I've made this cake twice now, and twice I've taken pictures of the final product but sadly not the pictures showing the process. This is just a demo of a larger scale cake I made last May for a birthday party. Since I didn't take pictures while making last years cakes, and since I don't have a reason to make another large scale pirate ship cake, I decided just to show the techniques using a store bought pound cake.
Of course you don't have to use the same cake recipes as I did. You don't even have to make the cake from scratch, a store bought cake mix brand will work just fine in making a totally awesome pirate ship cake.
The recipe I used for the first pirate ship cake was one I found from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style recipe book called Birthday Sheet Cake. I did alter her recipe slightly by adding orange zest instead of lemon zest which is what she adds to her birthday sheet cake. The cake tasted just as good as it looked believe it or not.
The second pirate ship cake I made is a vegan version with chocolate, raspberry, and cashew nut butter. The texture of this cake is super moist, which made it a little more difficult to build a pirate ship out of it. But it was the BEST tasting cake by far I've ever had. The recipe couldn't be any simpler and it's such a rich, super yummy cake you HAVE to try it!
For the cake:
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the frosting:
24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.
For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it's thickened.
Spread the frosting evenly on the cake.
The second pirate ship cake I made was using a tasty vegan recipe I found online from Moosewood Restaurant
Deep Chocolate Vegan Cake
For the cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn oil works well)
1 cup cold water or chilled brewed coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously oil an 8-inch square and dust with a little sifted cocoa, or line the bottom with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. In another bowl, combine the oil, water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well- blended and smooth. Add the vinegar and stir briefly. The baking soda will begin to react with the vinegar right away, leaving pale swirls in the batter. Quickly pour the batter into the baking pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Transfer to a plate when cool and glaze.
Chocolate Cashew Nut Butter Raspberry Glaze:
In a double boiler or small, heavy saucepan over a medium flame, melt 1/3 cup raspberry jam with 1 1/2 cups carob chips or chocolate chips and mix thoroughly and add 2 tablespoons of cashew nut butter (feel free to add more cashew nut butter if you desire a nuttier flavor) to the chocolate as it is melting. In another small saucepan mix 4 tablespoons of jam with 1 tablespoon water and warm over a low flame until the spread liquefies. Brush the water-fruit mixture over the top of cooled cake. Spread the chocolate/cashew butter nut mixture on top of that. Allow the glaze to cool before cutting the cake. Serves 8.