My little kids are obsessed with pirates. Our swing set out back is officially a pirate ship (fueled by swing power, of course), and I’m regularly asked to play Captain Hook. Last week I decided to win some “great mom” points by making some pirate cupcakes, so I started searching Pinterest for ideas. Much to my dismay, all the cute pirate cupcakes were made using fondant, which I just think is plain icky. I know, I know, there are certainly “better” fondant recipes out there, but I have yet to try one that tastes anywhere near as good as plain homemade frosting. Plus, crafting fondant creations is just beyond me – I’m pretty terrible at decorating cakes – so I needed to come up with something easy. So the troops and I set out to the store to figure out how to make cute & easy pirate cupcakes using candy, not fondant, as the decorations.
We started with an easy one: gold doubloon cupcakes.
I scooped frosting into a sandwich bag, cut a hole from a corner, and “piped” the frosting on, starting at the outside and swirling into the middle. We crushed up graham crackers to make “sand” and then dropped on a few candy pearls (I found these by the cake decorating stuff in the baking aisle – they’re called cupcake gems by Betty Crocker). Top it all with a chocolate coin and you’re done! Easy.
Next we made pirate ship (Jolly Roger) cupcakes:
For these I used a sharp knife to slice vanilla and chocolate sugar wafer cookies into the right shape. Then I put some chocolate chips in a sandwich bag, melted them in the microwave, clipped off a corner of the bag, and piped chocolate out to “glue” the ship together. I laid the ships down flat on a plate and popped them in the freezer for a few minutes to harden up. TIP: if your frosting isn’t stiff, it helps to stick a toothpick behind the ship once it’s on the cupcake so it doesn’t fall over.
Next we made treasure chest cupcakes.
I got the light brown frosting by mixing some baking cocoa and yellow food coloring into white frosting. For the treasure chests I started with two Hershey’s nuggets, mini M&Ms (mine are actually candy covered sunflower seeds, but same same), and more melted chocolate chips in a sandwich bag. Put them together as shown below and then pop in the freezer until hard:
And finally came the actual pirate cupcakes:
His face is a vanilla wafer cookie. I wrapped a piece of fruit by the foot around the top third or so and folded it over onto the back (just squish it down on the back and it will stay). I added more candy pearls to make polka dots on the bandana and then used more melted chocolate chips piped from a bag to make the eye and eye patch. To get the dark red frosting I used baking cocoa and lots of red food coloring in white frosting.
And there you go! Four varieties of cute pirate cupcakes that are all easy to put together and all taste great. My kids were thrilled. They’re also going to be thrilled about the all-new Tinker Bell movie that’s coming out on April 1st – it’s Tinker Bell in the world of Peter Pan, and I think my youngest son and daughter will both love it. If your kids love fairies and pirates too, you can buy it in Blu-ray and Digital HD here on April 1. Check out the Facebook page for more info.