Pirate face cake

Pirate face cake


Red velvet cake

  • 2 cups (500mL) vegetable oil
  • 2 å_ cups caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food colouring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 å_ cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • å_ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 å_ cups (310mL) butter milk


  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • 725g white fondant icing*
  • 400g black fondant icing*
  • 50g red fondant icing*
  • blue gel or paste colouring (liquid food colouring not compatible with the fondant icing)*
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • gold foil-covered coins

*from cake decorating shops (black and red too difficult to colour yourself)

  • You will need a 22-23 cm deep round cake tin and 30cm round cake stand or plate for this recipe. Borrow the tin or hire one from your local cake decorating shop.


Preheat oven to 160å¡C. Generously grease the tin and then line with non-stick baking paper. Pour the oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the red food colouring and vanilla. Beat on low speed until incorporated.

Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl. Add half the flour mixture and half the buttermilk, beat on a low speed until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Increase speed to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon into tin and bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin until cold. Ideally, make the cake the day before and then once cool to touch, refrigerate over night.


Cream butter until pale and smooth. Add the milk and half the sifted icing sugar. Beat until well combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. The mixture should be a spreadable paste; if it is too dry add some more milk, if too wet add more icing sugar.


Use a small knife or metal spatula to loosen the cake from the sides the tin. Spread a small amount of butter icing onto the cake board or plate (this will keep the cake in place while you are decorating). Trim the top of the cake so it is level; turn the cake upside down onto the cake board. Spread a thin layer of butter icing over the top and side of the cake using a butter knife or offset spatula (from cake decorating shops). Keep å_ teaspoon of icing to stick on the gold coin earring.

Chop 700g white fondant icing into small pieces and knead until starting to soften. Use a rolling pin to roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar to 5mm thick. Carefully roll the icing onto the rolling pin and roll out over the cake. Dust your fingers lightly with icing sugar and smooth the icing into place (see Notes). Trim off the excess, reknead and shape some into an ear, reserve the rest.

Chop the black fondant icing into small pieces and knead until starting to soften. Use a rolling pin to roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar (don’t use too much with the black icing!) until it is slightly larger than half the cake top. Cut a straight edge with a knife, wipe any icing off your hands and carefully roll onto the rolling pin and roll out over the cake so that the cut edge covers nearly half the cake on a diagonal, draping down on the right hand side. Add a few pleats to the bandanna on this side, use a small dot of water to attach the ear just in front of the bandanna pleats. Trim off the excess black icing, re-knead and roll out. Cut a semicircle for the eye patch and shape the remaining black icing into a thin rope and press above the eyepatch and across the face. If you have enough white icing, make another ear.

Knead the red icing until starting to soften. Roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar to 3mm thick. Cut out a mouth shape and two thin strips for the ends of the mouth and press in place onto the cake. With the remaining red icing, use the base of a piping nozzle to cut out spots for the bandanna. Cut out more spots using the remaining white icing and blue icing. Shape one of the blue spots into an eye and press onto the cake. Stick the gold coin earring on using the reserved butter icing. Scatter the remaining gold coins around the cake.


  • Preparation time: 25 minutes, baking time: 1 hour 40 minutes, decorating time: 1 hour.
  • Red velvet cake is lovely and moist and a great surprise when you cut into the cake. If you would prefer not to use food colouring, leave it out ‰ÛÒåÊthe cocoa powder and vanilla give a lovely flavour.
  • I also like to use this cake mix to make 24 large cupcakes; it works well with the Princess crown cupcakes.
  • Put some plastic wrap on top of the fondant icing and then roll onto the rolling pin so it doesn’t stick to itself (very annoying when you come to unroll!).
  • If you have a friend with fondant smoothers, borrow these as they give a lovely smooth surface and avoid white icing specks on the finished product. Or buy your own from a cake decorating shop, about $18.


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