Pieces of eight…er, I mean cake: how I made the Wee Man’s pirate ship

Although previously the Wee Man was much enamoured of a certain entertaining pink pig, in recent months he has changed his allegiance. Following a trip to a friends house which boasted a television equipped with Sky, and the Disney Junior Channel, he has now become a dedicated enthusiast of the world of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

No surprises then, that with his third birthday approaching at the beginning of this month, he was determined that all related celebratory occurrences should be pirate themed. And of course, that includes the cake. (Although, in deference to his previous piggy obsession, the pirate ship was apparently required to be captained by Pirate George).

So, I pondered. How should I go about making this cake? Since George Pig was required to sit on top of it, it clearly needed to be 3D, and not simply a side on picture of a pirate ship.

Googling pirate tins, I was disappointed by the only two options I found, and so I decided to cobble together my own version and hope it succeeded.

Turning to my Silverwood folding cake tin, I adjusted it to make two rectangular cakes of equal length and width. I decided to make a basic marble cake, as its quite dense but moist – and since I’d be icing the cake with chocolate I didn’t want the entire sponge to be chocolate too.

Cakes baked and cooled, I turned to the sculpting. On one rectangular cake, I cut away either side at an angle on one end, leaving a shape like a wide pencil. Following that, I did exactly the same to the second cake,  but then cut it into three pieces of equal length.

I placed the second cake on top of the first, but then removed the middle slice of the top one and cut it in half horizontally, placing one half of the cut piece back on to the lower cake, and the other half on top of the other square slice.

Terrible diagram of the cutting process...

And there it was! A vaguely pirate ship shaped cake. Whipping out the Nutella (makes brilliant cake ‘glue’), I stuck all the various pieces together, and then got around to making the icing.

For this I used 200g dark chocolate, four tablespoons of water and 150g butter – melted together in a glass bowl over a simmering saucepan of water. This forms a nice glossy and fairly runny chocolate mixture which I then spooned over the cake until it was completely covered. (I put the cake on top of a flexible chopping board for this part). Then, I left it to cool.

Once it was cooled, the icing had set and the cake was looking more ship like – so then on to the embellishments!

Ahoy there

I added Mikado sticks to hold it all together, and make ‘railings’ for the front and rear of the ship. Next I melted some Belgian milk chocolate, and after leaving it to cool for a minute or two, piped this across the ship to create ‘planks’ on the deck. Two pieces of Curly Wurly led from the rear deck to the middle deck as well as lining the rear railings, and Matchmakers formed the tops of the railings, follwed Orange chocolate buttons stuck to the side to be excellent portholes. Lastly, I added a couple of chocolate fingers to either side of the middle deck to prevent the pirates from slipping overboard.

Then I got to work with coloured icing, making long yellow strips to accentuate the front and rear decks, with the leftovers making a sandy beach on the large blue plate (sea) that I placed the cake on. Blue icing added to the plate made rippling waves and I also placed a blue strip around the entire bottom of the cake to prevent icing ‘leakage’ (it was rather a hot day, so just in case!) as well as making a blue anchor to stick to the side of the ship.

George Pig was then crafted from some black and red icing nicked from the Wee Man’s little sister’s ladybird cake endeavours (her birthday is in August too…), a bit of white icing to mix with the red to form pink, and a bit of the leftover blue icing. I used a black cake decorating pen to pick out the fine detail, and Voila – one George Pig Pirate.

So the entire cake and decoration was edible, basically. That just left the mast and flag, and deciding that an inedible option was going to be infinitely easier for that, I opted for one of my bamboo knitting needles, and the cut out middle section of a hat I got in Poundland as the flag.

Shiver me timberrrrs...

Three pirate candles added to the front of the ship, and were ready to set sail 🙂

Then twenty five babies, toddlers, preschoolers and adults later, and we were shipwrecked…

So there you have it. One edible pirate ship, one happy 3 year old 🙂

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