Decorating Ideas for a Luau Cake

Tropical flowers top a luau cake.

Planning a Hawaiian- or tropical-themed party might require you to find some easy decorating ideas for a luau cake.

Hula Time Cake Designs

Choose a novelty cake design that is actually sculpted to look like the figure it represents. Decorating ideas for a luau cake that is sculpted include:

  • Roasting pig: Make a cake that represents a pig that was roasted for a luau feast. Recreate the entire pig or just the face.
  • Hula girl: Use a doll cake mold for baking the cake, and then place a doll inside with a swimsuit or Hawaiian shirt on top. Decorate the cake to look like a grass skirt.
  • Flip-flops: Cutting out the shape of flip-flops from sheet cake pans is relatively simple, even for an inexperienced decorator. Cover the cake in buttercream or fondant, and use licorice for the top part of the sandal.
  • Palm tree: Use the discontinued Wilton cake pan in the shape of a palm tree (find on, eBay, borrow from a friend/library). Decorate it with buttercream frosting using the enclosed instructions.
  • Tiki face: Create a tiki face made of cake. Sculpt the shape of the face, and then decorate with chocolate buttercream or fondant frosting.
  • Luau foods: Pineapples and coconuts are staples on a tropical island, so decorate your cake to look like these delicious luau foods. Use a piping transfer to put them on top of a sheet cake or make miniatures to affix onto a tiered cake. Sculpt one and use it as the top tier of a stacked cake.

Tropical Luau Flower Cake Designs

A beautiful way to decorate a luau cake is to use tropical or Hawaiian flowers in the cake design. Whether you use frosting, gum paste flowers or even edible flowers, they are sure to make a luau cake look lovely. Flowers to include are:

  • Hibiscus
  • Orchids
  • Tulip Anthurium
  • Plumeria
  • Ti or banana leaves


Use leis in a variety of ways on cakes. Create a border for a sheet cake with a lei. Leis can also surround the base of tiered cakes, whether round or square. Leis can also be placed down the side of a tiered cake. Tint the buttercream or fondant frosting a color that matches those used in the lei.

Flower Toppers

Wedding cakes, anniversary cakes and birthday cakes with tiers often have toppers. Make a topper using tropical flowers. The topper could be real, faux or even made out of fondant or gum paste. Make the rest of the cake match the topper by scattering flowers around the top and bottom of each tier.

Cupcakes with Flowers

A simple way to decorate a cupcake is to top it with a tropical fondant flower. Put a thin layer of buttercream frosting on top of each cupcake. Then place a fondant or gum paste orchid or hibiscus on top of the frosting. When you make the flower, be sure to size it so the flower covers almost the entire top of the cupcake for the best look.

More Decorating Ideas for a Luau Cake

Cupcake with hula girl topper

Depending on your cake decorating skills, you could try one of these fun cake designs for your luau cake:

  • Airbrushed sunset over an ocean and sandy beach on a sheet cake
  • Fondant waterfall down the sides of a tiered cake
  • Sculpted volcano and lava
  • Seashell accents on a number of cakes
  • Cake shaped like a ukulele

For quick and easy cake decorating, purchase cake and cupcake toppers instead of making each piece yourself. Pick items that will help complete a scene, such as a hula girl on a surfboard on top of a cake decorated like ocean waves. offers these cake toppers:

Regardless of whether you have professional decorating skills, or are just starting out, you can find a decorating idea for a luau cake that works for your skills level. Remember to choose cake and frosting flavors that fit your luau theme, such as a coconut cake with pineapple filling.

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Decorating Ideas for a Luau Cake