Jan 05

Pirate Party, Aaarg!

by Hannah Holt »


My oldest recently celebrated his golden birthday. He was really excited about the “golden” part. Perhaps I let him get a little too carried away with birthday madness, or maybe I got carried away myself.

But whatever the case, I helped him plan a pirate themed birthday, and it was a lot of fun. Maybe every other year I’ll let him do something like this.

First I let him design his own invitations:

I helped him pick out fonts and colors, but not bad for a seven-year-old, eh?

Then we went to the party supply store, where I accidentally left my budget in the car.

But our games were cheap. We had a pirate obstacle course that included walking the plank [couch], climbing up the crows nest [stairs], going under a pirate cave [the table], and hopping across rocks.

We also had a treasure hunt leading to gold [of the chocolate variety].

We topped off the evening with a pirate ship cake:

Here’s how I made it:

1) A few days before the party, I preprepared two 9×13 inch cakes, wrapped the cooled cakes in plastic wrap, and placed them in the freezer. Freezing cakes doesn’t affect the texture, and it makes them easier to carve. I used this recipe for chocolate cake.

2) The day of the party I placed one of the unwrapped but frozen cakes on a bread board lined with aluminum foil. Then I frosted the top of that cake with butter cream frosting, and topped it with the remaining cake.

3) I used a cardboard cut out as a guide for cutting the boat shape.

4) I used some of the extra pieces of cake to build up the front and back of the ship, like this:

5) Next I tapered the sides of the cake to more resemble a boat.

6) I frosted the outside of the cake in no-cook fudge frosting, added dried butter cream details*, and topped it with a pirate action figure. Fondant would have made a more elegant finish, but I can’t stand the taste of fondant.

7) Finally I rammed three small dowels through the cake and prayed that they would stay up. They did. So I made a few black sails out of construction paper and called it good. {I removed the sails and masts before lighting the candles.}

*This is how you can make dried butter cream details. In hind site, royal icing details would have been easier to work with, but my butter cream details held up.
1) Draw the designs you want {I made porthole windows}, on wax paper. Then make a batch of butter cream frosting.
2) Pipe the frosting onto the designs and let it set for at least a day but preferably two.

3) Using a knife, carefully transfer the dried butter cream details onto the freshly frosted cake.

  1. Cristine Holt

    I’ll bet old-time pirates didn’t know how cool they really were. What a great theme-outline for a super neat birthday party!

    • Hannah Holt

      Yes, I bet old-time pirates were only aware of how stinky they were.

  2. Kirsten

    Awesome, Hannah. Kids’ birthday parties are so much fun. I still haven’t done a post about the Star Wars party we did in November…

    • Hannah Holt

      Oh, I would love to see what you did for a Star Wars party. Please do, post.

  3. Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Thant is one fantastic cake! We did a pirate party on a hot day one year, but I imagine it’s a lot tougher indoors! Hope fun was had by all mateys!

    • Hannah Holt

      Aaar, everyone had a good time. :)

  4. Romelle Broas

    I enjoyed reading about the details of your pirate party. So much fun! My boys are envious.

    • Hannah Holt

      Thanks, Romelle.

  5. Tara Oliver


    • Hannah Holt

      Thanks, Tara.

  6. Leighta Bennett

    Sound like a fun party! And go you with that cake! It looks great!

    • Hannah Holt

      Thanks, Leighta.

  7. Erik - This Kid Reviews Books

    Nice! Happy birthday 7-8-yr.-old son! :)

  8. Erin Bylund

    Fun Party! I love that you let him help plan it. How fun for your kids. I’m terrible at letting my kids help. They offer suggestions and I’m like “Oh, okay, sure, but let’s do this instead . . . ” :)