I baked the cake and let it cool, then did a thin crumbcoat. I actually left it in the fridge overnight at this point because I did the cupcakes that night (Friday night). I only decorated the Pirate Birthday Cake on Saturday night (his party was Sunday morning).
Before putting it in the fridge I lifted the edge of the cake (I had baked it in a springform pan, so the bottom pan was still under the cake) and put a big dab of icing. When I put the cake back down and pressed lightly the icing acted as a glue to hold the cake in the center of the yellow platter. Once it had been cooled in the fridge over night the cake was going nowhere!
I re-iced the cake giving it a generous coat and making it as smooth as possible. I even used a piece of carton at one point as a smoother. While the icing set (firmed up a bit) I rolled out a big chunk of the white fondant.
My cake was about 9″ in diameter plus 2″ high, so since 9+2+2=13, I rolled out a circle-ish shape about 15″ in each direction. I centered it on the cake and went around slowly, smoothing it into place and easing it gently around the edges.
Next, with a sharp knife, I cut away the excess. Everything I read online said to use a serrated knife, but I used a regular flat one (like a sharp butterknife) and had no problems.
To make the bandana, I did the same think as for the white face, only at just under half the height. I cut a straight edge with the knife then placed it on the cake, dabbing a few edges with the wet Q-Tip to “glue” it in place. Once I had it smoothed nicely I cut away the excess.
Once I knew where the face would go I used a small ball of white fondant to make the nose by squishing it with my fingers into a triangular shape. I glued it in place with some water. I used 2 balls to make the ears and glued them with the water, but since they were raised from the surface of the platter I stuck a small ball of fondant under each ear to support it.
I didn’t have any black fondant and didn’t want to use my gel icing to draw a face on. I ended up making some black fondant by squirting a big dollop of store-bought black icing from a tube into a little ball of white fondant. I kneaded it a lot to mix it all together. Ugh- it was the right color, but incredibly gloppy and slimy. When you work with fondant you use icing sugar instead of flour to flour your surface and rolling pin, so I kept mixing some icing sugar into my black fondant mess until it was a workable texture. Luckily the icing sugar didn’t cause the black to get pale.
I used a cookie cutter for the eyepatch, squashing the top of the circle somewhat to make it flat. I put it in place first, gluing with water. Then I rolled out a long, skinny snake and glued that into place for the band.
I used the same cookie cutter as for the cupcake faces to cut circles from my leftover green and glued them down with water to decorate the bandana. The small circles were cut out with a drinking straw.
I rolled out a thick rope of the red fondant and made an actual knot with it, then glued it to the side of the bandana, over the ear. I stuck on a few random bits of green so it would look like an actual fabric.
I rolled a thick snake of the yellow fondant and glued it in place around the other ear for an earring. Once it had set I took some of the sparkle gel icing and smoothed it over the earring to add a sparkly, shiny sheen. It took a long time to dry and always remained tacky, so I wouldn’t do that on an area that needed more work.
Small bits of the black and white were used for the face.
I thought I was done, but last-minute I decided to add a skull & crossbones to the eyepatch. I made 2 small white snakes and used the knife to make a cut in the end of each. I pushed the cut open and pinched the middle of each “bone” so they could overlap each other without having a lot of bulk in the center.
The skull is just a small ball of white formed with my fingers. I indented the eye sockets with the dry end of the Q-Tip I was using to “glue”.
Finally I decorated 4 cupcakes to go around the cake. I didn’t want to stick a candle in the pirate’s face so I made the cupcakes to say “Happy”, “birthday” and “Jakob”, and added a “nd” next to the “2″ candle I stuck in the 3rd cupcake. So all together they said “Happy 2nd birthday Jakob”.
And that’s it! It took me about 2-3 hours from the second coat of icing on the cake to “gluing” the 4 cupcakes onto the platter with dabs of leftover frosting. It was totally easy and a very rewarding experience. Plus a little fondant goes a LONG way, and I have a bunch left over so I am already planning to make more cakes!