My kids are huge fans of Moana so when it came time to decide on a theme for her 5th birthday, my youngest just had to have a Moana party. Find out how I made the perfect Moana birthday cake for her big day.
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Ever since we first saw Disney’s Moana, we’ve been a little obsessed. Not only is the soundtrack all we listen to in the car, I even listen when the girls aren’t with me. Yes, it’s THAT good! Now that the movie is coming out on DVD March 7th, I’m pretty sure it’s be running non-stop on our TV for awhile.
Immediately after seeing the movie for the first time, my 4 year old started planning her Moana birthday party. It didn’t matter that her birthday was months away…she knew exactly what she wanted. Of course, that also included a Moana birthday cake. That was totally fine by me…I love making fun birthday cakes!
I didn’t give it much thought until a few weeks ago, when I actually had to start planning this thing. First I needed a few supplies because you can’t possibly recreate a tropical island without seashells and palm trees. I found this mini seashell mold and palm tree cake toppers on Amazon. What in the world did people do before Amazon Prime came along? I’m pretty sure my kids would have been getting a lot more cakes from the grocery store (though those are yummy too).
Check the printable recipe card below for the entire list of items that you’ll need.
I started by using candy melts to make the seashells. You can easily make solid colored seashells but since I absolutely love playing with candy melts, I took a bunch of different colors and swirled them together. I suggest melting each color in a separate bowl because then you can create as many color combinations as you want. When you’re ready, take two colors and just slightly swirl them together with a toothpick or fork. Don’t swirl too much or the colors will just combine to make one solid color. Fill the mold, scrape the excess candy off the top and refrigerate.
This is also a good time to start working on the wave. You’ll need blue and white candy melts and a bowl that’s nice and round on the bottom. There are different shades of blue and white but I used the regular blue (not royal blue) and bright white.
I found it easiest to melt the colors separately, then swirl them together once they were completely melted. Again, be sure not to swirl them so much that they form a single color. After combining the colors, pour them into the bowl and use your fingers or a spatula to form a wave shape.
Place the bowl in the freezer or refrigerator until the candy sets, then add more melted candy until you have the wave shape that you want. This may take several steps.
Now it’s time to start on the actual cake. You’ll need two cakes baked in 9×13 cake pans. I recommend having two pans because otherwise you have to bake one cake, let it cool overnight and then bake the second one later that day or the next morning. That’s what I did and it took forever…seriously, it felt like FOREVER (patience is not one of my virtues). You’ll also want to be sure the cakes are completely cooled before you take them out of the pan or they will break apart. I know this because I learned the hard way last time and had to use icing to “glue” my cake back together (I really need to work on that patience thing)!
You’ll also need to make an 8″ or 9″ round cake for the mountain that Te Fiti forms in the end of the movie. Use four boxes of cake mix for the main cake (each pan takes two) and one more for the round cake.
Bake your cakes and let them cool. Level them, frost the top of the first cake, then place the second one on top. The cakes are so big that I found it easier to cut the top one in half before trying to move it. Once it’s frosted, no one will ever know the difference…don’t you love how icing fixes everything?!
Frost about a third of the cake with white icing. That will be your beach.
Frost the rest of the cake with blue icing.
Originally I left the sides alone because I didn’t know how far my island would extend out. Since it didn’t extend all the way out, I ended up covering the remaining parts blue. Now cut the round cake in half…
…and put it together with icing to form the mountain (this is the mountain that the Te Fiti turns into at the very end of the movie).
Use a knife to shape it and place it at the end of the cake opposite the beach.
Using green icing, frost the mountain, then cover it with flowers. You can use icing to make the flowers but these candy flowers make it really easy.
Once the sides around the island have been covered in frosting, it’s time to get to work on the beach. To create the waves crashing on the shore, make a line of blue frosting and a line of white frosting, then swirl them together. You can check out this beach cake if you want to see how to do this in more detail.
Add your palm trees, then crush vanilla wafer cookies (the store brand works just fine) and cover your beach with “sand”.
Now add the seashells and some Moana figurines. We used these Moana, Pua and Hei Hei figures that Keira had gotten for Christmas. The trickiest part was adding the wave. At first I tried to stick it straight into the cake but it was a little heavy and I was worried that it would topple over. I ended up making a hole in the cake about 1/2 inch down, filling it with melted candy (the same candy I used to make the wave) and pushed the wave down into it. Once it set after a few minutes, the wave stayed in place without even a wobble. I made a green shell using the shell mold to create the heart of Te Fiti. I shaped it into more of a circle with a small cheese grater, then placed it under the wave.
You can never have too many seashells on a tropical island!
I also added a few more around the sides of the cake.
Now we were ready for a birthday party!
I threw in a pineapple fruit bowl because it was fun and tropical.
Stay tuned to see the goody bags filled with more seashells, Heart Of Te Fiti cookies and chocolate covered pretzels that Tamatoa the “Shiny” crab would go nuts over.
Keira absolutely loved her Moana birthday cake and it looked so pretty surrounded by tropical flowers.
- 4-5 canisters white frosting
- 5 boxes cake mix (any flavor)
- 1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
- candy melts - blue and white for the wave
- candy melts - various colors for the seashells
- blue and green food coloring
- candy flowers
- Non food items:
- Moana figurines
- Palm trees
- Seashell candy mold
- For the seashells:
- Melt colored candy melts for seashells, fill mold and refrigerate. To make the heart of Te Fiti, fill one of the round shells with green candy melts and after refrigerating, scrape the sides to make it round.
- For the wave:
- Melt blue and white candy melts separately.
- Swirl colors together and use the bottom of a bowl to mold into a wave shape (see photos)
- When set, add more blue and white candy melts until the wave is finished.
- For the cake:
- Use the cake mix to bake two 9x13 cakes (2 boxes per cake) and one 8" or 9" cake. Let cool.
- Start with the 9x13 cakes and level both.
- Frost one cake with white icing, then place the second on top
- Cover ⅓ of the cake with white icing, then the remainder with blue icing
- Cut the round cake in half and use frosting to put them together back to back in the shape of a mountain (see pictures)
- Carve the top to make it look more like Te Fiti turning into the mountain
- Frost with green icing and cover with candy flowers
- One the opposide side, make a line across the cake of blue icing and another line of white icing
- Swirl together to create the effect of waves crashing on the beach
- Add palm trees to the edge of the beach
- Sprinkle crushed vanilla wafers over the white frosting to look like sand
- At the water's edge, gently push the bottom of the wave into the cake. Using a small spoon or knife, dig about ½ inch of the cake out to make a spot strong enough to hold the wave. Fill the hold with melted candy and add the wave, securing in place to keep it from toppling over.
- Place the green heart of Te Fiti candy under the wave and put the Moana figurines on the beach in front of it.
- Place the seashells around the cake
To make it easier for you, these are all the things I used to create this cake:
You can choose from a variety of different candy melt colors to make your seashells.
Now I have eight months until my oldest turns 10 and she’s already requested a Harry Potter cake. Check back in November to see if I’m able to pull it off!
If you’re looking for more party food, these Heart Of Te-Fiti cookies were a big hit!
If you’re having a birthday party, you’ll need invitations, right?
Get Moana activities and coloring sheets here:
Want more birthday cake ideas?