Tropical Beach Cake

tropical summer beach cake recipe clandestine cake club nottingham how to with sugar and crumbs flavoured icing

June’s Nottingham City Clandestine Cake Club had the wonderful (if I do say so myself) theme of ‘we’re all going on a summer holiday‘ – conveniently it had worked out to be the day before we went away for ours!

Fruity flavours and funky colours were definitely on the menu, and this was a perfect excuse to use some more of my lovely Sugar and Crumbs products. S&C make wonderful flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders, with completely natural ingredients. They were kind enough to send me some to try earlier this year, and I then won a competition of theirs and received another great supply!

sugar and crumbs tropical icing sugar summer cake recipe bundt not granulated or caster

For this cake I used a 500g pack of their tropical icing sugar. If the pink lemonade one smells like Refreshers sweets – this one smells just like Fruit Salad sweets. Sweet tooth? Moi?!
I’d seen somewhere on their facebook page a while back that you can use the flavoured icing sugar in the cake itself, in place of where you’d normally use a white or brown sugar, but after a good search around couldn’t find a whole lot of recipes. Eventually I stumbled on this Powdered Sugar Pound Cake – but had to convert and scale down before I could get to work. It turned out really well and would definitely work in small bundt (or large one if you scaled up), adjusting cooking times of course.

165g butter
225g tropical icing sugar
165g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs

– Beat together the butter and icing sugar. You’ll find this needs to be done very slowly (even if you’re doing it by hand), to prevent a great cloud of sugar dust descending on your kitchen
– Beat in the eggs along with a tablespoon of flour
– Sieve the remaining flour and baking powder, and mix well
– Pour into a well greased tin and level with a spatula
– Bake at 170 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean
– Turn out onto a cooling rack

Tropical Butter Icing
275g tropical icing sugar
100g butter
Tablespoon of milk (if needed)

– Beat together the sugar and butter. Add the milk a little at a time only if the mixture is a little stiff
– Spread all over the cake, or split and colour as desired

I split the icing for my cake into two, for the sand and the sea.

To make the sand, I blitzed up a small packet of biscuits in the food processor. Making a shoreline shape with the butter icing, I then gently pressed the biscuit crumbs all over, until the icing was completely covered.

tropical icing sugar summer beach cake sugar and crumbs recipe crushed shortbread biscuit to represent sand on summer tropical beach cake

It was rather a messy job trying to get the biscuits to stick to the side!

making edible sand on tropical beach summer cake from crushed biscuits

Once the sand had set a little, I set aside a tablespoon of the remaining icing, to stay white, and coloured the rest a light blue, before applying it all over the remaining half of the cake with a palette knife.

tropical swirl icing blue sea

To create the wave effects, I added random and alternate stripes of the white icing, and a bit more blue food colouring. Swirling them around a little with a knife, I then used a palette knife dipped in boiling water to smooth the whole area over.

tropical blue swirled sea summer beach cake

The sand and sea complete – onto those all important beach accessories! How our house doesn’t have any cocktail umbrellas I’m still not sure, but this tutorial on DIY parasols from Food 52 was fun and easy – much better than a drive to the supermarket, which was my back-up option. And all you need is paper, scissors, glue, and a cocktail stick!
I then got to work with my fondant to make the remaining elements. For the beach mat, I used a light brown fondant imprinted with a basket weave, and edged with black fondant. The beach ball was simply for rectangles of red and white fondant rolled together, and the birkenstocks shaped and cut yellow and brown fondants.

summer beach cake home-made parasol beach mat book ball and sandals

Having completely failed at making a bucket and spade, I decided to go down the literary route for the last item. Starting with a ‘cover’ of dark blue fondant, I then rolled some thin white strips, using a cocktail stick to gently press them into place, and black food colouring for the text.

sea and sand summer beach scene cake fondant accessories

Et voila – one tropical beach scene! We had a great time discussing all things summer and holiday at CCC, and of course devouring all the delicious cakes.


I was really pleased with how my cake came out inside – the icing sugar made for a dense but incredibly light texture, a bit of a cross between madeira and sponge. And of course perfectly flavoured by Sugar and Crumbs! I’ll definitely be trying some more recipes with their icing sugars.

tropical cake recipe made with sugar and crumbs flavoured icing easy and light for summer

7 thoughts on “Tropical Beach Cake

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