Before a cake is a treat for your taste buds, it's a treat for your eyes. Cake decorating competitions celebrate the most skilled cake decorating artisans, but even beginner decorators can create a beautiful beach-themed cake with the right tools and accessories. A beach themed cake might be a fun and playful addition to a birthday party or an elegant centrepiece for an upscale beach wedding.
Sheet vs. Tiered Cakes
The right decorations for your cake depend on the landscape of your cake. Sheet cakes provide a flat, open surface for airbrushing or detailed buttercream work. Three-dimensional decorations add dimension to a sheet cake, but limiting taller decor to the borders of your sheet cake leave the centre area free for other decorative details. Tiered cakes require a bit more skill to add piping decorations because you're applying the icing at an angle rather than directly from above. Tiered cakes also provide a small flat surface for larger three-dimensional decor, and the weight of three-dimensional decorations might challenge the balance of the cake, especially during transport.
Sheet cakes provide ample space for creating a beach scene with various types of icing. Instead of buttercream frosting, opt for blue gel or royal icing to create ocean waves or a shore line. If you want to add texture to your water, flick up frosting peaks with the long edge of a toothpick. On tiered cakes, piping royal icing or buttercream frosting gives you greater control of the shape of the design on the sides of each tier. A small, round piping tip like a No. 4 or No. 5 is suitable for creating thin peaks of cascading waves around the tiers of the cake.
Sand is as important a part of a beach themed caked as water. Crumbled ginger snaps or graham crackers create both the colour and texture of sand. Gum paste is an edible moulding material suitable for creating playful bikinis for a hip beach scene, while gum paste sea stars or sand dollars are elegant additions to more formal cakes. Items in your pantry are also options for edible beach decorations. Colourful gumballs resemble beach balls, and strips of fruit leather lined along the shoreline serve as beach towels.
If your artistic skills are still being honed, pre-made inedible beach accessories are an acceptable addition to your cake as long as you wash them thoroughly beforehand and remove them before cutting the cake. For a splash of festive colour, line the border or bottom of your cake with a series of paper umbrellas in alternating colours. White Popsicle sticks are suitable for creating a homemade lifeguard tower, and a rectangular section of white plastic netting used for storing vegetables transforms into a volleyball net when suspended between two wooden dowels.