Treasure Chest Birthday Cake

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling


24 servings

Updated: Dec. 20, 2022
Swashbucklers of all ages were eager to seize a chocolaty piece of this birthday cake, although some guests thought it was too cute to cut! Folks were impressed with this edible pirate's treasure chest and loved the rich chocolate icing. —Sharon Hanson, Franklin, Tennessee
Treasure Chest Birthday Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2 packages chocolate cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/3 cups butter, softened
  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7-1/2 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 wooden skewers (three 4 inches, two 7-1/2 inches)
  • Foil-covered heavy corrugated cardboard (12 inches x 7-1/2 inches)
  • Candy necklaces, foil-covered chocolate coins, candy rings or candies of your choice
  • 2 pieces berry tie-dye Fruit Roll-Ups


  1. In two batches, prepare and bake cakes according to package directions, using two greased and floured 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy; beat in the chocolate, vanilla, confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Center one cake on a 16-in. x 12-in. covered board; frost top. Top with remaining cake; frost top and sides of cake. With a metal spatula, smooth frosting to resemble boards.
  3. For chest lid, insert 4-in. skewers equally spaced into one long side of corrugated cardboard lid. Frost top of lid. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert star tip #21. Pipe a shell border on edges of lid and for handles on side of chest.
  4. Place one 7-1/2-in. skewer on each side of cake top, about 3-1/2 in. from back of chest. Position lid over cake; gently insert short skewers into cake about 1 in. from back of chest. Rest lid on long skewers.
  5. Arrange candy in chest. Cut a small keyhole from a Fruit Roll-Up; center on front of cake. Position strips of Fruit Roll-Ups on front and back of chest.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece (calculated without candies): 539 calories, 24g fat (11g saturated fat), 74mg cholesterol, 424mg sodium, 77g carbohydrate (57g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.