Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pirate Treasure Chest Birthday Cake

Little Chick's Birthday cake was a Pirate Treasure Chest Cake and I've finally got round to writing about it!  This was really not difficult to make, particularly as it's mainly rectangular in shape.  I made a chocolate date cake in a large rectangular baking tray.  I love how the dates keep the cake moist and sweet without being sickly sweet and go so well with the cocoa chocolatey yumminess. 

Here is my recipe for the Chocolate Date Cake
 (I've adapted a few date cake and chocolate cake recipes I like to come up with this one which seems to work well and turns out very yummy!)

225g dates (stoned and chopped)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g butter
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs
185g self raising flour
40g cocoa

Preheat the oven to 180 oC/160 oC fan.  
Put the dates in a saucepan and just cover them with water.  Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and stir.  The mixture should fizz and may change colour to a dark green. Leave it to cool.  Meanwhile in a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time with a bit of flour with each to stop the mixture curdling.  Fold in the flour and add the date mixture.  The batter may be quite runny but that's OK.

Pour the mixture into a lined rectangular baking tin 33cm x 23cm and bake until cake has risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean, usually about 20-30 min (it depends a bit on how runny the mixture is as I don't measure the amount of water I add to the dates so it's not always the same - I prefer to just keep a eye on the cake whilst cooking.  Why I can't just follow an exact recipe I don't know!)

Once it was cooled I trimmed the edges straight and cut it in half.  Placing one half on top of the other.

To get the tilt of the treasure chest lid I placed the offcuts about a third of the way back and then repositioned the top half of the cake.

I then iced it all over using a chocolate glaze adapted from the Green and Blacks Chocolate Cookbook (I substituted some of the dark chocolate for milk chocolate and added a bit extra icing sugar to make it a bit sweeter.

Chocolate Glaze Recipe:
80g dark chocolate
20g milk chocolate
40g butter (softened)
6 tbsp water
150g icing sugar

Melt the chocolate, add the icing sugar and then the butter and mix.  Finally add the water and mix to a smooth paste.  Use the glaze whilst still warm - too hot and it will run, too cold and it's won't spread.

I then added gold chocolate coins all along the edge of the lid and I used puffed rice/ Rice Krispies to do the straps of the chest.

Finally I added brown sugar for the sand around the bottom of the cake.

One simple birthday cake and a very happy little pirate birthday girl!


  1. Looks and sounds great. Do you have a recipe or link for the chocolate date cake?

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by, I have updated the post with the recipe for the cake and chocolate glaze, so hope that's helpful, let me know if you give it a try as I'd love to see how it turns out. Ellie

  2. Hi Ellie

    Firstly, I loved this pirate cake. It's just awesome and... doable for the less-gifted cake mum like me!

    Secondly, I tried and tried to find an email address for you, but couldn't. I write for Kidspot and we are doing an 'outdoor loving' round up in gallery style. I was hoping to feature your 'Planting seedlings' post: http://createwithyourhands.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/planting-seedlings.html with the photo of your hands.

    The article goes up later today, so I will put you in so you don't miss out. Please email me on maxabella@gmail.com immediately if you want me to take you out!

    Love your blog and I wish I was your child!!!!


  3. I've made the chocolate date cake now-really yummy. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Great stuff, thanks for letting me know, glad it turned out well. Ellie

  4. This looks great! My son will be 4 on Monday and I've been trying to decide on a cake. He loves pirates so this is perfect! I'll probably use a different recipe as I have no dates, and I'm trying to think of something else to use for the straps as I don't have rice crispies.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, hope you have fun making one. You could use strips of fondant icing, strawberry laces, jelly beans or licorice strips, just see whatever you have in the cupboards. Have fun. Ellie


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