This was the best birthday cake I have made and our son loved it. We had a pirate birthday theme for his 4th birthday. I got all my ideas from this website for a pirate ship cake because I am not a professional cake maker but just do my best.
Before I go into what I did for the cake, let me tell you about the decorations (a few of them) that would make your party fun. I had a blue tablecloth and put a fish net over the entire table. I also got off of eBay some personalized miniature candy wrappers with a pirate and our son's name and birthday date as well as yo ho ho or something like that. I also got the Veggietales Jonah ship and some other pirates and that was our centerpiece.
I made the invitations myself and this is what it said: Ahoy Matey! Ye are hereby invited to join me and set out for an adventure. I, Captain Joshua, will be in the (last name) harbor in search of a fresh crew. Bold buccaneers wishing to set sail for a swashbuckling adventure party should come for an exciting journey. (No liver-belly cowards or landlubbers need attend.) Signed, Captain Joshua YO HO HO (pirate picture) 4th Birthday Celebration Date Address (harbor) RSVP by August 23rd ~ Or Walk the Plank! I Used the Matisse ITC font. I was able to take it from Word and into PP and flipped the whole invitation backwards so they had to read the invitations in the mirror - the code invitation was cool.
Okay, here's the cake. Bake two boxed cake mixes in 9 x 13 pans. If necessary, wrap the cakes in plastic before you carve the cake for about 20 minutes to make them firmer. Two drinking straws stuck through the layers of cake will help keep them together. Cake should be completely cooled before carving.
Place one cake on the serving platter. Cut 2 1/2" slice from one short end of the second cake. Cut the remaining piece of the second cake in half horizontally. Attach the cakes together with frosting between each cake.
With a serrated knife, cut a step from top layer of back end of ship to create a third level of the ship as shown on picture. After all the pieces are assembled, cut boat shape using the template as a guide.
Frost the entire cake with dark chocolate frosting. (The boat should be 15" long and cut it at the 2 ends in the shape of a boat.) Using a small fork or butter knife, gently score the entire cake with wavy lines to simulate wood. Decorate around each cannon with yellow frosting so it looks like a window for each cannon.
Use the whipped icing (dark chocolate) because it's much softer and spreads smoother without causing the cake to break up.
Construct a balcony fence from pretzels and outline the bow of the ship with pretzels. You could also use Pepperidge Farm cookies sticks to make edging around the ship or chocolate licorice sticks. For the cannons use tootsie rolls OR silver candles (or however many your child is for his age) make cannons on the sides of the ship.
For the cannon balls USE malted milk ball candy or some other round candy. You can make sand by using crumbled graham crackers. Find a toy palm tree. I put chocolate frosting down before I put the "sand" on. Captain Pete stayed better with frosting on his feet. Kermit the frog pirate was very cute in his boat in the "ocean." 1/2 of a Hershey bar can be used as a plank.
Use Goldfish crackers for fish in the ocean. I forgot to do this. Print flags from the internet and the wording for the birthday greeting on stock paper. To hold the sails use chopsticks or dowel rods and wrap the largest one with butchers twine. I did not have to use twine to keep them up.
Use half an ice-cream cone for the crow's nest attached to a chopstick. I had to use a little twine on the bottom of the crow's nest to keep it up. I used an Oreo cookie and 2 pretzel sticks to keep the steering wheel of the ship looking good.
And of course, add pirate figurines. I was fortunate enough to find on eBay the Disney pirate characters. I also decorated the back part of the ship with our son's initials.
It was an awesome cake and our son loved it -he absolutely loved it!
I sure hope this helps some other little boy have a smashing birthday party!