How to Make a Simple Treasure Chest Cake

Updated April 17, 2017

A pirate themed birthday party for a child or a scavenger hunt geared for adults calls for a treasure chest cake. Themed cakes can become a hassle with hours spent on making one yourself or a custom-made cake that costs plenty of money. However, you can make a simple treasure chest cake without too much effort. Add personality in the colours, flavours and candies you use for the end product.

Choose a colour for your treasure chest cake, such as vanilla white or chocolate brown. Cut a 1-inch thick slice from the top of a 9-by-13-inch baked cake using a long bread knife.

Spread a thin layer of frosting on one side of a 9-by-13-inch piece of cardboard. Place the 1-inch thick slice of cake onto the frosted surface and press down gently to secure the cake to the cardboard. Frost the top and sides of the cake using the spatula.

Place the remaining cake in the centre or at an angle on a 14-by-18-inch piece of cardboard. Use the spatula to cover the top and sides of the large slab of cake with frosting.

Break the wooden skewers so you have two 6 to 8-inch long pieces. Insert each stick into the inside corners of the front end of the iced cake. Set the cardboard-lined cake top on top of the iced cake and press the back edge of the cardboard into the iced surface along the back side of the cake. Let the front end prop up on the wooden skewers to create an opened treasure chest lid.

Sprinkle 3 cups of brown sugar around the treasure chest and cover the cardboard base with this edible sand. Form depressions and small mounds throughout the brown sugar to make the sand seem more realistic.

Press small round candies around the edge of the top of the chest to mimic nails found on actual chests. Stick more round candies across the top, sides, back and front of the chest to add more nails. Insert these candies in a round shape on the front centre of the base of the chest in a round shape to create a lock for the treasure chest.

Add handfuls of foil-covered chocolate coins beneath the lid of the chest and onto the brown sugar. Drape candy necklaces all over the cake and toss some under the chest lid.


You could use a white icing that is tinted with food colouring gel to create any colour of treasure chest.


Remove the lid before cutting and serving the cake to prevent anyone from attempting to cut through the cardboard.

Things You'll Need

  • 9-by-13-inch baked cake
  • Long bread knife
  • Spatula
  • 3 cans of vanilla or chocolate frosting
  • 9-by-13-inch cardboard
  • 14-by-18-inch cardboard
  • Wooden skewers
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • Small round candies in bright colours
  • Foil-wrapped chocolate coins
  • Candy necklaces
  • Food colouring gel (optional)
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About the Author

Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.