Arr-Me-Hearties Cupcakes

1. Bake the cupcakes in the cupcake wrappers and leave them to cool completely

2. Make the royal icing.

Beat egg white in an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, on a slow speed until bubbles start to appear.

Add sifted icing sugar a little at a time, beating on a higher speed until it forms firm peaks.

Add lemon juice and mix in gently. Tightly cover the icing with plastic wrap as soon as it is made so it doesn’t dry out.

Note: Royal icing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days. Remove from the fridge, bring to room temperature and stir well before using.

Fit a small round tip to a piping bag, add 1 dessertspoon of white icing to the bag, then set it aside.

Place another heaped dessert spoon of icing in a small bowl and colour it black by adding black colouring, mixing, then adding more until desired depth of colour is reached.

Separate the remaining royal icing, placing one-third in one bowl and colouring it red by adding red colouring until desired colour is reached. 

Place the remaining two-thirds royal icing in another bowl and colour it peach by adding the tip of a toothpickful of red and double that amount of yellow.  Mix together and add more colour, proportionately as described.

Cover the bowls with plastic wrap to prevent the icing from drying out, then set them aside.

 3. To Make The Pirates’ Faces:

Level the cupcakes by cutting the dome off the top with a serrated knife, using the wrapper as a guide.

Fit a round tip to a piping bag and place a heaped dessertspoon of peach royal icing into the bag. Pipe a circle outline around the edge of all the cupcakes.

Slowly add drops of water to the bowl of peach royal icing until it reaches flood consistency. Flood consistency is runnier and will spread out to dry in a smooth ‘pool’. Add a couple of drops of water to the standard royal icing mixture and stir. To test that it has reached flood consistency, scoop up a spoonful of icing, then drizzle it over the bowl of icing. If all the drop lines spread out and become smooth again within 15 seconds, then the icing is at flood consistency. If not, repeat the process again, adding a couple of drops of water each time and repeating the 15-second test after each addition.

Note: A spray bottle can be used to add water very slowly. An overly wet mixture cannot be rectified by adding more icing sugar. Only the addition of piping-consistency royal icing will stiffen it up again.

Spoon the flood-consistency royal icing into the middle of each cupcake and use a toothpick to evenly spread the icing to the outline. 

Put the cupcakes aside until the peach icing is dry. Keep the bag of peach icing for using later.

4. To Make The Red Bandannas:

Once the peach icing is dry to the touch (be gentle, as it will still be wet below the surface), fit a small round tip to a new piping bag and place a heaped dessertspoon of red royal icing inside the bag. Pipe an outline of a semicircle, with the flat edge slightly above the centreline of the cupcake, to make the pirate’s bandanna.

Slowly add drops of water to the bowl of red royal icing until it reaches flood consistency. Spoon the flood-consistency red royal icing inside the bandanna outline, using a toothpick to spread it evenly. 

While the red icing is still wet, take the bag of white royal icing and pipe white spots randomly all over the red outline (the spots will sink into the wet red icing and dry flat).

Use the peach royal icing in the piping bag to pipe a small round nose on each cupcake. Use the white royal icing to pipe a small eye. Once the white eye is dry to the touch, dip a toothpick in the black royal icing and use it to dot a black pupil on the eye and to draw a small mouth.

When the red bandanna icing is dry to the touch, dip a toothpick in black royal icing and use it to draw an eye patch on each cupcake.

For extra decoration, put lollipops inside a ziplock bag, cover the bag with a tea towel, then bang the bag with a rolling pin to break the lollipops into chunks. Discard the sticks. Sprinkle the lollipop jewels,

The Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book


For royal icing:

40 g Pams egg white (1 egg, approx.), or 40 g meringue powder (follow directions on packet)

240 g Pams icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp lemon juice

To decorate cupcakes:

gel food colourings: black, red & yellow

lollipops (optional decoration)

chocolate gold coins (optional decoration)

3 piping bags

3 small round tips (Wilton 3) (or use 1 tip and wash it

between colours)


12 cupcake wrappers

1 ziplock bag

1 rolling pin