My 3 year old son loves pirates. He loves to play make-believe about them…”Mom, the pirate’s coming…he’s scaaaary”, he likes to sword fight like them, and he even likes to point them out at local parks. He was just certain he had seen a real pirate last summer. I was really hoping the tattooed man with the scraggly beard and shirt off was hard of hearing as my son pointed at him, yelling, “MOMMY, PIRATE, MOMMY, PIRATE!” So when it came time for his birthday this year, we knew just what kind of birthday bash to throw for him. He positively LOVED his pirate cake and I loved how simple and absolutely adorable it was. I would definitely recommend making this cake if you are looking for something to please your pirate-loving buccaneers! If you’re in a pinch, you may be able to skip a few of the freezing steps below. However, if you have time, I think they are definitely worth the extra effort. Here’s the pirate invite we sent to his friends:
Submitted by Amy ~ The Sisters Cafe
Recipe Source: adapted from Betty Crocker
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
Water, canola oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
2/3 cup chocolate frosting
1 container vanilla frosting
1 chocolate-covered mint patty – eye patch
1 large marshmallow, cut in half – eye
1 blue peanut m&m or gum ball – eye
1 gummy life saver – earring
2 rolls strawberry Fruit by the Foot – stripes, mouth, eye patch
1 black licorice – hat
2 square-shaped candy-coated gum – teeth
Tray or cardboard, covered, at least 18″ x 15″
Gold coins, optional
1. Heat oven to 350 (325 for nonstick pans). Spray nonstick cooking spray on bottoms and sides of 1 (9-inch) round cake pan and 1 (8-inch) round cake pan. Grease them quite a bit, you’ll be grateful later. (I used 2 – 9″ round cake pans and just cut off a 1/2 an inch around the entire cake. It added an extra step but it worked okay) Make cake as directed on box, using water, oil, and eggs. Pour into pans.
2. Bake as directed on box. Allow cakes to cool completely (and I mean completely:). Carefully remove from pans, trying not to loose the bottom of the cake. At this point I strongly recommend freezing the cakes. It makes the cutting and icing steps MUCH MUCH easier. In fact I made my cakes the night before the party, put them in the freezer overnight, and finished up the next morning. I’ve tried to work on room temperature cakes before and it can be very frustrating.
3. While still frozen, use a serrated knife to cut the 9″ cake almost in half. One half will be just a little bigger than the other. If you are like me and like as much guidance as possible, download the template here, and cut out and trace. Or just refer to image below. The smaller half of the 9″ cake will be the hat and the larger half will be the body of our pirate. Cut 8″ cake as directed below. However, don’t discard the extra piece of cake as it says. That will become our pirates nose. Place cakes on tray as directed. Next, shape ears out of the extra pieces on the the 9″ cake. Cut nose out of the extra piece of the 8″ cake. Use a small amount of frosting to attach the ears and nose to the cake. Carefully cover with wrap and place in the freezer for an hour or so until firm again.
4. Reserve 2 teaspoons chocolate frosting. Mix 2/3 cup of vanilla frosting with reserved chocolate frosting. This tints the frosting slightly and will be used as the “skin” color for head, ears and nose. The chocolate frosting will be used for the hat. The vanilla frosting will be used for the body of the pirate. Quickly but carefully crumb coat your pirate. Adding a crumb coat layer to your cake makes frosting SO much easier. All you do is add a quick first layer of frosting to the firm cakes in the appropriate color. It doesn’t need to be perfect, crumbs will show through here or there, but it allows you to do really nice and smooth top layer later on. Cover and put the cakes back in the freezer until firm again.
5. When ready, remove from freezer, smoothly ice your final layer of frosting on your cake and get ready to decorate. Add mint patty for the eye-patch, marshmallow slice and blue m&m for the eye, and gummy life-saver for the earring. Cut fruit by the foot into shapes for the shirt stripes, mouth, and strap for the eye patch and place on cake. Cut licorice to fit hat. Add gum for the teeth and chocolate sprinkles for the whiskers. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Enjoy!
*Some of you have requested a copy of the invitation so I thought I’d show you what it looks like minus all my personal information. If you would like a copy of either a jpeg or photoshop format of this invite, leave me your email and I will send you over an original copy, which you can add your own information to. Sorry I haven’t had time to figure out how to do a shared file. I originally designed the invitation to be 6″ x 6″.