa is an artist who works in a wide variety of media that has included fondant since 2008. She enjoys creating and sharing sweet tips.

Learn to Make a Cake that Looks like the Sea on a Platter

A beach cake decorated with fondant seashells and starfish can bring a bit of summer holiday or tropical paradise to your party. It's simple to make and pre-made beach-themed candies can be substituted for the gumpaste or fondant decorations to make it quicker and easier to assemble.

Follow the step-by-step instructions and photos in the tutorial below to make your own sweet piece of the seaside that you can enjoy any time of the year.

All photos on this page taken by Kylyssa Shay unless otherwise noted.

Sandy beach cake with fondant starfish and seashells
Sandy beach cake with fondant starfish and seashells | Source

What You Will Need

*A large platter

*A sharp knife

*A nine by thirteen cake, your choice of flavor

*Buttercream frosting, your choice of flavor - canned frosting works just fine

*Raw sugar OR Demerara cane sugar OR about one pound or one box of crushed graham crackers

*Assorted fondant or gumpaste starfish

*Assorted edible seashells

Pre-made chocolate or candy seashells and starfish can be substituted for fondant, making for a much easier project.

1. Plate the Cake

A cooled, un-frosted nine by thirteen vanilla cake on a platter
A cooled, un-frosted nine by thirteen vanilla cake on a platter

Plate the Cake on a Sturdy Platter

Set the cooled nine by thirteen cake in your choice of flavor on the platter. A dab of frosting underneath will keep it in place if it seems like it would slide off.

2. Make The Mound

Trimmed and mounded cake
Trimmed and mounded cake

Cut the Cake to Make a Mound

Using a bread knife, trim off the squared edges at an angle and put the cut off pieces along the sides of the cake. Use them to create a mounded surface as shown in the photo above.

3. Apply Lots Of Icing

Use as Much Frosting as You Need

Generously slather frosting onto the cake, covering it as best you can. The frosting glues down crushed graham crackers or sugar crystals so it's easier to get good coverage.

4. Bring On The Sand

Apply "Sand" Until It Looks Natural

Then, dust the raw sugar or Demerara cane sugar or crushed graham crackers evenly over the frosting so the whole thing looks like a sandy mound of beach.

If you use the sugar crystals, it's good to make the layer as thin as possible to avoid too much crunchiness in the finished dessert. The graham crackers can be layered more thickly, if desired.

5. Apply The Sea Creatures And It's Done!

Arrange the fondant seashells and starfish atop the cake however you like.
Arrange the fondant seashells and starfish atop the cake however you like.

Finish It With Seashells and Starfish

Scatter fondant starfish and fondant seashells atop the sugar or graham cracker sand.

I've made this cake several times now. I made it for a housewarming party, a birthday, and a get together with friends. The demerara cane sugar is kind of crunchy but guests seemed to like the combination of textures involved. I made it one of those times with crushed graham crackers. I thought it would have had a better texture but it didn't go over as well as the sugar crystals version went over with those who ate it.

Pre-made Edible Seashells and Starfish

The use of pre-made starfish and seashells makes this project easy to make and an excellent activity for children to assist with.

They can often be found in your grocery store's gourmet chocolates section or at a cake decorating supply store though the least expensive ones I've found have been online.

White Chocolate Seashell Cake Decorating Assortment #1, 48 chocolate seashells
White Chocolate Seashell Cake Decorating Assortment #1, 48 chocolate seashells
These shells come in a nice assortment and they are good tasting in my opinion.

Molds Make It Easier

Edible starfish and seashells can also be made with the use of the appropriate candy molds. This creates an easy, quick, and uniform result. The molds can be used with chocolate, colored candy melts, gum paste, or fondant. Excellent sea life candy molds can be found at craft stores like Michaels, cake decorating supply stores, and online.

Wilton Seashell Candy and lollipop Mold
Wilton Seashell Candy and lollipop Mold
You can pour melted chocolate or candy melts into this mold to make four kinds of seashells and one kind of starfish.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay

Would Your Friends or Family Enjoy a Sandy Beach Cake? - Would you make your own starfish and seashells?

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Ah, my dear ... I was thinking, "but how do you eat it with the sand? doesn't it get in your teeth?" And, then as I read on, I saw your don't actually use sand. It looks delicious ... I think I prefer this cake to the kitty litter one; you know? Hope your Thanksgiving was delightful and that you got some Sandy Beach Cake.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 

      9 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Looking at this great idea for a cake makes me smile! I'll would certainly be a shock if I presented this at Christmas- I might just try it! "blessed" today.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Sound like fun. Looks good! :)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      9 years ago

      This looks like a yummy cake I actually could make!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      No, I'd probably buy them - takes less time.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is quite a creation, I love it. great lens

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      9 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • profile image

      phoenix arizona f 

      10 years ago

      I would like to try this sometime this Summer. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Kylyssa profile imageAUTHOR

      Kylyssa Shay 

      10 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @FanfrelucheHubs: The best part of it is that the fondant seashells and starfish can be made at your leisure and stored for weeks if necessary.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      10 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      The picture of your Sandy Beach Cake got me to click on this page, it is very unique. My son's birthday is coming and I am "shopping" for unique cake ideas. I like it, but maybe not for my 4 years old son. I will find another occasion I am sure.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      10 years ago from UK

      What a unique cake decorating idea. It looks fantastic! Excellent visual guide.

    • profile image

      momto4 lm 

      10 years ago

      This is such a cute idea! My kids would love it!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Huh, this is a different kind of cake, I like it!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Looks amazing! Yum.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      11 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      11 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Nice unique design for a cake and a nice lens.

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 

      12 years ago

      Wow, this really look so yummy! I love cakes and sweets plus the beach. :)

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      12 years ago

      Looks beautiful & delicious!


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