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How to Make a Sandy Beach Cake

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

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.

Instructions for Making Seashells and Starfish to Top the Cake

  • How to Make Fondant Starfish
    Learn how to make three different kinds of starfish from fondant or gumpaste. These sea stars are easy to make and make wonderful cake decorations.
  • How to Make Fondant Seashells
    Learn how to make fondant or gum paste seashells of an assortment of types using this step-by-step tutorial with photos and text instructions.

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.

Scroll to Continue

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.

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.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay

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

julieannbrady on November 26, 2011:

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.

Sue Dixon from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on November 26, 2011:

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.

anonymous on November 24, 2011:

Sound like fun. Looks good! :)

Rose Jones on November 22, 2011:

This looks like a yummy cake I actually could make!

RinchenChodron on November 12, 2011:

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

KaneshiaKelly on November 09, 2011:

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

VarietyWriter2 on October 22, 2011:

Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

phoenix arizona f on June 27, 2011:

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

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 18, 2011:

@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.

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on June 18, 2011:

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.

Indigo Janson from UK on April 02, 2011:

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

momto4 lm on October 21, 2010:

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

anonymous on September 21, 2010:

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

anonymous on September 12, 2010:

Looks amazing! Yum.

VarietyWriter2 on September 01, 2010:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on August 06, 2010:

Nice unique design for a cake and a nice lens.

NAIZA LM on August 05, 2009:

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

Bambi Watson on July 26, 2009:

Looks beautiful & delicious!

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