DIY Beach Cupcakes

Cowabunga! Nothing says paradise like lounging on the sand under a palm tree with waves lapping on the shore. And even if you can't get to the ocean, these cupcakes decorated with an idyllic beach scene will certainly put you in the tropical spirit. They're perfect for your summer party or luau, so grab your flip flops and sunglasses, and head to the kitchen.

beach cupcakes
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Things You'll Need

  • Cupcakes

  • Frosting

  • Blue icing color

  • Vanilla wafers

  • Green jelly fruit slices

  • Pretzel sticks

  • Green candy melts

  • Sour belts

  • Gummy bears

  • Sour balls

materials
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 1: Bake Cupcakes

Using your own recipe or a boxed cake mix, prepare the cupcakes. I recommend light-colored cupcakes like these confetti ones so that the color does not show through the paper liners.

bake
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Prepare the Frosting

Whip up a homemade batch of buttercream frosting or purchase a pre-packaged tub at the supermarket. I made my own batch of frosting because it tastes better, and it pipes really well from a piping bag. The recipe for buttercream frosting is very basic: mix two sticks of butter (1 cup) with 3 cups of confectioner's sugar; then add two tablespoons of heavy cream and one teaspoon of vanilla.

frosting
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Add 2-3 drops of blue icing color to the frosting, and mix it until you get a uniform light blue color. Icing color is available in the baking aisle at supermarkets and crafts stores.

blue color
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 3: Make the Sand

For the sand, we'll be using vanilla wafers. Place the wafers in a sealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until they are a fine consistency.

vanilla wafers
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 4: Create the Beach

Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the top of the cupcake with a knife or spatula.

frosting top
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Spoon the crushed vanilla wafers over half of the cupcake. Gently pack the "sand" into the frosting with the back side of the spoon to help it adhere.

beach
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 5: Add the Ocean Waves

Place the frosting in a piping bag, and squeeze out the frosting onto the blue side of the cupcake in a wavy pattern. I used an open star piping tip to create the waves.

waves
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Tip

Add extra blue icing color to half of the frosting, and place the darker frosting in the piping bag alongside the lighter one. The result will be a two-toned frosting.

Step 6: Make the Palm Trees

For the palm fronds, cut some green jelly fruit slice candies lengthwise into three or four sections.

fruit slice
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Join the sections at the tips into a spiral shape. The candies are sticky, so they will adhere to each other on their own.

spiral
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Heat some green candy melts in the microwave, checking and stirring the contents at 30-second intervals until it is melted and creamy. This will be the "glue" for the palm trees and other cupcake elements.

candy melts
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

The tree trunk will be a pretzel stick. Dip both ends of the pretzel stick into the melted green candy.

pretzel stick
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Poke one end of the pretzel stick into the center of the palm fronds. Press firmly so that the pretzel stick goes through each of the jelly candy sections. Make a palm tree for each of your cupcakes, and place them in the refrigerator for about half an hour so that all the candy hardens.

palm trees
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Once hardened, insert the trunks of the palm trees into the sandy side of the cupcakes. The ends that go into the cupcake have been dipped in candy melts, which create a barrier to the moisture from the cupcake. Otherwise, the pretzel sticks can become soggy and fall over.

trees
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 7: Add the Lounge Chairs

Sour belts make the perfect lounge chairs for the beach, as they are colorful and have a natural curve to them. Cut the sour belts into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

sour belts
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Place a dab of candy melt on the back of the sour belt.

dab
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Rest the sour belt against the pretzel stick, using the candy melt as glue to adhere the two parts.

chaise
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 8: Add the Bears

Place a dab of candy melt on the backs of the bears.

back of bear
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Position the bears on the lounge chairs, letting the candy melt act as the glue.

bear
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Tip

Place a sour ball on the opposite side of the pretzel stick to help support it and keep it from tilting.

Good thing the bear is sitting under the palm tree, or he would get sunburnt.

beach cupcake
(Image: Jonathan Fong)
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