Hawaiian Island Smash Cake

Hawaiian Island Smash Cake

Always my favorite cakes to make - I think smash cakes are just the cutest!

Smash cake requests are my FAVORITES! They're so cute, so fun to make - and they make for the absolute best pictures! 🙂 

I got a request for a 'Hawaiian Island smash cake' for a little girl’s first birthday not long ago…I was so excited!
I kept the decor simple and went with artificial flowers, candy melt seashells, and graham cracker sand. Recipe below! 


"Your recipe calls for cake mixes? Seriously?" 
  • Okay, all my scratch recipe purists - hear me out on this one! 😉 I'm ALL about those scratch recipes because nothing beats them for taste. One catch though - my favorite scratch recipes are delicious, but they bake too dense to be easily smash-able by little hands. After making many smash cakes over several years, I've found cake mixes to work the best. Kiddos need to be able to smash their smash cakes! 😉

    If you'd like a scratch recipe though, a half batch of my favorite Vanilla Cake layer recipe is a perfect size for smash cakes! 🙂 A scaled version perfect for 6-inch cake layers is on the Vanilla Cake layer recipe page, below the standard recipe.

“How do I store this cake?”
  • Before serving, I prefer storing cakes in cake boxes – they help keep the cake from drying out without any plastic wrap touching the sides of the cake and potentially messing up the decorations! I place cakes in the fridge if storing overnight but allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

  • Cover any remaining cake well after serving to keep it from drying out - it will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

Don't forget to pin for later!
Hawaiian Island Smash Cake pinterest pin

Hawaiian Island Smash Cake

Smash cakes are just the CUTEST! Made with bright frosting and candy melt seashells, this Hawaiian Island cake is sure to be a...smash! ;)
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Decorating time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Hawaiian Island Smash Cake, Hawaiian Smash Cake, Moana Smash Cake, Ocean Smash Cake
Servings: 1 smash cake
Calories: 680kcal
Author: Sarah H



Cake layers

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 ounces butter (softened)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 2-4 drops yellow gel food coloring (save & add later)
  • 2-4 drops orange gel food coloring (save & add later)
  • 2-4 drops purple gel food coloring (save & add later)



Cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake pans with baker's floured cooking spray, or grease and line with parchment rounds.
  • Combine melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add in cake mix and stir until moistened (about 30 seconds), then beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  • Using a kitchen scale, divide batter evenly between the 6” pans – I had about 300gin each pan. (Using the kitchen scale guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.)
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired. (This is a great time to make your frosting!)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.


  • Once your cakes are cool, level them - this can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting. Add your second cake layer on top – I like to flip the top layer upside down to make smoothing the top edge easier.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake tiers to keep crumbs out of your final layer. Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to set.


  • Divide remaining frosting into 3 parts, and color one yellow, one orange, and one purple.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layers of frosting with an offset spatula – each covering about 1/3 of the cake – and smooth with a cake scraper. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
  • Melt candy melts in the microwave, in 30-second intervals on half power. Transfer to silicone mold and smooth tops with a scraper or offset spatula, and place in the fridge to set.
  • The rest of the decorating process is fairly simple – top with flowers / palm leaves to your liking, transfer candy melt seashells to the cake, and add a rim of graham cracker crumbs around the cake base to resemble sand.
  • Step back, admire your cake, and find someone to give you a high-five! (Shoot me a DM on Instagram if you can’t find anyone right away!)



(Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate.) 


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g

Mentioned in post - 
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Did you make this Hawaiian Island Smash Cake? 

Send me an email and let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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