An Ocean-Themed Cake with Creative Details that are Easy to Do and Fun to Make
Learn how to make this fun and colorful ocean-themed cake step by step!
Use simple piping tips to create a vibrant coral reef out of buttercream accented with chocolate oysters and starfish.
Create a beach island with classic candy and wafers- a perfect spot to park some sugar surfboards!
Warm up the scene with a dreamy ocean sunset made of melted hard candy.
This cake is loaded with fun and easy ideas to make an unforgettable cake with all things ocean!
Cake and Buttercream
This ocean-themed cake is made with 8-inch round cakes, 3 layers high, although 6-inch cakes will also work! It will take about 3-4 cups of buttercream to stack, crumb coat, and cover the cake.
Use our awesome buttercream recipe for covering cakes and piping details. This buttercream is easy to make and has a not-too-sweet buttery flavor.
The ocean blue shade used to cover the cake is made using two Wilton icing colors:
● Royal Blue
The royal blue deepens the hue of the buttercream just enough to give it that crystal clear water look. We used the colors in a 3:1 ratio, teal to royal blue.
Stacking and frosting a multi-layered cake can be a challenge. It takes some practice, but using some basic techniques can make all the difference. Cupcake Jemma has an awesome video tutorial about stacking and frosting a straight level cake.
To create the ocean waves on top of the cake, simply add a thick layer of buttercream to the top and use a spatula, knife, or spoon to gently swirl the frosting in a circular motion. That’s all there is to it!!!
How to Make the Coral Reef
The piping work of the coral reef is an eye-catching detail created with several piping tips. The elaborate design of seaweed, coral, and plant life in vibrant colors really pops against the ocean water backdrop. Tammy used this design idea on a Bubble Guppies theme birthday cake, and we loved it so much we brought it back for this ocean theme cake!
What You’ll Need:
All piping tips and icing colors are Wilton brand.
● Piping Bags
● Tip #4
● Tip #3
● Tip #67
● Tip #7
- Creamy Peach
- Royal Blue
- Leaf Green
- Moss Green
- Buttercup Yellow
- About 2 Cups of Buttercream, 1/2 C for each shade
When it comes to dying frosting, we usually don’t get too technical about adding specific amounts of each icing color. We typically start with a little coloring and then add more as we feel necessary.
When mixing your shades, just have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to experiment! Just remember to start with very little coloring-you can always add more!
Sugar pearls made to look like bubbles are speckled throughout the reef. This cute idea adds a whimsical touch and fills in some of the blank space around the cake. These sugar pearls from Wilton may be easily applied with your fingers or a pair of tweezers.
How to Make the Chocolate Oysters and Starfish
Along the bottom of the cake among the coral reef are chocolate oysters and starfish. These cute details add some dimension to the reef, and they are super easy and fun to make!
We found our candy mold at JoAnn. We liked the variety of the types of shells. This particular one is no longer available, but they do offer this candy mold by Wilton.
The custom color shades of the chocolates are a simple mix of 3 different colors of Wilton candy melts or wafers: white, bright pink, and orange.
The bold salmon color for the starfish is a combo of bright pink and orange wafers.
The soft peachy pink for the oysters is a combo of mostly white melts with a few bright pink and orange wafers.
To give the oysters a pearlescent finish, lightly spray them with white pearl shimmer spray.
For more ideas on seashells made with candy molds, check out our Mermaid Cake
What You’ll Need:
● Small Microwave-Safe Bowl
● Measuring Cups
● Piping Bags or Plastic Bags
● Spatula or Spoon
● Candy Mold for Seashells
● Wilton Candy Melts
● White Pearl Shimmer Spray
● Chocolate Pearls or Sixlets
How to Make the Starfish
1. To achieve a deep salmon shade for the starfish, simply combine 1⁄2 C of orange melts and 1⁄4 C of bright pink melts.
Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and follow the heating instructions on the bag.
Good to Know:
● The color of the mixture will slightly deepen as it hardens, so if you would like an even lighter shade, add white wafers to the mixture before melting.
● This amount of candy melts will make a few batches of starfish. If you’re only wanting one batch (about 5), use less melts, just maintain a 2:1 ratio, orange to bright pink.
2. Once the wafers are melted, pour the mixture into a piping bag or plastic bag. Cut just the tip off the bag- this will give you more control and make it easier to fill in the small details of the mold. Fill each starfish mold a little less than completely full. This way, the chocolate won’t overflow and the starfish will retain their shape.
3. After you fill the molds, tap them gently on the counter to release any air bubbles in the chocolate and help the mixture to settle into any fine crevices. To speed up the hardening process, pop the mold into the freezer for about 15 minutes.
4. Once the chocolates have hardened, simply pop them out of the mold and place them on to the cake. Use a dot of buttercream to help the chocolates stay in place on the cake.
How to Make the Oysters
1. The oyster shells are made with a 1⁄2 C of white melts with just a few colored melts to give it the peachy pink color.
As you can see in the picture, we only used 4 orange wafers and 2 bright pink wafers. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and follow the heating instructions on the bag.
2. Pour the melted mixture into a piping or plastic bag and cut off the very tip of the bag. Squeeze the mixture into the oyster mold. Do not fill the mold, instead focus on just covering the outline of the mold, leaving it as hollow as you can. Use a spoon or spatula to scoop out any excess chocolate. The idea is to create a nice little spot for the chocolate pearl to rest on inside the oyster shell.
3. Allow the chocolates to harden, or pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed up the process.
4. Once the oyster shells have hardened, carefully peel them from the mold. Spray both the inside and outside with some white pearl shimmer spray. Give them a few minutes to dry.
5. Once the shimmer spray has set, use a dot of buttercream to position the bottom oyster shell at the base of the cake.
Drop a white chocolate pearl or sixlet into the shell.
Adhere the top oyster shell to the cake above the bottom shell, leaving a gap so the pearl inside is visible.
How to Make the Island Beach
The ocean and the beach go hand in hand and this charming island scene blends perfectly with the playful feel of this ocean-themed cake.
This island beach could not be easier to put together!
1. Create a powdery sandy beach with vanilla wafers, a bag, and a rolling pin.
Sprinkle this on top of the cake. We suggest placing it closer to the edge if you’re going to add the sunset.
2. To make the palm tree:
~ Slide about 4 Tootsie Rolls down a wooden skewer.
~ Cut the Twizzlers into pieces of varying lengths. Slide them onto the skewer in a staggered pattern above the Tootsie Rolls.
~Decide where you want to place the palm tree on the island and insert the skewer. Slide the palm tree down the skewer, pull it out of the cake, and trim the excess skewer.
~Helpful Tip: Turn the palm tree upside down for a while to help the Twizzlersfirm up and look like fuller palms. Otherwise, the palms will look a little droopy.
Finish off the beach with these adorable surfboards!!! The set of 16 surfboards comes in various patterns and colors to choose from.
How to Make the Ocean Sunset
The radiant setting sun in shades of orange and pink reflecting off the ocean waves is a focal point of this ocean cake. It is our personal favorite detail! The sun itself is made of melted Jolly Ranchers, and the reflection on the water is a spritz of gold shimmer spray.
What You’ll Need:
- Parchment Paper
- Microwave-safe bowl and plate
- Cooking Spray
- Jolly Rancher Hard Candy-Fruity Bash Mix
- Gold shimmer spray
1. Choose the colors you would like for your setting sun. We used the Jolly Rancher Hard Candy Fruity Bash Mix because it has orange, yellow, clear, red, and purple candies-perfect shades for an ocean sunset. Next, decide how big you want the sun to be. We made our sun about 4 inches in diameter. Arrange the candies on a small piece of parchment paper on a microwave-safe plate.
Helpful Tip: Arrange the candies like the pattern in this picture-rows of 1 on top and bottom and rows of 2 in the middle.
This will help to prevent the candies from seeping underneath the rim of the bowl as they melt.
3. Place the candies in the microwave and heat at 20 to 30-second intervals on 50% power until melted.
4. Remove from the microwave and let the melted candy mixture rest for about 5 minutes, allowing it to begin to solidify (but NOT completely!).
5. Gently twist the bowl to free it from the candy. DO NOT wait until the mixture has completely hardened, otherwise, it may be difficult to remove the bowl. If you notice the candy pulling and “stringing out”, let the mixture rest for a few more minutes.
6. Once the bowl is free from the candy, let the candy rest again to completely solidify. You may then easily peel back the parchment paper, and your sun is ready to go!
You may notice the edge of the candy mixture is jagged or crackly. These areas can be trimmed off once the candy has hardened.
You can also simply grab a damp rag or paper towel and wipe it around the border of the candy. The water on the rag will dissolve the sugar and smooth out the rough edges.
Be careful- the candy might be sharp! I actually sliced my finger on one-ouch!
*This was a “trial and error” experience for us. We made several suns before we had a couple turn out to our liking. So it may take a few tries, but don’t give up- there’s sunlight at the end of the tunnel! 😉🌞
Some helpful tips:
~ Overheating the candies may cause them to bubble or seep underneath the rim of the bowl. Keep an eye on the candies while they’re in the microwave. If they start to bubble, stop the microwave and take them out right away. Heating at 50% power in short increments will help prevent this.
~ If the candies continue to seep outside of the bowl, try using fewer candies. Too many candies will create too much mixture that will easily escape the rim of the bowl. Also, wrap any excess parchment paper up and around the bowl.
Simply insert the sun into the top of the cake and reinforce the backside with some buttercream. Spray some gold shimmer spray in front of the sun to create a sparkling reflection on the ocean waves.