While I was blogging yesterday, Rachael asked me to blog about her 5th birthday party. Never intending to blog about her party, I don’t have too many step by step pictures. Many of the pictures I did take were after the party, after the food had been demolished.
Rachael has a tendency to pick her party theme a year before and stick with it the whole year. On the heels of her Snow White themed 4th birthday party, she declared that she wanted a Rapunzel birthday the following year. Tired of the princess parties, (she had The Little Mermaid the year before) Mike talked Rachael into a Jake and the Neverland pirates party. It didn’t take much convincing, as Rachael loves Jake and all of the Neveland lore. Not long after, Mike showed her pictures of pirate ship cakes, and it was determined that I was going to be attempting a 3D Bucky cake. While I looked forward to the challenge of carving a 3D cake, it wasn’t anything I had done before. So there was definitely an Oh shit element to this whole thing.
First things first
I decided to make a map of Neverland for the invitation. I found some fantastic handmade paper at Michaels, and I also picked up a calligraphy pen, red wax, and wax seal. So, I tried to draw the Neverland freehand while looking at a picture from Peter Pan. Yeah….it looked like an amoeba. I have some artistic talent, but this was clearly not going to happen without assistance. TO THE INTERWEBS! I found a decent picture of the island, printed it and placed it on top of the handmade paper. Since the paper was a bit thick and soft, I was able to use a pencil to trace the outline and then ink over the indentations with a black felt tip pen.
I colored in the details with regular old Crayola colored pencils and wrote in the details with the calligraphy pen. The finishing touch was to seal the map inside the envelope with a red wax seal. I chose to use the initial of our last name. Several parents commented to me that their kids were so excited over the invitation and wax seal. One girl said it made her feel like it was addressed to a princess. Another girl carried her invitation with her everywhere. Rachael was ecstatic over them. It was nice to know that the effort had made so many kids happy.
Let them eat cake!
As I said, I had never carved a cake before but, I’d seen enough episodes of Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, and any other cake decorating show you can think of that I thought, It can’t be that hard. Fortunately, once I found the right cake recipe, it wasn’t as hard as I feared. I made the recipe in two tube pans, and it was amazing: dense enough to hold up to carving; rich and creamy without being sickening. When I did the trial run cake, I felt like the shape kind of looked like a toilet with the lid down, so I changed up my approach for the final go. I lopped off the uneven top, (and then promptly devoured) of one of the cakes and placed it on the bottom as my base. I did the same with the second cake, carved out the rectangle center for the main deck, and then placed the carved out section on the top back. Finally, I carved the front of the ship to look triangular. All pieces were held together with icing.
Crumb coat stage
Tip: Don’t forget to crumb coat your cake! If you don’t, you’ll end up with crumbs in your icing. To crumb coat, simply apply a relatively thin layer of softened icing. I then place it in the fridge to get stiff. Then you’re ready for final icing and, if you choose, fondant.
Here’s the breakdown:
Mast is a dowel rod covered in fondant
Waves, windows, gold details are colored fondant
Waves were made using Wilton fondant and gum paste mold
Cannon is a dowel rod covered in colored fondant
Slide is licorice
Crows nest is a painted Dixie cup that has been cut in half
Sail printed from spoonful.com and is secured with skewers and hot glue
Note the scurvy dog. Hahahahahahahaha *cough cough* *sigh*
The silhouettes were gathered from Spoonful and Internet images. I placed them on canvas, (secure them with something so they don’t slip) and paint over the images. The canvas soaks up the paint pretty quickly, so you can remove the pictures pretty much right away.
I don’t have too many pictures from outside, but we had things broken up into pirate ship, Pixie Hollow, and Mermaid Lagoon sections. On the deck I placed nets and had them entangled with sea stars, Mardi Gras beads, and jewel stickers. Over the patio we set up a canopy as Pixie Hollow. Unfortunately we ran out of time, so my full vision of that didn’t come together. We wrapped twinkle lights up in the cross bars, which were supposed to be obscured by green crepe paper just so you could see the twinkles. We also didn’t have time to hang the fairies from the cross bars, but had a Pixie Hollow table cover. Clearly, Rachael was devastated by the incompleteness of it all.
Digging for buried treasure. I wasn’t fully prepared when people arrived, so I just had the kids bury the plastic dubloons and jeweled necklaces. They buried the treasure and dug it back up over and over again.
We also had coconut bowling, (the kids had a blast with the real coconuts. I was glad we had more than one!) and playing inside the Bucky tent that a good friend was kind enough to lend to me.
For favor bags, I just got the Jake bags from the party store. Inside were wooden instruments I found in the dollar section at Target that I painted so the kids could play pirate rock at home. I also included eye patches and Jake tattoos. Finally, I made under the sea chocolate lollies from the Wilton chocolate pop mold.