Ahoy! Pirate enthusiasts and adventure seekers are sure to dig this island trove of treats. Bestow a special honor on the birthday boy by presenting him with the "X" cupcake filled with an edible treasure (scoop a well from its center, place a candy inside, and frost over it).
Other cupcake cake ideas:
School o' Fish
For the map base and compass: You'll need a 16-ounce can of vanilla frosting. Spoon ¼ cup into a ziplock bag. Tint ¼ cup with yellow food coloring and place it in a ziplock bag, then tint 3 tablespoons aqua by mixing blue and green coloring. Reserve the rest. (You'll use the bagged frosting for decorative elements; snip a tiny corner from each bag before using.)
Place 2 cups ground vanilla wafers in a large bowl. Frost 11 cupcakes with the reserved frosting and gently dip them in the crumbs to coat them. Frost another cupcake aqua. Arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter, then garnish with the extra crumbs and chocolate coins, if you like.
Snip red licorice laces into ¾-inch pieces for the dotted map line. On a sugared surface, gently roll out 1 green and 5 red spice drops until fl at. Trim 4 of the red pieces into triangles for the map's X and the remaining red piece into a 1-inch square for the compass center. Snip the green spice-drop piece into a 1-inch square.
Press all the candy pieces into place on the cupcakes, adding 1 brown and 1 red M&M to the dotted path and the X. Use tubed chocolate decorator frosting to pipe compass markings on the aqua cupcake.
For the bones: On a sheet of waxed paper, pipe vanilla frosting dots on the ends of licorice pastels (we used Good & Plenty) and let the dots harden slightly.
For the volcano: Use a serrated knife to trim one end of a chocolate-covered graham cracker into a volcano peak. Pipe on yellow frosting lava lines and sprinkle with red decorating sugar.
For the pirate flag: Use the knife to trim a zigzag edge on one end of a chocolate-covered graham cracker and pipe on a vanilla and chocolate frosting skull. Attach a pretzel stick pole with frosting.
For the treasure chest: Pipe yellow frosting onto the flat side of a chocolate nugget. Sprinkle it with sugar pearls, then press on another chocolate nugget.
For the parrot: On a sugared surface, gently roll out a red spice drop until flat. Trim it into wings and a tail. Snip a small piece of an orange spice drop for the beak. Press the pieces onto a whole green spice drop. Dot on two chocolate frosting eyes, then insert a pretzel stick perch.
For the palm tree: On a sugared surface, roll out 2 green spice drops until flat. Snip them into leaf shapes and press them onto a pretzel stick.
For the shovel: Roll out a purple spice drop. Snip it into a scoop shape and press it onto a pretzel stick. Attach a pretzel stick handle with frosting.