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Having a beach themed party? This beach cake with candy shells and beach umbrellas is going to be perfect!
I’ve been dying to make a “beachy” cake since we moved to Florida and now I finally had the chance. It was my mother-in-law’s birthday and since she loves Florida almost as much as we do, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. While I’m definitely no cake expert, this is simple enough for anyone to do (and I have to admit, it’s pretty fun too).
Originally I had something bigger in mind but since there were only going to be a few of us, I decided to start off small. I used 8 inch rounds for the cakes and while they were baking, I started on the shells and coral. I really liked this plastic candy mold but if you you want your shells even smaller, this shell mold will do the trick too. To make the multicolored shells I wanted, I melted candy melts and gently swirled the colors together. Then I spooned it into the mold, tapped it to get the air bubbles out and leveled the top with a straight edge. The shells went into the refrigerator to harden and the fondant came out.
This next part was a little trickier, though the more you do it, the easier it gets. If you’ve never worked with fondant, it takes a little getting used to at first but you get the hang of it. The secret is to use a little corn starch to keep it from sticking to everything. I’ve read that you can also use confectioner’s sugar but the corn starch seems to work pretty well for me. Be sure to keep what you’re not using in a plastic bag because the fondant can dry out pretty quickly.
Though you can buy smaller packs in individual colors, I found it more economical to buy a larger box of white fondant and color it myself. Put a little corn starch on your hands and cutting board, then squeeze a drop or two of food coloring on the fondant and knead it until it’s well blended. I recommend starting with just a little color because you can always add more as you go.
I picked up this Sea Life mold because I thought the coral was so pretty. I like the border too but I’ll use that when I make a bigger cake. When you fill your mold with the fondant, I recommend just doing one shape at a time. Fill the shape with fondant, making sure you push it far enough down to fill the entire cavity. Once that’s done, scrape the excess fondant off the top with a flat edge, wiggling it a little as you go so it doesn’t pull the fondant out. I found that my icing smoother works pretty well for this job. Do this part slowly for the best results…it’s totally worth it when you’re done! Once you’ve leveled the top, turn the mold over and very slowly let the coral “fall” out of the mold, pulling gently if you need to.
Next you’ll want to color your icing to get that perfect shade of blue, then level your cakes and put them together with a layer of icing in the middle. As you frost the cake, start with a swirling motion, then pull your icing spatula away from the cake to simulate waves. Do this all around the sides and on just one side of the top (the other side will be your beach).
Crush a few graham crackers in a plastic bag and spread them around the other half of the cake.
To make the waves crashing on the shore, I made a line of white frosting at the water’s edge, then a line of blue frosting right behind it.
Using a knife, I made circular motions across the top of the icing, swirling the two colors together. I put the graham crackers on first but they kept getting stuck in the crashing waves. I may try to make the waves first next time, adding the graham crackers afterwards.
I went back and added a few more dots of white frosting along the top, swirling as I went, until I had it just the way I wanted.
Now it was time to add the coral and shells and I really loved the way they turned out!
You can’t go to the beach without a beach towel, right? This was one of the easiest things to make. I rolled out a some purple fondant, then a little yellow and cut them into the sizes I needed (don’t forget to add a little corn starch to your rolling pin first). Then I just added the stripes to the top of the towel (oops, forgot to take that picture…it was getting late!).
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do the beach umbrella so I found this great tutorial online. The only problem is that it was extremely top heavy and kept falling over unless I stood it completely upright (I would have preferred it at a tilt). I would also roll the fondant thinner next time and maybe paint the top with Wilton gel instead of adding a second layer of yellow fondant. Live and learn, right?
I cut a decorative straw for the beach umbrella, then added a few extra fondant shells around the crashing waves. My four year old couldn’t control her excitement about going to Granny’s house…not because she wanted to see Granny so badly, she just couldn’t wait to get her hands on this cake!
This was the perfect sized cake for our little gathering and we all enjoyed it. However, next time I’m going to think even bigger…stay tuned…
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