Lighthouses hold a special charm for anyone who loves the seashore, and their iconic appearance is easily translated into a cake for special occasions. Make the simple tapered cylinder from a stack of round cakes, and place it on a hexagonal base in a sea of blue icing. For a whimsically authentic beacon, top the cake with an ice cream cone lantern room and a gumdrop light.

Things You'll Need

Prepare two cake mixes, or two recipes of your favorite homemade recipe. Grease a 6-inch hexagonal pan and 5 4-inch round pans with butter or shortening, and dust them lightly with flour. Divide the batter between your pans, and bake according to the cake mix or recipe instructions.

Cool the cakes in their pans for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove them from the pans and transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. While they cool, cover a cake tray with a layer of blue buttercream icing. Make peaks in the icing with an icing spatula, to represent waves.

Spread a thin layer of buttercream icing on each of the cakes to act as a crumb coat, and place the cakes in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes until the icing hardens.

Frost the hexagonal cake. It will act as the base for your lighthouse, so you might opt for a color that suggests rocks or an island. Position the cake in the center of its decorated tray, and insert a 12-inch plastic cake dowel vertically into its center.

Ice the tops of four of the 4-inch cakes, then stack them with the bare cake on top. Trim the tower of cakes with a serrated knife, to give it tapered sides. When you’ve finished, the cakes should look like an upside down cone with a flat top. Frost the cakes, using buttercream that’s a different color from the hexagonal base, then carefully lift off the top layer and set it aside.

Lift the remainder of the tower and center it on the dowel, then carefully slide it down the dowel until it rests on top of the hexagonal cake. It helps to have a helper steady the dowel while you do this.

Make a hole in the center of a round, 5-inch foam cake board. Cover the board in icing and slide it over the exposed dowel at the top of the cake, to represent the lighthouse’s observation deck. Slide the top cake layer back onto the dowel.

Cover the ice cream cone with a layer of icing, and place it upside down on the top of the cake. Press a yellow gumdrop to the top of the cone to make the lighthouse beacon.


  • You can use an additional cake mix and larger cake pans for a large party crowd. If your oven will not hold all of the cakes, or doesn’t bake evenly when full, bake them a few at a time.

  • Alternatively, use a sheet pan as the base for your lighthouse. This creates extra portions, as well as extra space for decorations or a birthday message, without increasing the size of the lighthouse tower itself.

  • For a small group, make the base from real cake and use Styrofoam cake forms to shape the lighthouse tower.

  • If you don’t have ready access to a hexagonal pan or multiple small cake pans, use what you have. For example, you might use 1/3 of a sheet pan for the base, and make your tower from the remainder. Starting with square or rectangular pieces simply means you’ll need to shape the cake more carefully with your serrated knife. You’ll have lots of trim pieces left over, to nibble or turn into another dessert such as trifle.