18, 19, birthday too! plus – pirate fondant cupcake & cake tutorial


2009-05-15 18 wks 01a

Mommy with Henri at 18 weeks old.

Week 18  brought Jakob’s birthday and a fun little party at his school, then a fun little party at my parents’ house since they would be out of town on the day of, then a fun little party (with a trip to the pet store to look at the animals) on his actual birthday.  I miss such celebrations for MY birthday!  Thanks to Daycare Disease we were all sick around here, and those of you with husbands know there’s nothing more pitiful than a hubby who is sick.  When Mommy is sick the world doesn’t stop turning, and every little sniffle isn’t cause to down a bottle of Advil Cold & Sinus…I’m just sayin’.  Anyhoo…the colds eased up and just in time, ‘cus week 19 was crazyness around here!

I was busy knitting non-stop for the 2 weeks, but couldn’t show any photos ‘cus my swatches were for submissions to the Winter Twist Collective.  I don’t know if I’ll get accepted, but keep your fingers crossed for me!

Once the submissions were in I got down to work on the plans for Jakob’s party this past weekend.  We were doing a party for his friends (ok, our friends and family with kids the same age) at a local play area, followed by lunch and dessert here at our place for our close family.  That way those without young kids didn’t have to hang around at the kids’ playground, bored.

I whipped up a batch of cupcakes and debated how to decorate them.  We’d sent out pirate invitations for Jakob’s party, and my mom had found similarly-themed table cloths, napkins, plates, etc.  I knew I wanted to do pirate cupcakes and for a long time the plan was to ice the cupcakes then put some white icing in a bag and pipe a skull & crossbones onto each one.  Thank god I talked to my friend Jessa who quickly extolled to me the joys and wonders of working with fondant.  I am now a convert!

I picked up some supplies at our local bulk/baking store: 1 box of Wilton’s pure white rolled fondant, 1 box of Wilton’s bright colored rolled fondant (contains a pack each of red, yellow, blue and green), some black gel icing tubes, and a tube of sparkly-yellow gel icing.  I took it easy for my first time and stuck with simple techniques.


What do you think?

Pirate Fondant Cupcakes

  • First I baked the cupcakes and let them cool, then did a crumb coat of thin icing
  • I iced them properly with chocolate frosting (store bought)
  • I rolled out some white fondant and cut the circles with a cookie cutter.  I placed a white “face” onto each cupcake and smoothed it in place
  • next I cut green circles with the same cookie cutter, and cut them in half.  Using a Q-Tip and a glass of water, I put a bit of water on the back of the green semi-circle and stuck it in place for the bandana.  I used the green scraps to make little twists for the bandana ties, held in place with another little dab of water.
  • the face was drawn freehand with the black gel icing, followed by a quick dot of the sparkle yellow for an earring.piratecupcakesfo04

I made 42 of them, and they seemed to be a big hit at the party.

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Jakob really enjoyed chowing down on his first of many desserts that day!  He blew out his candle by himself and polished off the entire cupcake before getting into the other desserts and fruit.

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Henri couldn’t have any dessert so he spent the time hanging out with his uncle Mike.  I love this outfit on him- doesn’t he look like he just got back from a round of golf?  I swear, he does NOT look like a 4-month-old!

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Not our best shot, but here’s one of our little gang.

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Mommy with Henri at 19 weeks old.

I’m a few days late for that photo, but we’ll pretend it was taken on Thursday, m’kay?

After the playground we came back to the house to prepare for the onslaught of family (and I mean that in a good way!).  There was much (more) food and laughter and meowing from Sam who was locked in the basement.  When it was time for dessert (again!) I brought out Jakob’s cake.

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I’m so proud of this one!  My first official fondant cake, and I LOVE how it came out!  It was so much fun and so easy to do!  Here’s what I did:


Pirate Fondant Cake

  • I baked the cake and let it cool, then did a thin crumbcoat.  I actually left it in the fridge overnight at this point because I did the cupcakes that night (Friday night).  I only decorated the cake on Saturday night (his party was Sunday morning).  Before putting it in the fridge I lifted the edge of the cake (I had baked it in a springform pan, so the bottom pan was still under the cake) and put a big dab of icing.  When I put the cake back down and pressed lightly the icing acted as a glue to hold the cake in the center of the yellow platter.  Once it had been cooled in the fridge over night the cake was going nowhere!
  • I re-iced the cake giving it a generous coat and making it as smooth as possible.  I even used a piece of carton at one point as a smoother.
  • While the icing set (firmed up a bit) I rolled out a big chunk of the white fondant.  My cake was about 9″ in diameter plus 2″ high, so since 9+2+2=13, I rolled out a circle-ish shape about 15″ in each direction.  I centered it on the cake and went around slowly, smoothing it into place and easing it gently around the edges.


  • Next, with a sharp knife, I cut away the excess.  Everything I read online said to use a serrated knife, but I used a regular flat one (like a sharp butterknife) and had no problems.


  • To make the bandana, I did the same think as for the white face, only at just under half the height.  I cut a straight edge with the knife then placed it on the cake, dabbing a few edges with the wet Q-Tip to “glue” it in place.  Once I had it smoothed nicely I cut away the excess.
  • Once I knew where the face would go I used a small ball of white fondant to make the nose by squishing it with my fingers into a triangular shape.  I glued it in place with some water.  I used 2 balls to make the ears and glued them with the water, but since they were raised from the surface of the platter I stuck a small ball of fondant under each ear to support it.
  • I didn’t have any black fondant and didn’t want to use my gel icing to draw a face on.  I ended up making some black fondant by squirting a big dollop of store-bought black icing from a tube into a little ball of white fondant.  I kneaded it a lot to mix it all together.  Ugh- it was the right color, but incredibly gloppy and slimy.  When you work with fondant you use icing sugar instead of flour to flour your surface and rolling pin, so I kept mixing some icing sugar into my black fondant mess until it was a workable texture.  Luckily the icing sugar didn’t cause the black to get pale.
  • I used a cookie cutter for the eyepatch, squashing the top of the circle somewhat to make it flat.  I put it in place first, gluing with water.  Then I rolled out a long, skinny snake and glued that into place for the band.


  • I used the same cookie cutter as for the cupcake faces to cut circles from my leftover green and glued them down with water to decorate the bandana.  The small circles were cut out with a drinking straw.


  • I rolled out a thick rope of the red fondant and made an actual knot with it, then glued it to the side of the bandana, over the ear.  I stuck on a few random bits of green so it would look like an actual fabric.
  • I rolled a thick snake of the yellow fondant and glued it in place around the other ear for an earring.  Once it had set I took some of the sparkle gel icing and smoothed it over the earring to add a sparkly, shiny sheen.  It took a long time to dry and always remained tacky, so I wouldn’t do that on an area that needed more work.


  • Small bits of the black and white were used for the face.


  • I thought I was done, but last-minute I decided to add a skull & crossbones to the eyepatch.  I made 2 small white snakes and used the knife to make a cut in the end of each.  I pushed the cut open and pinched the middle of each “bone” so they could overlap eachother without having a lot of bulk in the center.
  • The skull is just a small ball of white formed with my fingers.  I indented the eye sockets with the dry end of the Q-Tip I was using to “glue”.


  • Finally I decorated 4 cupcakes to go around the cake.  I didn’t want to stick a candle in the pirate’s face so I made the cupcakes to say “Happy”, “birthday” and “Jakob”, and added a “nd” next to the “2” candle I stuck in the 3rd cupcake.  So all together they said “Happy 2nd birthday Jakob”.

And that’s it!  It took me about 2-3 hours from the second coat of icing on the cake to “gluing” the 4 cupcakes onto the platter with dabs of leftover frosting.  It was totally easy and a very rewarding experience.  Plus a little fondant goes a LONG way, and I have a bunch left over so  I am already planning to make more cakes!


I couldn’t believe Jakob polished off another cupcake, and some fruit, plus a cookie, all after having lunch when we got home after the first party where he’d ALREADY eaten an early lunch and had dessert.  No wonder the kid never napped that day!  He was wound up on a sugar high and exhausted, but we were so proud of both he and Henri.  They were both so well behaved at both parties!  Even though there were over 40 adults and 25 kids running around, neither one freaked out or had a meltdown.  Jakob was polite and didn’t grab at the food or the toys, and even when sleepy later he just lay on the couch next to us commenting excitedly about his new stuff as we opened his gifts with him.  They truly are great kids (ok, I’m biased) and they made us really proud.

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Jakob’s other birthday cakes

Author: Jennifer Lori

Punny dork who makes stuff.

5 thoughts on “18, 19, birthday too! plus – pirate fondant cupcake & cake tutorial

  1. That’s an awesome cake!!! Wish I had known about the coloured fondant when I made a firetruck cake….a RED firetruck….took almost the entire little jar of Wilton red dye!
    Sadly, my pirate is a little old, but maybe we could come up with another idea suited to a 9 year old boy…


  2. Wicked job on the cake. Too bad I’m on my diet and couldn’t try any. The cupcakes were approved by Sean though 🙂 He said they were yummy!


  3. Wow, the cakes turned out great! You did an awesome job. I love the look of fondant. How does it taste? I’ve heard that it isn’t as yummy as buttercream, but does it still taste good?


  4. I think you might with an award for “Best Mom Ever” with that cake. So awesome! And I can’t wait to find out if you got into the Winter Twist Collective!


  5. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I’ll
    forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    I appreciate you for sharing!


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