Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake

Everyone loves a day at the beach, but if you can’t make it to the beach, why not bring the beach to you with this adorable and delicious Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake recipe?

pull apart beach cupcake cake

Gone are the days of slaving over a giant cake for birthday parties. Ok, those days aren’t completely gone. 😉

BUT, the new hottest thing (which will also make your life easier) is to make pull-apart cupcake cakes! These “cakes” are simply a group of cupcakes placed next to each other and decorated as one larger entity (like a full cake).

Then when you go to serve them, all you have to do is pull them apart instead of cutting off slices of cake. It’s genius – and SO much easier to manage when you’re hosting a party full of kids grabbing for their slice!

It’s really the best of both worlds because it’s easier to bake and manage than cake. AND it’s easier and faster to decorate than cupcakes!

Pair this treat with some Ice Cream Cakesicles for a fabulous beach or pool-themed birthday party idea!

If you want more themed cupcake recipes, try my Cupcake Bouquet for Special Occasions, Encanto Movie-Themed Cupcakes, or Quick And Easy Sunshine Cupcakes.

Ingredients Needed For Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake

recipe ingredients

How To Make Beach Pull-Apart Cupcakes Cake

Here’s the process of making this gorgeously irresistible dessert!

Step 1

Prepare the cupcake batter and bake according to the instructions on the box.

Step 2

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

Step 3

Whip up a batch of buttercream icing.

Step 4

Next, line up the cupcakes in desired design or pattern on a cake board.

Step 5

With a knife or piping bag, add a small dollop of buttercream to the bottom of each cupcake to hold it in place on the board.

pull apart cupcakes cake process

Step 6

Add blue food coloring to a portion of the buttercream icing. Fill a piping bag with the blue buttercream. Cut off the tip of the piping bag.

Pipe rows of buttercream on the cupcakes in zig-zag rows.

spreading icing onto cupcakes

Step 7

With an offset spatula or larger spoon, create ‘waves’ in the buttercream on the cupcakes.

spreading icing over cupcakes

Step 8

If you are going to write a message on the pull-apart cake, fill a piping bag with white buttercream. You will want to use a #5 tip to do this.

Be sure to write the message before adding any toys or decorations.

beach pull apart cupcake cake

Step 9

Using a bigger piping bag tip, pipe on a thick line of white buttercream around all four sides of the pull-apart cupcakes on the cake board.

Step 10

Spread out the white buttercream border using the offset spatula or a spoon.

Step 11

Next, to create the illusion of ‘sand’, carefully spread brown sugar around the cupcakes. Carefully press the brown sugar sand into the buttercream to make sure it will not fall off when pulling the cupcakes apart.

beach pull apart cupcake cake

Step 12

Finally, add the beach-themed topper or decoration to the top of the cupcakes or board.

beach pull apart cupcakes cake

Homemade Buttercream Recipe

If you want to make your own buttercream, use this recipe.

  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter – softened to room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar – also called confectioner’s sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp heavy cream – milk works too but the frosting won’t be as creamy
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • food coloring 

Buttercream Instructions

  • Beat the butter with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes until it’s creamy. Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and mix on low until it begins to come together. Then increase to high speed for 3 full minutes.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add another Tbsp of heavy cream. 
  • Add a dash of salt if the frosting is too sweet.

Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake Recipe Notes And Tips

  • You can finely crush cookies in the food processor to use as sand instead of graham cracker crumbs if you choose.
  • Use your favorite flavor of cupcakes or make several batches of different flavors and use a variety of flavors together.
beach theme pull apart cupcake cake

Variations Of Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake To Try

  • Place the cupcakes in the shape of a fish bowl. Use blue icing for the water and white icing for the rim of the bowl. Use gummy fish as the decorations.
  • The skies are the limit regarding the shapes and designs you want to make with the cupcakes. Place the cupcakes in the shape of a football, fish, butterfly, ice cream cone, baseball, or a number. Decorate accordingly with appropriate icing and themed decorations.
  • Change up the beach theme to a shark theme if you are a Shark Week lover. 😉
beach theme pull apart cupcake cake


Here are some common questions I see from readers about this Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake – and their answers. If you don’t see your question below, please leave it in the comments so I can answer it!

Can I make the Beach Pull-Apart Cupcakes ahead of time?

I have a few suggestions for making this ahead of time. You can certainly make the cupcakes the day before or even a week or more prior to freezing until you are ready to decorate.

If you do freeze the cupcakes, make sure they are completely thawed before icing.

I would recommend icing and decorating the cupcakes the day of your party or event. You can also do it up to a day before as long as you can store it in an air-tight container at room temperature.

How long will my pull-apart cupcakes stay fresh?

You can store your cupcakes in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 4 – 5 days.

Can I freeze any leftover pull-apart cupcakes?

Yes, you can! You can freeze them for up to 3 months. Once you are ready to remove them from the freezer, allow them to thaw on the counter at room temperature.

More Summery and Delicious Cake Recipes To Try

beach theme pull apart cupcake cake

Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Everyone loves a day at the beach, but if you can't make it to the beach, why not bring the beach to you with this adorable and delicious Beach Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake recipe?


  • Cake Board
  • Offset spatula or spoon
  • Three 12 or 16-inch piping bags
  • Tip 5 piping tip (if writing on cake)
  • 2 drops Royal Blue gel food color
  • 2 cups American Buttercream (recipe is on the PLR section of site if you don’t have it)
  • 12 prebaked cupcakes
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  1. After cupcakes have cooled completely and buttercream is made line the cupcakes on the cake board.
  2. Add a small amount of white buttercream to the bottom of each cupcake to glue it in place.
  3. Fill a piping bag with buttercream that has been dyed blue with gel food coloring.
  4. Cut off the tip of the piping bag (it can be large) and pipe zig zag rows of buttercream.
  5. Use an offset spatula or a spoon to create “waves” on the cupcakes.
  6. If writing on the pull apart, fit a piping bag with tip 5 and fill with white buttercream.
  7. Write message before adding toys to accent.
  8. Add a thick line of white buttercream around all 4 sides of the pull apart
  9. Spread out with offset spatula or spoon.
  10. Top with brown sugar to create the illusion of “sand”
  11. Press the brown sugar into the buttercream so it doesn’t fall off when moving the pull apart.
  12. Add beach themed cake/cupcake toppers and enjoy!

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