How to decorate a pirate cake

Ahoy me hearty! Serve this pirate cake to your mates and they'll be swashbucklin for a piece!

Step 1: the cake

Start with either a single or double layer round cake.  This is the shape of the face and bandanna.

Step 2: butter cream icing

Flesh colour:

Take a serve of butter cream icing and add one drop of red food colouring at a time to tint it to a flesh couloured pink.

Adding the colouring a drop at a time prevents over colouring.

Note: adding a 1/4 drop of green will darken the pink to a brownish colour if you don't have a brown colouring.

When adding colouring, sometimes it's best to put some in a small dish and add it with a toothpick by dipping the toothpick in the colouring then into the frosting.  This helps to avoid adding too much colouring at once.

Bandanna colour:

Remove 1/3 of the butter cream and add more red until you have a deeper shade for the bandanna.

Step 3: decorations

Using white fondant (or ready to roll icing) cut one circle for the eye and 10 smaller circles to be used as dots on the bandanna. Instead of fondant, you can use white marshmallow halfs (cut with scissors) for the eyes and small white mints for the bandanna dots.

Note: prepare the white/pink fondant first and put it aside so it doesn't mix with the black fondant and stain.

To cut the circles, use the different ends of a piping tip, as seen here, and gently pry out with a skew if needed.

Using the off-cuts from cutting the circles, roll up again and add a touch of red food colouring until you have a deeper shade of pink to the butter cream frosting.  Roll this out to a long thin saussage and three small balls for the mouth and nose.

Using black fondant (or ready to roll icing) cut the same size circle in black as the patch and roll our a long thin piece to be used as the patch strap.  Also cut out a small circle to be used as the pupil on the visible eye.  Roll a small saussage for the eye brow which is also tapered at each end.

You could also use licorice as an alternative to the black fondant.  This can be bought in strips and cut as needed.

Step 4: icing

Cover 2/3's of the cake in the chosen flesh tone.  Apply thickly and evenly.  Don't worry if it isn't completely smooth at this stage as you can smooth it later.  Ensure you cover the sides as well as the top.

Note: preparing with the lighter colour first helps keep it clean when adding the darker colour.

Next add the bandanna colour to the remaining part of the cake.  Also cover the sides of the cake as well as the top.

Step 5: smoothing the icing

Prepare a large tall glass or dish with very hot water.  This is to dip your metal spatula or knife into to heat it up.  Once it has heated up, give your spatula or knife a quick wipe then smooth it over the icing, first over the top, then around the edges of your cake.  Continue to dip and wipe, sometimes replenishing the water if it gets cold too quickly.  If you have a turn-table it comes in very handy here as you can hold the knife in place and turn the cake to get a smooth, even finish.
Sometimes smooth everything as best as you can, then put the cake in the fridge to set again and have another go.  Repeat this process until you are happy with the finish.

Step 6: decorate

Starting with out white, lay the decorations on the cake for the eye and polka dots,  Next add the nose and mouth, followed by the strap for the patch, the patch, the pupil and the eye brow.

Have fun and enjoy your work!

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