Pirate Treasure Chest Cake

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June is birthday month!  Did you know?  Practically everyone I know has a birthday in June.  And so I found myself knee deep in icing sugar, and the month sort of blurred by.

Lily decided on a pirate-themed beach birthday party.  We picked a park and planned a pretty sweet party, if I do say so myself.  Her treasure hunt was so elaborate that we had to do a beta test with our friends.

And, of course, I was making her cake.  I’d seen a similar idea around on the interwebs, so I decided to go with it – a treasure chest cake, overflowing with gold (chocolate loonies) and jewels (candy necklaces and ring pops).

I ended up making a gigantic cake, as I tend to overdo it when it comes to servings.  Even after 4 people eating the leftovers each night for a week straight, we still had to throw some out in the end!

I baked two 13″x9″x2″ double chocolate cakes for the base of the chest.  I was going to just go all out with the chocolate buttercream (this kid loves chocolate!), but decided to mix it up and try out a toasted marshmallow filling instead – it went over rather well, actually… although it didn’t taste much different from a regular vanilla buttercream.  The bits of toasted marshmallow added a nice effect.

I stressed a lot about the construction of this cake.  What to make the lid out of?  More cake?  Foam?  Rice krispie treats?  In the end, I went with the rice krispies.  It’s less heavy and slippery than cake, and I just can’t bring myself to put that much inedible stuff on top of a cake.

I cooked up a double batch of rice krispie treats and moulded it with a bit of a rounded top onto a cake board.  In the end, the kids seemed just as excited about the rice krispie treat lid as the cake itself!

I used bubble tea straws as supports, cut at two different heights and with an angle.  I also used some extra trimmings from the cake cut into wedges to help with support and stability of the lid.

With the lid placed, it sat just open enough to fill it with goodies.

 

I hit up Bulk Barn for all the treasure-like candy I could find.  Lots of chocolate coins, ring pops, candy necklaces, rock candy…  And a bit of brown sugar for the sand.  I transported the cake as two separate parts.  I wish I had a photo of my transport mechanism – it was almost as complicated as the cake!  I used two large tupperware bins nested inside each other so I could carry both cakes without them touching.

While the party guests were doing their long and complicated treasure hunt, I assembled the cake on the picnic table.  Lots of people came over to check out what I was doing!  Luckily we found a table in the shade.  I was quite worried as I had made 100% butter buttercream, which is known for its meltiness.  Luckily while it was a warm day, I kept it covered as much as possible and the shade helped a lot.

Of course, once the cake was cut and the sun had moved to the other side of the tree, it was game over… luckily the cake had been cut, enjoyed, and abandoned for swordfighting by then!

 


Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” Cake

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I have a friend (or several, actually) who is a huge Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire fan.  When her birthday was approaching and I started planning out her birthday cake, I was pretty sure I’d do something GoT related.  Maybe something simple, like a house crest of one of her favourite houses.

Oh, I suppose I should add: Spoiler alert!

But then someone said, “the Red Wedding would make an interesting theme for a cake!”  I was intrigued.  How could you encapsulate such a gruesome, horrible situation into a cake?  And then it came to me – well, it was a wedding.  So I started with that.  I made a little wedding cake (3 tiers are 8″/6″/4″, chocolate cake with super rich chocolate fudge icing, at birthday girl’s request).  I threw on some beaded borders and some roses and rosebuds.  Pretty!

Just an innocent wedding cake…

And then I went all House Frey on that wedding cake.  Greywind got the same treatment as in the book/movie, except this time he was to be mounted on a cake instead of his dear Robb.

Assembly of “Greywind” cake topper

Then the blood.  I did some experimenting with different fake, edible “blood” recipes for something that was pretty realistic.  I ended up combining agave nectar (like corn syrup), red gel food colouring, a little bit of chocolate syrup (to make it darker), and some piping gel to thicken it up slightly.

I waited until we were at the party and just about to bring it out to do the drizzling and add the topper.  I finished it off with some flaming red candles, and boom!  Red Wedding Cake.

Finished Red Wedding Cake

It was well received with lots of “Eww”s and “Ahhh!”s. :)  I think my favourite, unexpected moment, was when the birthday girl removed the topper: 

The stakes were there just for support, I swear!

So we dug in and enjoyed the delicious taste of betrayal, which I personally think is a dish best served with vanilla ice cream.

The Aftermath