Pirate ship and treasure island

Pirate ship and treasure island cake

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(7 ratings)

Prep: 2 hrs, 30 mins Cook: 45 mins

More effort

Serves 20 - 24

A stunning children's birthday chocolate cake with hidden treasure buried on a sandy desert island for the kids to dig into

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze sponges only

Nutrition: Per serving (24)

  • kcal501
  • fat21g
  • saturates12.1g
  • carbs72.8g
  • sugars63.9g
  • fibre2.3g
  • protein4.7g
  • salt0.4g
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  • 200g butter, cubed



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 300g dark plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 200g plain flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 250g light muscovado sugar, plus extra for decoration
  • 3 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 200g soured cream
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

For the icing and decoration

  • 150g sieved apricot jam, warmed
  • 650g brown ready-to-roll icing
  • 18 mini Toblerones
  • 6 malt chocolate balls

    Chocolate ganache


    Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…

  • 6 chocolate caramels (we used Rolos)

    Chocolate ganache


    Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…

  • 8 mini chocolate fingers
  • 100g white marzipan
    Marzipan cake



    One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

  • gold covered chocolate coins
  • chocolate skull (optional)

    Chocolate ganache


    Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…

  • 250g royal icing made from packet royal icing sugar (use 250g sugar)
  • blue food colouring
  • 1 chocolate stick (we used Mikado) (optional)

    Chocolate ganache


    Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…


  • 30 x 20cm cake tin
  • 30cm square cake board (preferably blue)
  • 2 sheets black, white or blue paper
  • 2 drinking straws
  • 2 sandwich flags


  1. Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line a 30x20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

  2. Put the butter and 200g of the chocolate into a saucepan and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat. Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Mix in the sugar. Beat together the eggs, soured cream and vanilla extract. Pour the chocolate and egg mixtures into the flour and sugar and beat well until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Leave until completely cold before cutting and shaping.

  3. Cut the cake in half lengthways. Place one complete half on the 30cm cake board. Cut the remaining half into 3 rectangles, 13x10cm, 7x10cm and 10x10cm. Attach the 10x10cm piece to one end of the base cake using a little warm jam. Cut a ‘V’ shape to represent the prow of the ship. Place the 13x10 piece at the other end of the base cake, attaching with jam. Using jam again attach the 7x10 piece on top of the 13x10 piece to make the upper deck. Slice the back of the ship at a very slight angle.

  4. Brush the whole cake with jam. Roll out about 550g of the ready-to-roll icing and cover the cake. Trim the edges at the base and keep any trimmings.

  5. Melt the remaining 100g chocolate in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Use melted chocolate to stick the mini Toblerones to the edges of the two decks and to the ‘V’ shape of the prow. Trim any to fit exactly. Use the chocolate to stick on the chocolate balls for canon balls, finger biscuits stacked up as canons and chocolate caramels for port holes. Using a little of the marzipan, roll out and cut four windows. Make window frames from brown icing trimmings, rolling out to thin sausages to form a cross and sticking with chocolate. Attach to the sides of the ship with chocolate. Poke the chocolate stick out of the front of the prow, if using.

  6. Arrange the chocolate coins in a little pile on the cake board, reserving 3 or 4 coins for the top. Roll out the remaining brown icing and cover the coins completely. Brush with melted chocolate and sprinkle with muscovado sugar. Push 3 or 4 coins into the sand along with the chocolate skull if using.

  7. Put a little of the royal icing in a bowl. Colour the remainder blue. Spread the icing on the cake board around the ship and the island. Use the white icing to make ‘surf’ around the edge of the island.

  8. Using the remaining marzipan and brown icing, make three barrels. Place one on the deck of the ship and the others in the sea. Cut out sails from the paper and make holes in them so you can push the straws through. Attach the sails to the ship and poke sandwich flags out of the top to finish.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Jan, 2016
This was the first proper kids' birthday cake I've ever made and it worked really well. My three year old and his pals loved it. The instructions were nice and clear and there was plenty of room for improvisation (treasure chest, shark fins etc). This is probably really obvious to anyone who has made lots of this type of thing, but it's much easier to ice the cake in sections due to the differing heights. I tried all in one go at first and it didn't work!
Emma68's picture
29th Dec, 2014
I see you put the Icing straight on to the cake without marzipan - is this ok ? As I always thought you needed the marzipan or is this just cake myth?
7th Nov, 2015
I had the same concern but just use the apricot jam to make a dust coat over the coat Nd the icing was fine.
15th Apr, 2014
Made it, loved it, will definitely make this again!
1st Feb, 2014
Few more photos would have been nice .Even the one that is there it is not good .You can't really see the cake.
Jackie Jones
3rd Mar, 2014
I am really struggling to find a 20 cm x 30 xm cake tin. The only one I can is a swiss roll tin which surely is not deep enough? Where can I get the correct sized tin please?
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Mar, 2014
Hi Jackie, thanks for getting in touch. Lakeland do a good selection of cake tins and you can either buy online, by phone or via their website.
7th Nov, 2015
I used curly whirly's cut in half length ways to make the railings rather than mini toberones which I thought looked quite effective.
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