Monday, 19 November 2007
Pirate Ship Birthday Cake
My son Michael turned 6 on the 15th of November. We had decided that we weren't going to have a birthday party this year for Michael but that didn't mean that he wouldn't get a Birthday Cake to cut!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I made brownies for him to take to Kindergarten on Tuesday 13 November for a Fancy Dress party the school was hosting. Then on his actual birthday, Thursday 15 November I made a chocolate cake to cut at school. On Saturday, 17 November, I made the cake for him to cut as his 'official' Birthday Cake. So regardless of having a party or not, he still had a fancy cake to cut.
In any case, with his cousins, uncles and aunts, granparents and godparents visiting, there were still enough people to make up a party. It was a lot easier having a much smaller crowd though and we didn't have to cook a whole lot of food.
But as usual, I digress. This is about his Birthday Cake - Not his birthday party, or lack of one!
Unlike previous years, Michael didn't really know what cake he wanted this time around. He left the decision to me and so I decided on a Pirate Cake. He is into Pirates (among a whole slew of other things) at the moment and he even dressed up as a pirate for the abovementioned Fancy Dress party.
The cake really wasn't all that difficult to make. What I did was to make two round chocolate cakes. I'm going to try and explain this with the aid of some graphics too so that it becomes clearer to everyone. No one seemed to understand my verbal description of how I assembled the cake!!
First, bake two round cakes. I used a 10" springform pan. After the cakes are baked and cooled, stack both rounds on top of each other. This is simply to make it easier to cut and also to ensure symmetry.
Cut the cakes in half horizontally and also the top ends as the above dots show.
You will be left with a trapezoidal-like shape as above. The top ends are cut to enable the cake to stand vertically on the board. The next step is to stack each trapezoidal together, shorter end on the botton. Use some drinking straws passed through all 4 'slices' of cake to secure it. The top flat part now forms the deck of your cake. Using 2 of the 4 remaining arcs, position them to form the bow or front of the ship, as below.
Then fill the empty part with the remaining cake. You now have your ship! If you want to be a bit more creative (I thought of this AFTER making the cake) cut out a 'valley' or depression in the middle of the cake, something like this \_________/ so that you have a raised bow and stern (front and back of ship).
Next step is to ice the cake. I used a light colour for the top of the cake as the deck and darker chocolate icing all around the whole cake. I then used a triangle icing comb to create grooves all around the iced cake.
Now for the masts and the Bowsprit (this is the long piece in front that sticks out of the boat) I printed out red stripes on to white paper and used that for the sails. I cut them out into different sizes for the main sail, main top sail and foresail. This would be a good time to teach your child about what the parts of the ship are called too!!
Wooden skewers acted as the mast for the sails. Simply poke the skewers through the tops of the paper and curve the paper slightly in the shape of sails. Then secure the sails to the skeweres with some sticky tape. This is simply to ensure that the sails don't slip down. Then poke the skewers into the cake. For the Bowsprit, I simply taped together a bunch of skewers with masking tape and then poked it into the front of the cake. There you have it - a lovely sailing ship.
I finished off the cake by attaching a printed out Jolly Roger to a straw and placing the straw over the Mainmast skewer. I intentionally let the pirate flag hang in a sloping manner as pirates are supposed to be untidy and reckless. Then I tied some twine to each mast as a form of rigging.
Finally, I used some of Michael's toy cannons and treasure chest to place on the cake. I even added some Kit Kat Bites as cannon balls!
But.... when it was time to cut the cake, I realised there was no place to put the candles!!! I couldn't very well put them on top for fear of the sails catching fire.
What I did was to place the candles horizontally on the side of the ship, a little like mini cannons!!
Yes! Another succesful project and another very happy Birthday Boy. Aaaarrrhhggg! Avast ye mateys!!