I made this cake for a dear friend and co-worker who retired from his nursing career but this design would also make a fun birthday cake. If you change the figures on the top, you have a perfect beach party themed cake for some fun in the sun.
This cake started out with a 9 inch tier on the bottom and a 6 inch tier on top. I used my Intense Chocolate Cake and filled the layers with cream cheese frosting. I frosted the outside of the cakes with Italian Meringue Buttercream. To make the ocean on the bottom tier, I colored the buttercream with two shades of blue and frosted the cake in a hap-hazard fashion to resemble waves. I left a bit of white in the frosting to make it look like white caps.
To make the sandy beach, I frosted the top tier fairly smooth then covered the buttercream with crushed graham crackers. I had meant to mix sparkling sugar in with the crushed graham crackers but realized I had ran out of it. If you try this technique I do recommend you plan ahead and get some sparkling sugar. It creates a sun-kissed sparkle to the sand.
The cute little man, palm tree, walker and life ring were made out of fondant. Vanessa from Sugarness has a tutorial for making fondant people and Sugarella Sweets has a tutorial for a fondant palm tree.