It’s unpopular opinion time here on Hannah Bakes Things: I don’t like decorated cakes. Okay, before food bloggers everywhere start hunting me down with torches, I don’t mean all decorated cakes, just the ones with silly characters made from more fondant or royal icing than there is cake. I just don't go in for that at all. I’d much rather have a really tasty treat than a bland sponge cake with diabetes inducing amounts of sugar on top in the shape of a cartoon character. But then this week I had to make good on my months old (and very naive) promise of a cake for my 4 year old brothers birthday party and a compromise had to be found.
This year he wanted a pirate themed birthday party and so last week Pinterest became my best friend. After half an hour scrolling through boards from some very gifted parents, and from amazing food and craft bloggers I’d found a complete menu (cake included) and some amazing party game suggestions (including walk the plank which the children adored). I found some amazing inspiration for themed cakes including many variations on the pirate ship cake, one of which was made with buttercream - success! A cake I could honestly enjoy making and which would (hopefully) blow the socks off a gang of pre-schoolers.
I didn't find a recipe that I liked online, only photos so I had to do a bit of guesswork. I used a really basic chocolate sponge mix to make 3 square cakes which could be divided into two triangles for the front, a square for the middle and a small rectangle to sit on the back and then coated them in an ungodly amount of chocolate buttercream (because I’m a responsible sibling) to hide the joins. I did see some amazingly decorated versions of this with proper ‘wooden’ effects in the icing that put this to shame but I don’t think my buttercream effort looked too bad at all and it barely took any time to make or decorate so I’m counting it as a win.
We used some skewers and paper for the flags, small pirates from his toy box to sit on top of the ship and maltesers for cannonballs. I was a little disappointed that it was so incredibly hot in the UK last weekend so the cake couldn’t sit out and be admired for very long, and ended up far too sticky for me to take much of a goody bag home but otherwise I think this was not a bad go at all.
After this, I'm definitely going to be stepping out of my comfort zone and looking more at interestingly decorated/built cakes in the future. It's nice to present something that looks as good as it tastes for once so I'm welcoming any recommendations or decorating/piping advice that anyone can offer.