This pirate ship cake was one of the best cakes I have done yet! And also the easiest on party day. I started with ideas from this site and ran with it.
I made 30 18 inch round halves with regular Betty Crocker mixes. One was triple chocolate, one French vanilla and the third was marble with a combination of the two. When the over filled cakes came out of the oven, I placed parchment paper over the top then placed a Lucite cutting board over the entire thing.
Then, I put the heaviest pot in the kitchen on top to squish it down! I know it sounds weird, but it is my secret to a fabulously moist dense cake that nobody believes came out of a box! After 10 minutes or so, I cut the excess off and flip onto a cookie sheet. I covered it with parchment, then foil and finally plastic and sent it to the freezer.
Once all three halves were frozen solid I cut the side view of a ship from all 3, frosted them together with chocolate frosting (canned Betty Crocker) and send it back to the freezer.
After being cut, the bottom of the ship was now flat and the front of the boat curved upward. I then carved a ship shape from the mass. When the cake is frozen, it is very easy to work with. From the pieces I cut off, I made a small cabin on the back of the ship.
On Party day, all I had to do was pull it out of the freezer and frost with canned chocolate frosting. I stuck in the sails that I had made earlier, placed a tube of plastic pirates on board and decorated with chocolate candies and cookies.
Last but not least, I colored piping gel blue for water and put in the dreaded shark! What a hit!