Aka the Ultimate “Drunk Barbie” cake.

The week before we left for Mexico (which happens to fall on Tyler’s spring break/birthday every year), Jen and I were researching Gluten-Free cakes. We found 2Good2Be in Encinitas, but when looking for custom cake ideas and inspiration, I somehow decided I should just make the cake myself. Her boyfriend had a drunk ken doll cake for his birthday, so we thought it would be fun to do something similar (but a little more tame and low-key).

I wanted to take the “drunk barbie” cake concept, and go above and beyond. After compiling different cake recipes, decorations and ideas, I came up with:

gluten-free coconut layer cake with blue ombre layers, and buttercream frosting. Crushed graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar on top to look like sand and rock candy on the sides to look like sea glass.

Taking the “easier route” I got boxed (or bagged in this case) gluten-free cake mix. However, I was warned that the vanilla flavor tends to be bland and dry, but I needed the cake to be white for the rest of my plan to work. So I found this jazzed up coconut gluten-free cake using Pamela’s cake mix.


Next, I wanted to do a layer cake, and I’ve always wanted to try ombre. I did some research and came across different formula’s for the blue layers. This ends up being pretty easy because all you need to do is add different amounts of blue dye to each layer.

For the frosting, I didn’t want to go overboard with the coconut flavor, so I found a buttercream frosting used for another layer cake.

I had seen this type of “sand” topping made from graham crackers and brown sugar. Being gluten-free, I found mini gluten-free graham crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers.

If I had all the time in the world (and a candy thermometer) I would have made my own sea salt candy. However, I decided rock candy would have to do, and picked up an 8 pack of what ended up being cotton-candy flavor turquoise rock candy from Party City.

For the props…thank god for Amazon! I purchased this barbie (perfectly strawberry blonde), cake decorating beer cans, and 21 and legal cake topper all from Amazon.

I also bought the following special equipment: 2-3 9” cake pans, cake leveler and angled spatula.

I made four levels (so I doubled the cake recipe and made 4 9” cakes but ended up just using 3). Below is exactly what I used.


Gluten-Free Coconut Blue Ombre Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting
For the cake:
2 bags Pamela’s Vanilla Cake Mix
8 eggs, large
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups coconut oil
2 cups shredded coconut
Blue food coloring

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the toppings:
6 rock candy sticks, crushed
1 1/2 cups mini gluten-free graham crackers
Pinch of brown sugar

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Beat eggs until thick. Add oil, milk, and flavor and mix well. Add Cake Mix and beat on medium/low for 2 minutes. Fold coconut into cake batter.
  3. Evenly distribute cake batter to 4 bowls.
  4. Add 25 blue drops to the first bowl, 12 blue drops to the second, 5 blue drops to the third, then 1 blue drop to the fourth.
  5. Lightly spray and oil all pans. Transfer cake batter to the four pans.
  6. Bake each layer for 24 minutes.
  7. Cake is done when it springs back to a light touch. Over baking will cause dryness. Frost cake when cooled.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and whipping cream on medium speed until moistened and uniform.
  2. Increase speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.

Assembling the cake:

  1. Use the cake leveler to cut the tops off each layer. Place the darkest blue on a display cake or cake stand. Cover with some of the buttercream (I didn’t use exact measurements, I just eyeballed it and made sure it was completely covered with enough to create some space between the layers).
  2. Top with the second to darkest layer. Repeat until the lightest blue layer is on top (again, I only used 3 layers).
  3. Cover the layer cake with the remaining frosting.
  4. Add the crushed rock candy along the sides.
  5. Sprinkle the graham cracker/brown sugar on the top.
  6. Decorate with barbie, beer cans and 21 and legal cake topper.