When making a beach, ocean or holiday-themed cake, there is a simple, yet awesome finish that can take a cake from good to amazing – edible sand.
There are many different techniques for making sand around on the ‘net, from crushed digestives (or Graham Crackers in the states) to liberal handfuls of golden caster sugar. I’ve tried all of them, but never been happy with the finish. It just seems a bit too perfect.
The thing about sand is that, when you look at it under a microscope, every grain is different. Different shapes. Different sizes. Different colours. You just can’t recreate that using biscuits or sugar.
When I was tasked with creating a truly wowsome beach-themed wedding cake for Rhonda and Jamie a couple of years ago, I decided to experiment. After a few disastrous attempts and some pretty dicey moments, the following was born.
And so, I am pleased to present my first web-tutorial: Mr Baker’s ultra realistic and fully edible sand!
You will need:
A roasting tin
A food processor (ideally with a coffee grinder attachment)
Cake cut offs
Golden caster sugar
Step 1. Grab some cake cut offs. Although my cakes bake pretty much perfectly flat, I still like to level off the top 1/2” or so to ensure they are completely level. If I know I am going to be making sand, the other half is warned off picking at them and I retain them for later.
Step 2. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grab your roasting tin.
Step 3. Crumble the cake loosely into the tin. You don’t want crumbs, merely chunks of cake in various sizes.
Step 4. Place the tin into the oven for 10 minutes.
Step 5. Remove the tin from the oven and use a large spoon to mix and turn the cake exposing any uncooked parts. Be careful, the pan is hot!
Step 6. Return the cake to the oven for another ten minutes. During this second blast you may start to smell a faint burning smell – that’s ok!
Step 7. Remove the cake from the oven – you should see the topmost parts of the cake are starting to burn. That’s perfect as you want as many different colours as possible – from white through to black!
Step 8. Leave the pan to cool entirely.
Step 9. Once cool, begin filling your coffee grinder (or food processor) with spoonfuls of the overcooked cake chunks.
Step 10. Pulse until the cake is completely reduced to crumbs.
Step 11. Empty the cake crumbs into a clean bowl and continue to pulse the rest of the cake until you have reduced it all to fine crumbs.
Step 12. Double the mixture with an equivalent amount of golden caster sugar and stir through thoroughly.
Step 13. Sprinkle the cake sand on the areas you wish to decorate.
Voila! Fully edible (I promise the burnt bits don’t ruin the taste!) and wonderfully realistic sand!
Top tip: If you would like a slightly firmer sand (perhaps to carve some initials in), melt some butter and stir it through your crumb mixture. Spoon this into position on your cake and press firmly into place.
Don’t forget to tag me on social media if you use my edible sand tutorial – I’d love to see your results!