Tuesday, July 12, 2011

There Be a Pirate Party (Part 2)... And Treasure Map Cake!

Ahoy, mateys! (Sorry, can't help myself...)

To quickly recap the first post of this series, my 3-year-old daughter just got potty trained and wanted to celebrate with a pirate party. I didn't have an opportunity to make a lot of things myself because the party planning all kind of happened at the last minute. One of the things that I did make was an awesome, candy-covered Treasure Map Cake. I am not a cake decorating person usually, but this was fun and easy to do. I thought I would go ahead and share the basic steps with my readers so that you all could do something similar for a child's birthday party or even Talk Like a Pirate Day.

- A cake (boxed or homemade... I used a box of strawberry cake and filled the center with strawberry jam at my daughter's request)
- Vanilla frosting (again, I used store-bought, but you could totally do homemade if you are awesome like that)
- Wilson's Royal Blue Icing Color or something similar
- Icing spatula
- 1 tube of Wilson's Lemon Yellow Decorator Icing (or yellow icing color)
- 1 coupler and decorator tip for the tube of icing (if you dye your own icing yellow, then you'll need a bag for piping as well)
- Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly candies
- Tropical or Sour Mix Jelly Belly candies
- Twizzlers or Red Vines
- Chocolate Twizzlers or Root beer flavor licorice
- Spearmint leaves
- Swedish fish or gummi fish (and/ or gummi sharks)
- Root beer barrels
- Pirate candles or decorations (these are optional, but definitely added some pizzazz to the cake... if you want everything to be edible, you could probably make these out of fondant)

Step 1: 
Once the cake is cooled, filled, and pulled together, mix a few drops of the Royal Blue Icing Color into the vanilla frosting. I used the icing spatula to cover the entire cake with blue frosting. Since it is supposed to look like water, the icing does not need to be completely smooth. I actually went back and added some texture to create "waves" in the icing.

Step 2: 
Pipe yellow icing onto the cake into the shape of an island. Fill in and smooth out to your desire.

Step 3:
Decorate with copious amounts of candy!

- Use the chocolate or root beer licorice for palm trees and cut spearmint leaves to make the tree tops.
- Root beer barrels look like kegs of ... ummm... root beer (rum for grownups).
- Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly candies make great footprints.
- Twizzlers or Red Vines make an "X" to mark the spot.
- Use the gummi fish and sharks to decorate the water and add to the nautical feel of the cake.
- Decorate the bottom rim with the colorful Jelly Belly candies to look like pretty rocks

This is your chance to get really creative with the cake! I got most of my ideas just by going to the bulk candy aisle of the supermarket and looking around. It is pretty amazing to see all of the cool candies available now!

Step 4: (optional)
Add the candles or fondant decorations. I placed the pirate ship candle in the island's harbor, and I used the rest of the candles to decorate along the side of the cake. This can be left out or done to your taste. I found my candles at Party City though, if you are looking.

Step 5:
Enjoy that beautiful cake! This is an overall view of my finished product so that you can see how I laid out the candy decorations and candles. The overall effect is bright and whimsical, which is perfect for kids (or fun-loving adults).

Aside from baking time, I would say the cake took about 30 minutes to decorate. I only have two warnings about making this cake: 1) It is more difficult to cut than a cake decorated entirely with icing because you have to kind of maneuver around some of the candy and remove the candles before serving; 2) It is extremely sweet-- cut small pieces! But personally, I thought it was worthwhile to see my daughter's excitement at her "cool pirate cake."

I hope you found some interesting ideas here for the next time you want to have a pirate-themed party. This Treasure Map Cake is sure to be pleasin' to the eye!

(Please Note: I bought and paid for all of the ingredients myself. I know I mention a lot of brand names in this post, but this is just to give my readers and idea of what worked for me! There is no intention of endorsement here.)

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