Beach Cake

3 9" cooled, baked cake layers, frozen for at least 2 hours before cutting

Total Time:
Level: Moderate
Yield: 8 servings
3 9" cooled, baked cake layers, frozen for at least 2 hours before cutting


Vanilla buttercream frosting

  • 2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 jars (7 oz.) marshmallow cream (we used Marshmallow Fluff)
  • 2 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Cake decorations

  • 10 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed into sand
  • Sea sand (multicolored nonpareils)
  • Blue, green, yellow and red gel food coloring
  • Crystal sanding sugar
  • Fish-shaped crackers
  • Seaweed (sugared green sour stick candy)
  • Seashell-shaped candies
  • 1.3 oz. box berry blue gelatin
  • Lifeguards chair (4 thin pretzel sticks with 1/4 graham cracker cut in half for seat, red sour belt candy for red cross)
  • Teddy graham cookies
  • Volleyball net (green apple air head, net marked with back of a knife, ends pressed around pretzel sticks)
  • Beach balls (striped round peppermint candies)
  • Life preservers (jelly rings)
  • Pail and shovel (spice drops cut into shape, licorice-lace handles)
  • Red raft with pillow (red air head bar shaped with fingers
  • Beach towels and surboard (striped stick chewing gum, cut in half for towel, trimmed to shape for surfboard)


Make the Frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add marshmallow cream to combine. Reduce speed to low and gradually add sugar until combined. Add vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
Assemble the Cake: Trim the cake layers so the tops are flat. Working with one cake layer, starting 1 1/4" from the edge, cut a kidney-shaped piece of cake about 2 1/2" across the middle, all the way through the cake, using a serrated knife. Reserve the cutout.

Place an uncut cake layer on a serving plate and spread evenly with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with a second uncut layer and spread evenly with 1/2 cup frosting. Set remaining cake layer with cutout-ocean on top.

From the kidney-shaped cutout, cut an oval about 3" long and 2" wide. Trim layer to 1/2" high. Place the oval near the inner curve of the ocean.

Decorate the Cake: Carefully thinly coat the sides of the cake, the oval, and the inside of the ocean with frosting (make sure the entire inside of the ocean is well coated). Transfer the cake to the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Coat the cake in a second layer of frosting. Sprinkle crushed cookie sand on the beach (carefully shielding the rest of the cake). Press gently to adhere. Press colorful nonpareils half way up the sides of the cake.
Transfer 1/2 cup frosting to a bowl and tint blue. Spoon 1 tablespoon into a zip-topped bag and set aside. Spread remaining blue frosting on the border around the ocean and over the upper sides of the cake to create waves. Sprinkle with crystal sanding sugar, pressing to adhere.

Dip a toothpick into blue food color and dot eyes on fish crackers. Place seaweed, seashells, and fish around the sides of the cake. Cut a small hole from the corner of the zip-topped bag and pipe air bubbles by the fish.

Prepare gelatin according to package directions on speed-set. Once cool, remove ice cubes and carefully ladle into the ocean leaving 1/4" space at the top. Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hours or until the gelatin is firm.

To make the lifeguards chair, spread some white frosting on the graham crackers and cut out two small stripes from the red sour belt to create a cross. Press to adhere. Use more frosting as glue to attach the seat and the back of the chair and 4 pretzel sticks for chair legs. Refrigerate to set.
To make the Teddy beach-goers, tint small amounts of the remaining frosting and transfer to small zip-topped bags. Cut a small hole from each corner and pipe eyes, bathing suits, sunglasses, and snorkels onto the bears. Refrigerate until set.

One hour before serving, set bears and decorations on top of the cake and refrigerate.


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Cake Magazine: Beach Cake
Beach Cake
3 9" cooled, baked cake layers, frozen for at least 2 hours before cutting
Cake Magazine
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