Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Recipe: skull and crossbone pirate cupcakes

Skull and crossbone pirate fairy cakes - as baked by EJ
Gaaar! Ahoy me hearties - 'tis a truth universally acknowledged that everyone loves a pirate themed cake. So, when I was asked to bake some pirate cupcakes for my scallywag nephew Freddy's 1st birthday, I knew this would be an exciting project. I sailed the seven seas (sometimes also known as 'surfing the internet') in search of some skull and crossbone inspiration and discovered an awesome 3D skull candy mould from Cake craft shop. This is my recipe for vanilla pirate fairy cakes with chocolate buttercream icing topped with candy skulls and sugar paste crossbones- I've even included an icing bone and skull eye patch tutorial.

A badass treat- perfect for pirates young and old.

To make skull and cross bone iced fairy cakes, you will need:

For the cakes (makes 24 cakes)
150ml yoghurt
100g caster sugar
150ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
200g self raising flour

For the buttercream icing (ices 12 cakes):
200g butter
400g icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder

For the skulls (to make 12 skulls):
A 3D skulls mould
1/2 pack of white candy melts or white chocolate
Black writing icing

For the bones:
White sugar paste (I used Asda white icing)
A cocktail stick

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

To make the cakes:

Mix the yoghurt, caster sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract together until combined. Gradually sift in the self raising flour and stir until you have a smooth cake batter.

Prepare 24 cupcake cases and fill each one 3/4 full of the cake batter.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked the whole way through.

To make the bones:

Tear off a chunk of fondant icing and work in your hands until it's soft and maleable. Take a small piece and roll into a cylinder approximately 10cm in length.

Chop this length into two 5cm lengths and round off the edges:

Using a cocktail stick, push a dent into either end of the icing sausage to create a bone shape:

Icing bones!

Repeat this process until you have two bones for each cake.

To make the candy skulls:

Melt the candy melts or white chocolate in a saucepan over boiling water as per the pack instructions. Be careful not to overheat as this can prevent the candy melts from setting correctly. Spoon the liquid mixture into the skull mould until each little skull cavity is full. Tap the base of the mould on the surface to remove air bubbles - check the underside for visible bubbles - they are likely to form around the nose area. I found that I had to tap the mould for a couple of minutes to completely remove all bubbles.

Place the mould in the fridge to set, candy melts will set within 20 - 30 minutes, white chocolate should be left for a few hours. Although chocolate takes longer to set, it's better and much tastier than candy melts and definitely worth the wait.

Adding the eye patch:

I drew eye patches on to the skulls using black writing icing. First, draw a line across the top of the skull down across the top of the eye socket:

Candy skull - eye patch stage #1

 Then fill in the eye socket with a swirl of writing icing:
Candy skull - eye patch stage #2

Pipe a second line of black icing to complete the eyepatch:
Candy skull - eye patch completed!

To make the buttercream icing:

Combine the butter, vanilla extract, icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix until you have a smooth icing. Prepare an icing bag with a large star nozzle and fill the bag 3/4 full with icing. Pipe the icing onto the top of each cake in a generous spiral, top with a candy skull and rest two bones on top, pressing gently into the icing so that each cupcake is topped with a skull and crossbone.



  1. Perfect for International Talk Like a Pirate Day! See: and

    I just LOVE your blog! Why are there no comments to your fab posts?

    I write the Uniquely Tea blog (above) but am also starting a new site called I have bookmarked your site here and will be back in touch once I get things up and going.

  2. Thanks for the lovely comment Denise! Personally, I LOVE talk like a pirate day.

  3. Hi again Emma. I'm back. :-) Just wanted to let you know that Tea in England has now been launched. Would love for you to stop by and visit! Thank you!

  4. I agree should be more comments those look lovely and I will defo be giving them a try. Ps your step by step gp amazing and makes it really easy to follow so thank u for faking my job easyr, may your cakes always rise ;-)

  5. Thank you for your kind words Astra :) Let me know if you try these cakes, I'd love to know how the recipe works out for you.