Beach Volleyball Cake


It was my friend Chris’ birthday, and I wanted to make something kind of creative. I decided on a beach volleyball cake, since it’s April, which means it’s almost not cold outside. Almost. It was a chocolate cake with salted caramel icing – I figured that if the execution sucked, the cake should at least be delicious. I didn’t really get any good pictures since I assembled it at his house, but you can see kind of what it looked like!



  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 340 mL hot coffee
  • 1.5 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 240g sugar
  • 160 ml oil
  • 100 ml applesauce
  • 1.5 tbsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 320F. Line and grease cake pans.
  2. Brew coffee and set aside.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Combine coffee, apple cider vinegar, sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.
  5. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture and stir until combined. 
  6. Split batter evenly between cake pans.
  7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through. Toothpick should come out clean.


  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • ¼ whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar


  1. Stir granulated sugar and water together in a saucepan (light coloured, not a nonstick) until just dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil on medium heat without stirring.
  3. When mixture turns deep amber, take it off heat and slowly add the vanilla and cream, mixing thoroughly. *
  4. When mixture is smooth, set aside for ~20 minutes.
  5. In a stand mixer, beat together butter and salt.
  6. When caramel has cooled sufficiently, add it to the butter mixture and combine well. 
  7. Add icing sugar and beat at a medium speed.

*The mixture starts to harden immediately, but just keep stirring and you can melt most of it down.


Icing the cake on my new marble turntable!

Once I iced the cake, I covered the top in Graham crumbs (to get the sandy look) and put Guylian seashells on the sides. Seashells kind of go with the beach theme, and they are AMAZING.


I put it in the fridge immediately to try keep the shells in place!

I did the rest of my decorating with fondant. To make the net, I used two Twix bars and attached them by making some caramel. I cut the squares out with a screwdriver – I cleaned it first, but I thought it was safe to assume no one would eat the net anyways – and tried to make it vaguely net-like.


For the volleyball, I just made a sphere and used black food colouring for the lines. 


I think it turned out pretty well for my first attempts with fondant building! 


Happy birthday Chris!


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