Making water and sand for decorating cakes is a tall order, but one that will certainly make your cake the centerpiece of any table that it stands on. Here some of the best ways to create water and sand for your cakes, and we’ve collected them all here!
- Piping Gel Water
- Buttercream Water
- Crushed Cookie and Wafer Blend Sand
- Pastry-style Sand
The easiest way to make water and sand for cake decoration is to artfully pipe blue buttercream alongside crushed cookies.
With great technique and a variety of slightly different shades of blue, your water will look like it has just washed out of a masterpiece painting! The right blend of biscuits will make your crumbs look just like a beautiful sandy beach.
There are a few things that you ought to bear in mind when using these methods and some others that we like, however, so make sure to keep reading to find out everything that you need to know!
Piping Gel Water
This is an utterly stupendous way to get realistic-looking water into your bakes. Of all the ways that water can be implemented into bakes, this one is the most successful at creating that semi-reflective look of a pool of water, as opposed to the matte finish that most icing-style finishes have.
To make a piping gel, you can mix a third of a cup of granulated sugar, a tablespoon of cornstarch, a quarter of a cup of lemon juice, and a quarter of a cup of water. Mix those ingredients together in a pan over high heat until the mixture boils, and then allow it to cool. The texture should be particularly thick, almost spreadable.
When you’ve got your portion of piping gel ready to go, you need only create a fondant base for it to sit on. The idea of creating a fondant base is that the blue color of a well-dyed fondant will shine through the piping gel, leading to the effect of a brightly sparkling pool of water coming through.
If you’re creating water for a domestic setting like a pool or hot tub, then we’d recommend using a single color of fondant icing to reflect the base of the pool. A good color would be a light sky blue, this matches up to what people expect.
If you’re replicating the sea or a lake, we’d recommend picking a darker base color and doing the majority of the area in that color. Then, add highlights of white and light blue to create the illusion of moving water that has been photographed.
Simply lie down the layer of colored fondant on the cake that you’ve made, and then spread a layer of the piping gel over the top. Try to ensure that your layer is quite thin – this will result in the blue color of the fondant shining through without the gel becoming cloudy and worsening the overall look of the cake.
Buttercream water is a really clever way of doing things, it works in much the same way as a paint by numbers or cross-stitch. Instead, you’re using differently colored buttercream to paint in the shape of the water that you’re making. To have the best effect, use a dark color for your main base color, and then accentuating with lighter blues and white.
The really impressive thing about creating buttercream water is that the final effect has great texture, just like a real body of water. We’d recommend using a piping nozzle which is both flat and has a slight toothing to it. This will mean that you can create textured ribbons of buttercream, ideal for the overall aesthetic of moving water.
When creating buttercream water, you’d be wise to place down a few crumbs over the surface of your cake in order to give yourself a naturally uneven surface to work with.
This will mean that you can create focal points around larger lumps, just as waves would crash around rocks in the ocean. This makes your cake look absolutely stunning, and is certainly worth going to the extra effort for.
When you’ve finished creating the waves of your buttercream water, we would recommend placing the entire cake into the fridge. This will effortlessly firm up the buttercream, allowing you to cut clean slices out of the waves much more easily.
Crushed Cookie and Wafer Blend Sand
When you walk down a beach in real life, the grains of sand aren’t uniform. In fact, they’re far from it! Some grains will be infinitesimally small, while others may be, essentially, small pebbles.
To create this inconsistency in your cake toppings is a particularly difficult thing, but it will truly complete the illusion of fake sand on top of the cake. A lot of cake toppings are purposefully uniform, and avoiding that will be great for creating illusions of any type!
We would recommend crushing up roughly equal amounts (by volume) or larger cookies (such as chocolate chip) and finer wafers. The wafers will easily, quickly, and simply crush down into very fine sand which will remind people of the sand that you can see on expertly manicured beaches across the world.
For the wafers, make sure that you pick up a pack that is a color fairly close to the sand. As much as we all know and love pink wafer cookies, they simply won’t be applicable for use here. Instead, go for something which is golden-brown. When golden-brown cookies are crushed up, they will appear to be slightly lighter, ideal for a great sand-style topping.
This is a really great way to quickly make sand for a cake when you’ve nothing in but ingredients. When making the toppings for a crumble, you typically combine flour, butter, and sugar.
This combination is then mixed together by hand until a sand-like consistency is reached for smaller clumps, and a breadcrumb-like consistency is reached for the larger clumps. This is ideal for making a cake with fake sand on the top – the texture will be perfect, and the flavor will be delicious too!
Something utterly stupendous about making fake sand in this way is that you can use alternative sugars to make the sand appear different. For example, if you’re making sand that is supposed to look like a beach in the Bahamas, then you might want to opt for granulated sugar. This will create ‘sand’ which is very white and quite dense too.
If you’re hoping to create sand that is closer to the color that you might see on a postcard, then you might want to opt for demerara sugar or other brown sugars. These sugars will create naturally darker sand which, when put into place on your cake, will be closer to a gentle golden color, ideal for use in cases where the object is to replicate a beach with sand that’s more yellow.