This easy beach cake is the perfect addition to any summer party! Made with just a few ingredients that start with a store-bought cake, it’s simple to make and delicious to eat! Combine this fun cake with other refreshing treats for a pool party, backyard barbecue, or summer birthday party!
Sponsored by: Ibotta. All opinions and ideas are honest and my own.
Who else is excited that summer is finally here? I thought it would be fun to celebrate the kids being out of school, and it finally being summer with a little summer themed party for the kids in our neighborhood!
I thought it would be fun to have the kids over to play some of our favorite water games and enjoy some cool down treats!
Luckily Ibotta is currently having a Kickoff to Summer event with cash back offers on tons of refreshing summer treats like popsicles, juices, and even an I Love Ice Cream Carvel Ice Cream Cake!
When I saw the ice cream cakes as a cash back offer in the Ibotta app, I knew I had to use it to make a beach themed cake. I’ve been dying to make one since my boys are obsessed with the beach and sharks (probably because our first two weeks of summer were spent in Florida at the beach or maybe just because I’ve always wanted to have a beach party!).
Both my kids and the neighborhood kids loved all the fun details on the cake plus the yummy ice cream cake inside!
To get all of the cash back savings from Ibotta, all you need to do is:
- Download the Ibotta App (or browser extension).
- Select the grocery store you want to shop at (I chose Walmart).
- Click the plus sign next to the items you want to buy and save on.
- Once you’re done shopping, you can just scan the barcode of your receipt into the Ibotta app to get your money back!
If you’re still not sure how it works, watch my TikTok video to see how easy it is to shop and save with Ibotta!
Take a picture of your receipt as soon as you’re done shopping so that you can still get the money back even if you lose the receipt. You can scan the picture of the receipt if the original receipt is lost (not that I’ve ever done that).
Here’s my Ibotta haul – popsicles, Italian ice, ice cream cake, lemonade, and more! I got $10 back just by scanning my receipt in the app, making this one of the least expensive summer party ideas ever!
Most of the goodies I served were straight from the box other than the beach cake, and I’ve included a step by step tutorial below on how to make it at home! This really is the easiest kickoff to summer party ever!
Why You’ll Love This beach cake
- Easy – since this starts with a store-bought ice cream cake, it’s super easy to make. It’s literally just decorating the cake to look like a beach scene and all the decorating is simple – no need to be cake decorators for this one!
- Refreshing – just like the beach is nice and refreshing, this beach themed ice cream cake is as well!
- Adorable – while it’s easy to make, it’s cute enough for kids and adults to be impressed! Perfect for summer parties, beach themed days, and even under the sea birthdays or baby showers (one of my favorite baby shower themes for girls).
Beach Cake Ingredients
- Ice cream cake – while technically you could do this with something other than an ice cream cake, I personally love the way the ice cream and frosting mix together to create what look like ocean waves or swirls. Plus, ice cream cake is delicious – my personal favorite type of cake! I recommend getting one of the rectangle Carvel ice cream cakes, although all sizes will get you $1.00 back in the Ibotta app!
- Graham crackers – you can use either graham crackers or graham cracker crumbs – the Honey Maid graham crackers will get you money back via Ibotta, so I went with those!
- Frosting – I grabbed aqua blue funfetti frosting that came with little fish sprinkles and was the perfect ocean color. You could also just grab white frosting and use food coloring to dye it blue. If you’re doing this, make sure to combine all of your frosting and dye it all together rather than dying the two containers separately – you’ll end up with different blue shades, I promise. You could also use your own homemade frosting (cream cheese or buttercream work), but I like to keep things simple so store-bought frosting worked great for me!
- Candy – now this is where things get fun! Ibotta was doing money back offers on a number of different candies at different stores including everything from Sour Punch Straws to Mamba sticks and even gummy bears. I grabbed a variety of different candy items that would be perfect to decorate my beach scene and went with it.
I also used some little drink umbrellas to give it that real beachy look. They’re optional but do make a huge difference for setting the scene on this unique birthday cake idea!
How to make a Beach Cake
Once you’ve finished your shopping (don’t forget to scan your receipt in the Ibotta app before you lose it!), it’s time to decorate your cake. I recommend doing this in a couple of different steps and putting the cake back in the freezer between steps to let it freeze up again if it starts to thaw while you’re working on a step.
1 – Remove the Frosting
The first thing to do is remove the frosting that comes on the store-bought cake. You can do this using a spatula, a knife, or really any method you want. Try your best to do it in one smooth motion for each side. You can break it up into half sides but you’ll get the best result if you try to do a good portion of the frosting at once.
You can either keep the frosting to use for something else or just throw it away.
It’s okay if there’s a little bit of the icing leftover, especially on the top. You’ll just cover it with sand or other frosting. You just want to get rid of the majority of the frosting and the sprinkles, so it looks more beachy and less birthday.
2 – Add the Ocean Frosting
Once the original frosting is gone, it’s time to add the blue frosting to the top and sides of the cake. You’ll want to frost all four sides and half of the top of the cake.
Unlike a lot of cakes where the decorating needs to be smooth and even, you don’t need to worry about making it all polished and smooth. I actually purposely made the edges a little wild and uneven, like waves crashing along the beach.
3 – Add the Sandy Beach
If you are using graham crackers, pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until you get fine crumbs. It’s okay if there are a few small chunks but mostly you want it to be graham cracker crumbs.
Once you have crumbs, carefully pour the graham cracker crumbs on the other half of the top of the cake, connecting to the frosted ocean you made earlier.
4 – Decorate
Last but not least, it’s time to turn that empty beach into a busy one full of candy beach towels, gummy rings, Sour Punch floats, sucker balls, and more!
Use all of the candies you picked up to create a busy beach scene both on the and in the ocean. I tried to create little sections of my scene based on my most recent trip to the beach.
Rows of people sunbathing on towels – I used little Sour Patch Kids in vibrant colors on top of Airhead Extreme Strips and then added some drink umbrellas around. You could also use gummy bears, graham cracker teddy bears (aka teddy grahams), or really any other type of “creature.”
In the back, I created a fun in the sun shop with umbrellas, floatable rings, balls, etc. that you can rent. The balls are Dum-Dums in a variety of colors (they have a money back deal in the Ibotta app) with the stick cut short, just pushed down into the sand.
And then in the ocean, I added people swimming, floating on rings, and floating on Sour Punch Straw rafts! That would be me – the one floating on the raft! And around the people, I added schools of colorful Swedish Fish and of course, a few sharks.
You could also add some fish or other sea creatures along the sides of the beach cake if you want, but I tried to do this as quickly as possible since again, it’s an ice cream cake, but if you can be quick, a few fish in the ocean would be fun!
Oh and don’t forget the sharks! There’s just something about sharks that kids (adults) love, especially on an ocean cake.
Don’t forget to put the cake back in the freezer to allow it to harden up again if any of these steps take you a while (especially the decorating). No one will care how cute the beach themed cake looks if it’s completely melted!
And there you have it – a super simple beach cake that’s not only adorable but delicious as well. And there was no baking involved at all! This is one of my favorite cakes I’ve ever made, and I’ve made a lot of cakes!
Kickoff to Summer Party
In addition to my cake, I filled cute little beach balls drinks with Florida’s Natural lemonade (also an Ibotta cash back offer!) and a whole buffet full of popsicle, ice cream, and Italian Ice options for the ultimate summer celebration!
Don’t crowd the cake with candy so much that it just looks overloaded and not like a beach scene but make sure to have enough that everyone will get a little bit on their slice of cake (or when they pick it off if they’re like my kids).
Add frosting to the sides of the cake in one smooth motion from one side to the other instead of frosting back and forth. Back and forth tends to bring up the white frosting underneath, which can look cool, but it’s really not the look you’re going for.
Plan out your beach cake decorating before you start actually adding things to the cake (and keep the cake in the freezer while you plan). This will make it easier to make it look like you’re hoping without disturbing the ocean frosting and graham cracker sand.
Don’t forget to check your app for details as offers change frequently and may not be available in all areas. All offers were valid as of publish date.
Top the cake with blue frosting for the water, graham cracker grahams for the sand, and lots of little candy decorations that look like towels, people sunbathing, people floating on tubes, and more. It’s so easy to turn a cake into a beach themed cake and a super fun idea for a summer party!
Use graham cracker crumbs (or graham crackers processed into crumbs) for a sandy beach on a beach cake. If you want to add shells or large clumps of sand, you can also use small candies, chocolate seashells (or edible seashells of any other sort), or larger chunks of graham crackers. I’ve also seen people use brown sugar as well if none of those are options.
You can and should freeze this beach cake since it’s an ice cream cake underneath. If you’re planning to freeze again before serving, wait to add the drink umbrellas until right before serving. Then cover loosely before freezing to keep things in place without messing up all of your decorations.
More Summer Recipes
- Old fashioned jello poke cake – if you need the perfect sweet treat for summer, this is it! A delicious and easy cake that’s filled with raspberry flavor!
- Oreo ice cream cake – if you like ice cream cakes, this delicious dessert only takes 3-ingredients to make!
- Kool aid pie recipe – a super simple pie recipe you can make in minutes and bonus, no special equipment needed!
- Strawberry cheesecake bars – these layered bars have tons of strawberry flavor combined with cheesecake and a crunchy streusel topping!
- Brownie fruit pizza – a delicious fruit pizza that starts with a brownie box mix and gets finished with tons of fresh berries!
- 1 75 oz Carvel Ice Cream Cake
- 2 tubs Aqua blue vanilla frosting
- 8 graham crackers
- Sour Punch Straws
- Sour patch kids or gummy bears
- gummy rings
- Airhead Extreme Strips
- Dum-Dum suckers
- Swedish Fish
- gummy sharks
- Remove the frosting that comes on the store-bought cake with a spatula or knife.1 75 oz Carvel Ice Cream Cake
- Add the aqua blue frosting to half of the top and all four sides of the cake.2 tubs Aqua blue vanilla frosting
- Place the cake back in the freezer and allow the frosting to set and the cake to refreeze (if it has started to melt).
- Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they become graham cracker crumbs. Pour graham cracker crumbs on top of the cake on the half that does not have blue frosting.8 graham crackers
- Decorate the beach and water with towel using the Airhead strips, Sour Patch Kids or gummy bears, candy rings, and more. Finish it off with little drink umbrellas, Swedish fish, and gummy sharks.Sour Punch Straws, Sour patch kids or gummy bears, gummy rings, Dum-Dum suckers, Swedish Fish, gummy sharks, Airhead Extreme Strips
- Place cake back in the freezer until you're ready to serve.
- Slice cake into pieces and serve directly out of the freezer.