My daughter has been going through a pirate phase. For a while. Like a year now. It’s incredibly adorable, perhaps especially because it’s my daughter and not my son who is enchanted by pirate lore. Regardless, pirates have become a part of our everyday life.
And birthday parties.
I love to bake, but I am NOT a cake decorator. Not by far. I can pipe out frosting adequately but when it comes to something more elaborate… well, I just don’t have experience there. Still, to make my girl happy, I went outside my comfort zone and made her a cake to remember. A pirate cake. Of course!
I know that pirate on there doesn’t look much like a pirate. She insists he is part of the Playmobil kit of ghost pirates she got for Christmas. I don’t know… He looks a little more zombie-like. Are we meshing trends now? Introducing zombie pirates! Why not?
The pirate birthday celebration doesn’t end with the cake (and birthday girl walking around in her pirate costume for most of her birthday week). Oh no, when we go pirate, we go all out. Including a surprise pirate cruise later today. Because I’m cool like that. Here’s hoping the rain holds out!
I went with a box mix for the cake (I know, sacrilege!) because I’ve not had much luck with homemade so far. I need a better recipe that isn’t dry! To make the ship, bake two 9-inch round cakes. Let them cool completely (I popped mine in the freezer after they cooled for structural integrity during the cutting phase). Then cut them in half. Cut a little off the round bottoms so they’ll sit on the tray. Then glue the layers together with frosting, one stacked on top of the other so the cut middles are on the top and the formerly-round part is on the bottom. Slather a little frosting on your tray to hold the ship in place. I put a skewer through the layers to hold them all together when I transferred to my foil-lined cookie sheet (I know, it’s real classy). Frost the rest as you normally would frost a cake. In my case, that wasn’t well. I really need to make cakes more often.
I did find an excellent Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting on Food.com. I could sit down and just eat this off a spoon–forget the cake! Mmmm… The kids seemed to like it and it got rave reviews from my parents (who thanked me for not subjecting them to dry cake again–really, you’d think I have a reputation for bad cake or something). The accessorizing was a lot of fun. I let the kids go with me to the store to select our edible art (my daughter clad in her pirate costume, of course). We chose a bunch of things that they never get to eat: Fruit By The Foot, Whoppers, Pirouline cookies, shark shaped gummy snacks, Goldfish (Vanilla Cupcake flavor, which I HOARD these, hence why they never get to eat them), and even Butter Rum Lifesavers for the port holes. It was a lot of fun slapping that stuff down to make it look more like the intent.
It couldn’t have been that bad. My brother asked for a pirate ship cake for his birthday. He’ll be 22 years old in August.
- ½ cup + 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 6 Tbsp butter, softened
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups +/- confectioners sugar
- 7 Tbsp natural cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ¾ cup +/- heavy whipping cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy. Add to it the sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Turn on mixer to combine, then slowly add the heavy whipping cream until you reach desired consistency. You may need to add more cream or use less, so don’t throw it all in and hope for the best. Haste makes waste!
- This frosting can be kept in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a couple months.