Cake Walk: Golf Course Cake

This Father's Day, serve up a dessert guaranteed to be a hole in one for any golf-loving dad. The Kitchen shows you a creative and fun way to decorate a cake to look like a miniature golf course!


A golf course cake, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen.

A golf course cake, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen.

Photo by: David Katz

David Katz

Start off with a store-bought chocolate half sheet cake from your local bakery or grocery store. Ask them to ice it with plain vanilla frosting, without any trim or piping. Alternatively, you can bake a chocolate cake and frost it with vanilla frosting. This will be the foundation. 

The decorations for the cake are broken up by the areas of a golf course: the water hazard, the sand trap and the green, which is comprised of 3 types of grass--the rough, the fairway and the putting green. Using a kitchen skewer, trace out the areas on the surface of the cake that you intend to use as the water hazard, the sand trap, the fairway, the rough and the putting green. This makes it easier and less messy when adding the grass later. 

Now that the surface of the cake is prepped, make the water hazard using a 3-ounce box of blue gelatin, following the directions on the box but using only 3/4 cup boiling water (less water will make it firmer). Pour the blue liquid into a small sheet tray so that the gelatin is about 1/4 inch thick. Once the gelatin has chilled and set, use another bamboo skewer to trace the water outline on it. Try your best to match the shape that you previously made in the cake's frosting. Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, remove the blue gelatin from the sheet tray and place it onto the designated section for the water hazard.

The water looks great, but you want to protect it from getting messy during the next step: adding the grass. Take a strip of wax or parchment paper and line the perimeter of the gelatin by standing the paper upright in the frosting. This will stop the grass from ruining the gelatin as you add it to the cake. 

Onto the grass! Just like a real golf course with 3 different types of grass, we are using 3 different types of coconut. The first part of the course is the fairway, or the middle area of the course. For that grass, use sweetened flake coconut. The color of the fairway is a medium green, so a few drops of green food coloring will do the trick. For the grass consistency, you'll want to give this coconut a few pulses in a food processor for a finer, smaller flake size. Once it reaches the desired size, you can use a fork or a stand or hand mixer to incorporate the color. We like using a mixer because it helps spread the dye evenly throughout the coconut. Add the coconut to the designated area on the frosted cake. 

The second type of grass is the putting green--the grass that surrounds the hole. It is a lighter green compared to the other two, so add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring along with several drops of green to desiccated coconut. Desiccated coconut is a good choice for this area because it is finely shredded. Put the desiccated coconut, food dye and about 1 tablespoon of water into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer). Desiccated coconut is fairly dry, so the water will help it absorb more of the dye. Add the coconut to the designated area on the cake. 

The third and final coconut grass is the rough. The rough has a thick consistency, so you'll want to use ground sweetened flake coconut--just like the fairway--but processed to a slightly larger size than the fairway. It is a darker green, so add a few drops of blue food coloring in with the green coloring and sweetened flake coconut and mix with a stand or hand mixer. Add the dyed coconut to the designated area on the cake. 

Next up is the sand trap. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the frosting and cake in the area for the sand trap to create a shallow well. For the sand, scrape out the filling from vanilla sandwich cookies. (Don't throw that filling away, though--you'll need it later for the golf ball!) Finely grind the cookie pieces in a food processor until they are the consistency of sand. Fill in the well with the finely ground cookies to create your life-like sand trap!

This cake looks spectacular, but it still needs a few final details. With a 1-inch round cutter, cut out a hole in the putting green section for your golf ball to roll in. But where's the golf ball? Well, take that reserved vanilla sandwich cookie cream and begin rolling it into a small ball just the right size to fit into the hole you cut out. If the cookie cream is sticking to your hands, use a little powdered sugar. Use the pointy end of a bamboo skewer to put little dimples into the ball if you want. No golf course is complete without a flag for the hole. Tape a small triangular piece of felt to the end of a bamboo skewer and insert it into the hole. 

There you have it! A golf course cake that any dad or golf enthusiast will love. 

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