Pirate Ship Cake

Pirate Ship Birthday CakeBelieve it or not, this Pirate Ship Cake was our VERY FIRST POST here on Favorite Family Recipes (way back in 2007). I had made this cake for a birthday and thought it was the coolest thing ever, so I took pictures and put it up on this blog for the family to see. Hilarious, right? We have come a LONG way since this was posted! Anyway, back to the Pirate Ship Cake. This looks darling in real life. Sometimes it takes some coaxing for the Tootsie Rolls and Rolos to stay in place but eventually they will stay where they are supposed to. Get creative with this one.. add plastic pirate figuresgold coins and gold sprinkles, whatever you can to make it the best pirate cake ever!

Pirate Ship Birthday Cake

Pirate Ship Birthday Cake


  • 2 baked 9" or 10" round cakes
  • 3 to 4 cups chocolate icing
  • Decorations:
  • Chocolate wafer sticks (such as Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Cookies)
  • Milk chocolate wafer rolls (Waffeletten cookies)
  • Several pieces of white or black paper
  • 3 10" wooden skewers
  • Malted milk balls
  • Rolo candies
  • Root beer barrels
  • Plastic pirate figures


  • Cut the cakes in half and layer them, rounded sides all facing the same direction, adding a thin coat of chocolate icing between the layers.
  • rim the bottom curves of the cakes slightly to help them sit flat, then turn the cakes upright, as shown. (Tip: If necessary, wrap the cakes in plastic and chill in the freezer to make them firmer. Also, two drinking straws stuck through the four layers of cake will help keep them together.)
  • Cover with the chocolate icing, then create planking lines along the hull with a butter knife. Chill at least one hour to firm the icing.
  • Use dabs of icing to anchor wafer stick gunwales along the edge of the deck.
  • Press the wafer rolls into both sides of the ship for cannons.
  • Cut sails from the paper, then slip them onto the skewers and set the masts in place.
  • Add malted milk ball cannonballs, plenty of Rolo gold booty, and root beer barrels, then station a few pirates to keep watch.
  • For safety, place the candles in the cookie cannons, far from the paper sails. Also, make sure that the surface on which the cake rests is impervious to wax, as the burning candles will drip.
  • Adjustments: I made my cake in a Bundt pan because I didn’t have two round pans the same size. I added a Reeses PB cup at the top of the mast as a crows nest.
  • I added Jute for the rope around the masts.
  • For the front bow part (the pole) I whittled a Pirouette cookie to a point and put it on a skewer and poked it in so it stuck out the front.
  • For the gold, I got rollo wrappers and wrapped them around Hershey bar squares.
  • For the cannons I used tootsie rolls (the big fat ones) and shoved a candle in the middle of them.
  • Since the bundt cake had a hole in it, it made the boat a “U” shape, so there was a big pit in the middle of the cake. I just covered it over with a Hershey bar.

Check out some more birthday cake ideas!

Princess CakeHamburger Cake*This post contains links to Amazon.com.  Please note that Amazon prices tend to change often so prices may be higher or lower without notice.


  1. Jenn C. says:

    I love this cake! Thank you for posting how you made it. I am going to make on for an upcoming birthday. Arrrrrgh!

  2. Becky says:

    Wow! This cake is excellent!! Thanks for the great ideas (it came up when I did a google search, and I think I’ll check your site often for ideas) Just one question…did you use a fork to give texture to the side of the ship, or did you use a basketweave tip? Thanks! Becky

  3. Anonymous says:

    So amazing!

  4. Analisha says:

    Oh my goodness…this has to be the cutest cake ever!!! You did such a great job! My little boy would love this…he is only 2, but he loves pirates!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is a brilliant cake! My son who is turning 5 saw it with me and now would love to have it for his birthday so I hope I can make it! thanks for sharing your recipe that is very generous and it is indeed a brilliant cake!

  6. Analisha says:

    I did make this for my sons birthday after all. Mine fell apart not 2 hours later and it was so darn cute. However I think it was because my cake was so moist. So I made another one using rice krispies. It was still darling, but you could see it was a bit bumpy. It did hold together though and I made cupcakes called the "Black Pearl" (chocolate) and "Paradise Island" (white with brown sugar on top to look like sand) THanks again for the great idea!!!

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