Categorized | Desserts, Recipes

Pirate Birthday Cake


pirate birthday cake

Many boys love pirates. For them, a pirate birthday cake will be treasured. The pirate cake will also be good to make for Halloween. This pirate design was adapted from

Ingredients Need:

  • One 8” inch cake in flavor of your choice, completely cooled.
  • A printout of a Pirates of the Caribbean Medallion
  • Parchment paper
  • Pencil
  • Black icing (instructions below)
  • Golden icing (instructions below)
  • Spatula
  • Clear piping gel
  • Decorating bags
  • Wilton #3 tip or other medium writing tip
  • Wilton #12 tip or other medium circle tip


To find a suitable image for your cake, you can search through Google Images to find a “Pirates of a Caribbean Medallion” that you can print out and trace.

google pirate images

In the example above, the 2nd image in will work well because it is centered, straight and there is a lot of definition that shows the design well. Print out the picture.

To get the design on the cake, you’re going to use what’s called a gel transfer which means you pre-draw your design on parchment paper, make an outline with clear piping gel and then transfer it to your cake. This will help eliminate mistakes and ensure a well planned and placed design on your cake.

Get a sheet of parchment paper and trace out a picture of the medallion that you have printed out from Google images.

trace pirate design

Set this design aside for now.

Preparing Your Icing:

add black colorTo make this cake, you need two icing colors…black and gold (or yellowish gold). It’s not easy to make those colors perfectly, but I’ve got some decent options for you.

For the black, start with chocolate icing and added black coloring gel as you can see in the picture on the left. The darker the cocao you use for your chocolate icing, the darker the result will be.

Then, for the gold color, start with white icing. Add yellow coloring gel and then double the amount of brown coloring gel to get a golden color. It’s not shiny like gold, but it does the trick.

adding gold color

Frost Your Cake

Now you can do the basic icing for the cake. Sliced the cake in half to make 2 layers. You can do this very easily by using a cake leveler. If you don’t have one, using a knife or thread will do.

Next, put a big dollop of the yellow icing on the bottom layer, making sure not to go right to the edge. You don’t want the yellow icing to mix with the black icing you are going to add to the outside.

add middle icing

spread middle icing layer

Now you can put your top layer on the cake and start icing it with the black icing.

add black icing

Always aim to put all the icing you’re going to use right on top of the cake. Then you start working it to the edges with the spatula. As the icing hangs over the sides, you then put your spatula at a 90 degree angle and turn the cake to create (relatively) smooth edges.

black iced cake

Once your cake is iced, you can put it in the fridge to let the icing set while you work on your gel transfer.

Transfer the Medallion Design to Your Cake

piping gel clearNow it’s time to get your tracing design out. You’ll need some clear piping gel that you put in a decorator bag and a small writing tip (Wilton #3 works well).

Trace along your design with icing tip. You should flip it over and avoid putting the pencil side on your cake, since pencil isn’t food safe. You can see in the image below that the gel design is a bit simpler than the original pencil one. This was done to make decorating a lot easier, so feel free to adjust how you need to make it easier for you too.

pirate gel design

Now, you can bring your cake out of the fridge. Very carefully, flip the parchment paper over and place it as close to the middle of your cake as possible. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect…as you can see in the picture below, it’s off to the side in our example. Trying to adjust it after you’ve put the parchment paper down will just result in a messy design.

transfer design to cake

Gently press on the paper to ensure the gel image is fully transferred onto the cake. Gently remove the paper when you’re done.

gel image of pirate

Now it’s time to use your golden icing to create the design. Use the #3 tip to do the thin lines and small dots. Use a #12 tip to do the larger dots and to create the dotted trim around the bottom of the cake. Use a small spatula to spread the icing for the skull. And as a finishing touch, mix some black coloring gel with some piping gel. Then use a #3 for a spooky shiny black color to for the eyes, mouth and ears.

There you have it … a really cool pirate birthday cake!



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