I came across the inspiration for my sons’ pirate themed birthday cake on Pinterest (where else!). The catch was that we were having 30 kids plus adults so over 50 people total. Thus, I needed a sheet cake but I wasn’t willing to spend the money for a professionally done cake on such a large scale. Enter my secret weapon Costco. Previously, I had transformed a Costco cake into a construction zone (read the blog post here) and thought that the store could potentially help me complete my cake vision.On my next trip to Costco, I meandered over to the bakery with a photo of my cake inspiration and asked whether they could create the red and white vertical stripes along the border. I hit the jackpot – not only would they add the stripes they also volunteered to do the blue ocean. Here’s the cake I picked up:
Feeling ambitious, I decided that it would be easy to make fondant for the treasure map. Note to self – you should never add an optional step the night before a party! The recipe I used was relatively easy but I do believe that I would have achieved a better result had I used a store bought fondant. To capture the parchment coloring, I added in vanilla. I rolled out the fondant to about the size of the cake and then cut it into an oblong shape to make the map rolling a couple of the edges to suggest aged parchment. I colored some of the leftover fondant red to make the X. I also cut out a circle in the fondant to create the lagoon for the ship.
After the background had been laid on the cake I began adding the pirate themed birthday candles. Once I had those in place, I used store bought frosting gel to make the palm trees and treasure path. I then added raw sugar around the candles and the edge of the map to mimic sand. I also added in gold coins at the corners of the cake.
Last but not least after transferring the cake to a tray, I covered the cardboard foundation and all the tray edges with the raw sugar. Shiver me timbers, the cake was complete. Best of all, my captains loved the cake!