Pirate Themed – Aaarrr!!

I wanted to do something fun (funny) for my son’s birthday who was turning 27.  I made some labels to put on bottles of Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum but needed to do some kind of cake!  Hummm…cakes are done all the time.  I’m really getting into cupcakes these days.  They’re easy, you can decorate them in different ways and no mess cutting the cake.  But I needed something to go on the top of my cupcake tree…a Pirate Ship!!

I thought about making this out of cake but decided to do it out of Rise Krispie Treats to give myself a little more ease in creation.  This is what I did…

I started by making Rise Krispies according to the instructions on the box.  When cool enough to handle I make a basic ship-shape.  I had a 10-in disk I was going to put the ship on then onto to top of my cupcake tree.  When I was making the shape of the ship I wanted to make sure it was going to fit on my disk.  I made sure to compress the Rice Krispies when making the shape of the ship to get it really firm and compact.

When that set up for a while and completely cooled I started to cut out some of the different landing areas of a ship.  I Google>Pirate Ships to get some ideas.  Taking a sharp knife I began to carve out the sections.  I took a little of the leftover treats and formed a little roll I would later use as part of a canon and a bowl shaped piece for the crows nest.

Next I needed to seal it up with milk chocolate.  I took a bag of melting chocolates and microwaved for 1 minute, stirred, then microwaved for another 15-30 seconds.  The tricky part of this is chocolate sets up faster than icing would.  I used a little rubber spatula and began spreading the melted chocolate onto my ship trying to add streaks to look like planks.  Then I let this set up moving on to some decorative Items I would later use to complete the ship.

I melted some black chocolate in an unsealed Ziplock bag for one minute.  Sealed the bag and kneaded it to melt the chocolate.  Then back in the microwave for another 15-30 seconds and kneaded some more.  Be careful handling your melted chocolate.  The bag can get hot.  Your chocolate should never get really hot so you may want to knead more, microwave less.  Once the chocolate was melted I snipped off the tip of my bag.  I tested on wax paper to make sure the hole isn’t too big or too small.  It’s best to take off a tiny corner then more if necessary.  Now I start making my add-ons to the ship.  I made some railings, a few “canon holes”, of course a steering wheel (with melted milk chocolate).  For the canon I made some wheels with black chocolate and covered my Rice Krispie roll (I made earlier) in black chocolate.  When that set I glued on the wheels with more melted black chocolate and added some milk chocolate to look like there was rope on the back of the canon.  I painted the crows nest in chocolate and kept making anything I could think of.  Some looked really bad, or broke, but I just put that back into the melting bags and tried again.  I find it easier to make my designs on wax paper then gluing them on the ship.  It can get difficult to try and pipe your designs straight on the ship.  Chocolate is runny and has to be kept flat to avoid your design running down.

So, my ship is made and covered in chocolate and on my disk.  I need sails!!  I used PowerPoint to design how I wanted them to look and found a cool skull and cross bone to add to the main sail.  If you are not doing this with PowerPoint then just use some colored paper.  Of course, white sails are always great!!  Print your design on the front and back of your paper.

Cut out the shapes you like and cut the bottoms to look torn from wear and tear if you want.  I rolled them in my hands a little to get a little curve when I got ready to add the wooden skewers.

Now I’m ready to assemble the whole thing.  I glued on all my chocolate pieces before I added the sails.  There were some blank sections so I pulled out my Ziplock bags and made some scroll work and windows.  To keep my extra pieces from getting lost on the ship, I added some red chocolate to my milk chocolate to darken around the windows.  I added yellow to my milk chocolate to lighten my chocolate so my scroll work was more visible.

After I had all the decorations in place I pushed my wooden skewers through the sails then into the ship.  I predetermined where I was going to put the sails and used a skewer to make the holes before putting the skewers with the sails in place.  A little melted chocolate at the bottom of the skewer helped glue the “mast” in place.  Since my design had that triangle front sail I took a needle and black thread, doubled it and pushed it through the tip of the sail and wrapped it around the next mast.  There was a lot of extra thread so I kept wrapping it around some of the other mast to look like rope.

Now I have a pirate ship.  I used this black gauze throughout my decorating so I took a small circle to hide the “white-ness” of my disk.  I put some wax paper down then my ship.  For the water around the ship I had some blue melting chocolates but it was too baby-blue.  I took the blue chocolate and put in a Ziplock bag and added some black melting chocolates to darken my blue.  Then just microwaved and cut the tip off the corner of the bag and squeezed on the water.

Now, the cupcakes!!  I decided to do red velvet since the color looks kinda cool for my pirate theme and tastes great.  I wanted to make 2 kinds of design; a treasure chest and a pirate flag.  I ordered my cupcake wrappers after I had made my chocolates and was so tickled that the design of my wrappers match my chocolates…AAARRR!!!

To make the flags:  This was pretty easy!  I was actually looking for those little paper flags you stick in cupcakes but couldn’t find any…so I made my own…and I can eat these!!  I had some of those candied skull and cross bones you peel off the paper sheets.  I find them at Michael’s almost year round but at lot during Halloween.  Next, I need a flag on a pole.  I took some wooden skewers and cut them in half.  Since the flags were going to be heavier than the paper kind I knew I was going to need more length for the stick than a toothpick.  Next I took some black melting chocolate.  The black chocolate is around during Halloween, too, so I usually get extra bags to keep around.  I melted my black chocolate in a Ziplock bag and cut the tip off one of the corners and piped a rectangle adding jagged edges to one side.  I rolled the end of one of my skewers in the straight end and squeezed a little more black chocolate to make sure my skewer was covered with chocolate.  Then I just gently pressed the candied skull and cross bone into the center of the flag and let set.

The treasure chest:  This took a little more time but was not hard to do.  Nestles makes these Treasures candies that are shaped kinda like a treasure chest.  I picked up a bag of the solid milk chocolate kind.  I took 12 chocolates and unwrapped them all.  Then took some melted milk chocolates and squeezed 6 little squares on my wax paper and put 6 Treasures candies onto each square upside down.  This made the bottom part of my chest and helped keep them from rolling over; let set.   Next I took the other 6 Treasures candies and squeezed stripes in 2 lines across the rounded part of the candies to look like rope and let set.  To make the ‘gold” I took some tiny yellow non-pareils and put in a little bowl then added some yellow sugar crystals and mixed together.  Now to put together…take one of the bottom Treasures and squeeze melted yellow chocolate to cover the flat part of the candy; sprinkle with the yellow non-pareils/yellow sugar crystal mix to look like a chest full of gold.  Add a little more yellow melted chocolate to the back of your “gold” as glue and gently press on one of the top Treasures candy you made with the rope straps.  Make sure you match up the edges where to two join.  Let those sit undisturbed till they are set.  To make that one more thing I took some yellow melted chocolate and made a little oval on the “gold” and added some large non-pareil pearls (had to use my tweezers to add each pearl) to look like a pearl necklace coming out of the treasure chest.

Now I’m ready to put everything together.  I made my cupcakes with red velvet cake.  Once they cooled I took some graham crackers and crushed in a Ziplock bag and added half as much raw sugar to the bag and blended well and poured into a bowl…this will be my sand.  I frosted 6 of the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and dipped my cupcake upside down into my graham cracker/raw sugar mix and added my treasure chest.  I wanted to add a little something for for color so I pipped some melted chocolate onto wax paper to look like sea grass and placed around the treasure chest.

Then I took another 6 cupcakes and frosted 2/3 of them with cream cheese frosting and dipped into my “sand” then frosted the other 1/3 with blue icing, a few blue sugar crystals and added my flags.  Again I needed something else.  Not sure where this came from but I thought about a skeleton hand holding a bottle of rum.  I know, weird, huh?  I piped some melting chocolate on my wax paper to look like bottles adding extra chocolate to give it a rounder shape.  Once those cooled I flipped them over and added more chocolate trying to keep within the same shape.


The bottle wasn’t completely round but had the shape I wanted.  If you want a round shape and your don’t have a mold, start with a round circle of chocolate on your wax paper.  When that has set a little add another circle on top and keep repeating gradually getting smaller to make the neck.  So, taking some white melted chocolate I piped the bony fingers to the bottle.  I made the ulna and radius separately on my wax paper.  I placed my bottle where I wanted it to go on my cupcake then took more white chocolate and glued the arm to the hand.

Now, I still needed some more color…crabs!!  I took some red chocolate and orange chocolate and melted in a Ziplock bag.  I added a little milk chocolate to tone down the color.  Cutting the tip from the corner of my bag I piped a thick dot of chocolate.  I used a toothpick to pull the sides out to make my crab shell shape.  Once they were set I piped the little eyes with black melted chocolate and set aside.  Taking my red/orange chocolate I piped the legs and claw making sure they all connected in the middle.  I made the claw shape by using a toothpick to cut into the chocolate.  Once my legs were set I took a little more melted red/orange chocolate and glued the top to the legs.  These came out about the size of a quarter.

Now, I think I finally have what I wanted, plus I was running out of room on top of my cupcake!!  Just had to put everything together and enjoy!!  I did put my cupcakes into another cupcake wrapper since my design got lost with the darkness of my red velvet cake.

I won’t save any chocolate I have already melted but don’t want to throw it away.  I had an extra jar of honey roasted peanuts when I was making chocolates for my Luau Theme.  I remelted the milk chocolate I had, mixed with my peanuts and spooned into some small brown and gold candy wrappers.  I sprinkled them with some chocolate sugar crystals and a few tiny yellow non-pareils and let set…yummy!!

I found a picture of my son when he was about 4 or 5 years old.  We were in Disney World at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and had his picture taken.  I thought I would make a picture and frame it as something kind of fun.  I did this all on PowerPoint but if you don’t have this just cut and paste using your photo and colored card stock.  Here’s how I did it…