Big-Bug has been on a huge pirate kick lately and decided he wanted a pirate party for his fifth birthday. There is a pizza arcade in town that has indoor black light pirate miniature golf and it seemed like the perfect setting for a swashbuckling good time.
I always make the kids' birthday cakes myself, somehow it seems a home made cake tastes better (maybe it's the icing?) but I will admit it adds some stress to the party prep...especially when the birthday boy changes their mind about the cake's theme a million times before the big day. Thankfully this year, Big-Bug was super decisive - he wanted a pirate cake and pirate cookies. I found a tube of pirates on amazon that were the perfect size to decorate a cake; just like those little green army men, except they're pirates instead ;-) I was actually pretty impressed when they arrived, I had not expected so much detail on the features. There was even a ship, cannon, barrels of powder and a skeleton! (or as the boys call it "a bone pirate!")
I wanted to have "something for everyone" so I decided to do a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting for the pirates treasure island, and then chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting for the surrounding sea. I an effort to avoid food coloring on the cake, I tried adding blueberry juice to the icing instead of food coloring. It came out pretty good. Not a vibrant blue, but it definitely gave the impression of sea water ;-)
Since the cake ended up fairly involved, I wanted to keep the pirate cookies simple. I had read a blog with a cute recipe for pirate cookies a week or so prior, and I intended to use the pictures of those cookies for my reference. That is, until Big-Bug took a peek at the pictures and saw that the pirates were actually just pirate faces. Apparently that simply would not do, the body just had to be included as well. So...I ended up using a basic sugar cookie recipe for the cookies, cut them out with my gingerbread man cookie cutter and then iced them in about fifty different varieties of royal icing (okay, so maybe it was only three varieties...but it felt like 50!) In the end I was really happy with the way they turned out, and I think the birthday boy enjoyed them as well.
|I learned a neat tip a while back about rolling sugar cookies. If you use powdered sugar instead of flour, you don't end up with that nasty flour-powder smudge on the bottom of your finished cookies! "|
|Putting down a base layer of royal icing|
|Pants, sea-weary faces and eye patches|
|Shirts and bandannas|
|I cut my sugar cookie recipe in half and I still had way too many!|
|All wrapped up and ready to party!|
|devil's food and classic vanilla|
|I read another neat tip about faux sand. Crush graham crackers and mix the crumbs with some brown sugar, then sprinkle it on the cake. It turned out perfect!|
|The swirling seas ;-)|
|Treasure island, chilling until party time|