How To Make A Pirate Skull Cake

SERVES 25


Aaargh...with it's shiny gold tooth and fondant eye patch, this pirate skull cake will be the hit of your little matey's party! It starts with an easy to use skull shaped pan that's roughly iced in buttercream and has fondant accents to finish. We used pieces of gum to make the teeth quick and easy and some optional graham cracker crumbs to look like sand. This cake is perfect for a beginner because the icing doesn't have to be smooth..we're talking skulls here...and the fondant can be wrinkly to look like fabric.


We used our Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe because we wanted that deep chocolately flavor, but a box mix will work just fine too. However, we would definitely skip the store bought icing and make 1 batch of our Brenda's Bakery Buttercream recipe instead. You need an icing that you can spread easily and smooth a bit with a spatula and storebought icing just won't cut it.


RECIPE NOTES: You can bake your cake a few days ahead, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready. Just pull it out, remove the plastic wrap and let is thaw a bit before starting to ice it. (You still want it chilled when you start).


You can also prepare your buttercream a few days ahead too. Just cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to avoid crusting and place the mixing bowl in the fridge. Pull it out the morning that you're making your cake and let it come to room temperature. Stir with a rubber spatula to revive the texture before starting.

Availability: In stock

Shop ProductsPriceQty
Classic Chocolate Cake (See RECIPE Section)
Brenda's Bakery Buttercream (See Recipe Section)
Easy Skull Shaped Cake Pan
$9.95
Fat Daddio's Red Rolled Fondant Icing - 8oz
$5.95
Fat Daddio's Black Rolled Fondant Icing - 8oz
$5.95

Out of stock

Luster Dust - Antique Gold - 2g
$4.95
Paintbrushes - Set of 5
$8.95
White Square Gum (Such as Chiclets)
Graham Cracker Crumbs
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Availability: In stock

STEP 1: BAKE CAKE AND MAKE ICING: THIS CAN BE DONE 3 DAYS AHEAD

Generously coat your skull pan with baking spray (we use Baker's Joy ) and bake your Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe or box mix according to the directions. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so and then flip out onto a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Remove and let thaw a bit when you are ready to start your cake (you definitely want your cake to be firm and chilly so don't let it come completely to room temperature).

Make one batch of Brenda's Bakery Buttercream. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Remove the morning that you are making your cake and let it come to room temperature. Stir with a rubber spatula to revive the texture.

How To Use A Skull Shaped Cake Pan

STEP 2: CRUMBCOAT AND ICE CAKE

Spread a really thin coat of buttercream on the cake to seal in the crumbs and then place it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so, until the icing feels firm.

Crumbcoating a skull cake

Remove it and then add a thicker layer of buttercream. You can fill in the left eye cavity completely with icing (you'll be putting an eye patch there) but try and preserve the rest of the cake shape as best possible. Don't worry about preserving the teeth, you'll add that part later too. Place the cake back in the fridge for 30 minutes, until firm.

How to ice a skull cake

Heat some water in the microwave for about a minute, until very hot. Dip your spatula in the water, shake off the excess and then run your spatula over the cake to smooth out the surface as best possible. Take your time, but don't worry if it's not perfectly smooth. The skull can be a bit rough...it's a pirate party for heaven's sake! Once you think it looks pretty good, place it in the fridge while you work on your fondant accents.

How to smooth a skull cake

STEP 3: ADD FONDANT ACCENTS

On a surface covered lightly with powderd sugar, roll out  4 oz. of red fondant into a rectangle. Ours measured 4 1/2 " x 11". Trim one long side so it's nice and neat. Remove the cake from the fridge. Lift the rectangle and place it on the cake loosely to create a bandana. Give the bandana some wrinkles to mimic fabric texture.

Rolling out red fondant

Adding fondant to a pirate cake

Trim any excess fondant off from the sides of the bandana. Then, roll out some additional fondant into a 5" x 5" square. Cut the square diagonally into two equal triangles. Brush a little water on the long side of the triangle and then fold it in half to create a tail. Add the tail to the cake using a bit of water to adhere. Repeat with the other triangle and then add ball of fondant in the middle to create a knot.

Next, take some tracing paper or parchment paper and lay it over your skull pan. Use a pencil to draw the size of the eye patch, evil eye, nose and mouth. (We enlarged the mouth to make room for the teeth and gave it some smile lines). Cut out your paper shapes and lay them on some rolled out black fondant. Cut the pieces from the fondant and lay them on your cake.

Adding a face to a pirate skull cake

If you want, you can roll a few tiny ropes out of black fondant and add them to the evil eye and edges of the mouth to create some extra character...totally optional.

Then, cut a thin strip for the eye patch string. Cut it in half and add it to the right and left of the patch. It will stick in the buttercream on it's own.

Adding details to a pirate skull cake

STEP 4: ADD TEETH AND REMAINING ACCENTS

Brush the back of the gum pieces with a touch of water and place them on the fondant.

Adding gum teeth to a pirate skull cake

(This next step is totally optional but we kind of loved it!) Mix a little gold luster dust with a few drops of vodka or clear extract. The mixture should be liquidy but not watery...a paintable consistency. Paint one of the teeth gold and then paint the edges of the bandana as well. Keep stirring the mixture if it want to separate or add a few more drops of extract if it starts getting dry.

How to use luster dust

Painting a pirate skull party cake

To create polka dots for the bandana, roll tiny balls of black fondant, squish them between your fingers and adhere them with a dab of water. Finish the cake with graham cracker crumbs around the edge to mimic sand. Wow! Now this show stopping pirate party cake is done!

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