Well, technically it wasn’t a cake. It was cupcakes. But I think the idea is the same.
A good friend of mine’s birthday was last week and word on the street was that it was going to be pirate themed. With that in mind, I set out to come up with something tasty and fun I could make him. This is what I finally came up with:
They didn’t come out exactly the way I’d imagined, but even so it was a good exercise in cupcake decorating and cooking and now I know the kind of effort something like this will take in the future. Also, they were tasty.
The cupcakes and icing I pulled from my beloved Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for More Food. He has a chocolate cake recipe that’s easily transposed to cupcakes as well as a recipe for cream cheese icing. In the book he actually has chocolate icing recommend to go with the cupcakes, but since I wanted something white to work with in order to add colors, I went with the cream cheese.
In case you can’t tell from the picture and so-so craftsmanship of the final product, I was going for a “pirate map” look here. I spent an hour in a Party City looking for ideas and came up with the pirate map idea; I walked out of the store with about $20 of toys and a better vision of what I wanted to make. For decorations I ended up with:
- Blue and green icing “mist” for the ocean and grass.
- Black icing for the dotted line.
- Candles (the pirate ship and treasure chest).
- 3x Angry plastic pirates.
- Plastic dubloons, as a surprise.
The final surprise in the X-marks-the-spot cupcake was one of the aforementioned dubloons buried in the cupcake’s center. It yielded the appropriate response (“what…what the hell is this? are you trying to poison me?”). It was good fun.
What would I have done differently? Well, I think I needed to give myself a little more time, for one. I rushed a little bit trying to get it all done the night before I was supposed to give them away; had I given myself more time I think I could have done a tidier job and maybe even put the cupcakes closer together on a piece of cardboard instead of leaving them in the cupcake tin. I also think I officially need something better than a rubber spatula to spread my icing. The spatulas I have are just a little too clunky to do the job.
I’ve decided I like cupcakes. The clean up is a cinch and they take so much less time to bake! I think cupcakes should be the slacker backer’s pastry of choice.
At any rate, happy birthday Steven, and thanks for an excuse to have some baking fun!