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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WFMW: Make a Lighthouse Cake

cake 041

I promised a tutorial and here it is!

You will need:

cake 010

  • 1 8”-9” round cake layer
  • 12 cupcakes
  • 2-4 bamboo skewers (we used 4)
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  • 1-2 cans white frosting (we used 1)
  • food coloring (we used paste), yellow & blue
  • 1 sheet of black construction paper
  • scissors
  • clear tape

One recipe of chocolate cake batter from my Betty Crocker cookbook was enough to make one round layer and 1 dozen cupcakes. I used silicone cups for the cupcakes. Highly recommended: freeze your cake and cupcakes before attempting to assemble (nope, I didn’t do this cuz the kiddos were anxious to make this thing, but I regretted it later---you’ll see lots of cake crumbiness in the pics).

cake 012 Place your layer on a serving plate, slightly off-center. Slip strips of wax paper under it around the edge (protects the plate from superfluous frosting---you’ll remove this later).

cake 013 Place 3-4 cupcakes, upside down, on one side (I know this shows 3, but I added another one later as I built the “cliff”).

cake 014 Frost your cupcakes on all sides with the chocolate frosting, filling the gaps between them and the cake. This is the base of your “cliff.” Add 2 more cupcakes on top, overlapping between the cake and the cupcakes.

cake 017See all those cake crumbs? (Subliminal message: Freeze your cake:-) Frost on all sides, I added another cupcake on top of the cake to build some rocks.

cake 019 Frost just the top of one cupcake…

cake 020 …and put it upside-down on the cake, next to the cliff. This is the base of your lighthouse. Repeat, using the white frosting, placing each cupcake on top of the previous one.

cake 022You’ll notice by the time you’ve got about 4 on that, well, it looks a little like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is where the bamboo skewers come in.

cake 023 If you freeze your cake (hint, hint), 2 will probably be enough…I needed 4 ultimately and a lot of delicacy until the frosting dried. Don’t do what I did…figure out exactly how long the skewers need to be and CUT THEM before you put them in the cake. The final tower will be 6 cupcakes high with a little paper peak that can hide the ends.

cake 026 cake 030 Frost the outside of the tower with white. I found I had to add a little milk to make it more spreadable. Put some of your white into a small bowl and add yellow coloring.

cake 031Make it nice and bright. This will be for your light.

cake 032 Put cupcake #6 on top, right-side-up. Frost it with the yellow.

cake 033Now, you’ll want to smooth your sides as much as you can and cover any cake crumbs, ahem. Time to make the water.

cake 035 I don’t know how well you can see this, but try to keep it streaky…you want it to look like waves and whitecaps.

cake 036After covering the cake crumbs on my cliff, I frosted the edge in chocolate (saved me from opening the 2nd can of white frosting).

Using a lid from your frosting, trace a circle onto your construction paper and cut it out.

cake 037 Cut a line from the edge to the center. Overlap the 2 edges of that line to make a short, fat cone (you want it to be just slightly bigger than the top of your tower). Tape in place with your tape. And crown your tower.

cake 045Now, you could add a Daymark, a railing, a ladder, whatever you want. We kept it simple because…I didn’t know if it was going to fall over. And I already had 2 whole cans of frosting on it.

You might also like our family bakery.

Or how to make your MP3 player into an e-reader.

This post has been linked to Works For Me Wednesday over at We are that Family.



  1. Oh how fun! I am always looking for things like this to make for Carter! Oh he would love it! What a neat idea!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. What a fun project for the kids to work on and eat!

  3. Thank you, it really was a lot of fun. ;)

  4. This looks like a great project for the kids! I was trying to figure out how you got it to stand until I got to the pic with the dowels through the cupcakes, ingenious!


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