Snake Cake for kids (+ what not to do)

IMG_1296I made it. I promised my son I would make a great snake cake for his Birthday. Why, because the little guy is crazy for all things snake: he draws snakes, reads about them, and he makes me do all sorts of crafted snake-y things.

PREMISE: For the past three years I organized pirates’ themed parties for my now 6 years old boy. September 19th is Pirate Day after all. For three years we have invaded China Camp Village beach with little pirates, fragments of secret maps leading to buried treasures, and treasure chests. The little guy this year tells me “mama you never really asked me. You know… I am not really into this pirate thing…” CRISIS. What did I do??! I ruined my son’s childhood. I need to recuperate. Help me gods, snakes it is…

And so i embarked in the most committed cake I have ever made. First one of its kind in my history. Need to say, it was a lot of FUN. I picked this howtocakeit snake cake. Now, this lady is amazing, she can bake anything in any shape. Her video is great. However, not all the little steps are described in detail. So you might find yourself with a spatula in one hand and a brush in the other and think “and now what? how do I go from here to that?” SO, you will be more successful if you are familiar with baking and have artistic abilities, to carve, mix the colors, and paint.

On how to do it, just go to howtocakeit and follow the lady’s process step by step. As you go, keep my tips in mind to avoid mistakes and make this cake good for kids (she uses alcohol for an adult cake).

TIPS & TRICKS for A KID’S SNAKE CAKE

  1. Go for a dense textured cake. She uses banana bread. Great. I wanted to go lighter and made a classic fluff yellow cake. Wrong. It will be too soft and crumbly and will make carving miserable.
  2. Do not be impatient (as I was). Bake the cake the day before, let it cool in the oven and start the carving the day after.
  3. Use flavored syrups (instead of an alcoholic beverage) to moisturize the cake and to dilute the paint. I used THIS caramel flavored Torani syrup and it was delicious.
  4. My snake came out short and fat 🙂 I baked two round cakes: a medium size and a small one. The medium sized provided most of the body, the small cake went into the head and tail. To make a longer and skinnier snake I would bake two small cakes to shape the smaller coils proximal to head and tail, and one medium sized cake for the body.
  5. Make an edible bottom layer (and clean it before making a mess!):
    1. To make a bottom layer: I used a handful of sugar paste, added few drops of green and ivory food color and kneaded for few minutes. I stretched the paste to the desired size and obtained a fun oleographic pattern. Once placed the layer on a cake tray, I just trimmed the exceeding edges with a knife.
    2. Once I completed carving the pieces of my cake on my counter surface, I transferred it onto the cake tray covered with the sugar paste layer. Here I moisturized the cake with the syrup and applied the layer of butter cream. At the end of this process I DID NOT CLEAN my bottom layer, which was dirty and moist. When I applied the sugar paste layer to cover the snake, it kept sticking to the bottom, making my work very difficult. SO, if you go for a sugar paste bottom, clean it gently with a paint brush and water, absorb excess moist with kitchen towels and let it dry completely before applying the upper coating.
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