I find snakes intriguing. I don’t want to become a wrangler or anything, but I’m not scared of them either. I’m sure if I ever find myself alone with one in a jungle somewhere, I will be singing a different tune. The skin of a snake is so gorgeous! Especially up close. It’s really soft and full of texture and colour. I couldn’t wait to cake a snake on How To Cake It (don't forget to subscribe)! The inside will be banana cake speckled with chocolate chips. I’ll create texture on the skin with a rolling pin sleeve and paint on all of the rich colours.
You can't just go venturing out into the caking wild without your survival kit. And by survival kit, I'm talking about your must-have ingredients & tools. Skip the jungle canteen, and head to my Parsel page to find an easy to buy list of my ingredients & tools right here!
Where Do I Buy My Ingredients & Tools??
Baking Your Chocolate Chip Banana Cake!
Ingredients & Tools You Will Need:
3 x 6lb portion of Yo’s Banana Cake (18lbs in total) - find my recipe here
3 cups Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 x 10” Round Cake Pans, lined with parchment paper
2 x 9” Round Bundt Pans, lined with parchment paper
7” Round Bundt Pan
5” Round Cake Pan
Once your batter is done, fold in the mini chocolate chips using 1 cup of chocolate chips per 6lb recipe.
Divide your batter as follows:
4 lbs per 10” round pan
3 ½ lbs per 9” bundt pan
2 lbs in the 7” bundt pan
1 lb in the 5” round pan
Bake the cakes at 350º degrees until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
My cakes baked as follows:
5” round – 40 minutes
7” bundt – 50 minutes
9” bundt – 1 hour & 10 minutes
10” round – 1 hour & 20 minutes
Allow your cakes to cool completely in their pans. Chill the cakes for a few hours before carving.
Carving Your Snake Cake!
Ingredients & Tools You Will Need:
2 cups Italian Meringue Buttercream
¼ cup Instant Coffee
Small Serrated Knife
Small Offset Spatula
Small Icing Spatula
Remove all the cakes from their pans. Level the two 10” and the 5” round cakes and cut the carmelization off the bottom. Level all of the bundt cakes in the same way as well.
To begin carving the snake, I started with my two 10” round cakes. These will form the centre of the snake. Place one cake on top of the other. Trim around the top of the cake rounding the edges down. Flip both cakes over as one, and carve rounded edges once again.
Flip the cake back, and carve a gap out of the middle of the cake. You are trying to create a 3D letter “C”. Once you are happy with the shape, move on to a 9” bundt cake.
Cut the cake in half, but not necessarily two equal pieces. Round the edges of this cake in the same way as the 10” rounds. Remember to carve rounded edges along the inner circle as well.
Place one half of the bundt cake beside one end of the “C: cake you created, and the other half of the bundt cake at the other end. Cut the cakes where they meet to have them join together. You are trying to create an “S” formation for the body of the snake. Continue to cut and carve the cakes the fit together. Taper down the “C” cake if it is a little higher.
Move on the the next 9” bundt pan and repeat the same process. Form your snakes “S” formation however you like, and of course, to fit your cake board.
Continue carving the snake cake by adding the 7” bundt and the 5” round cakes. I used these cakes to form a tail the curled up over itself.
Carving cakes requires patience. Sometimes it is helpful to step away, have a look and continue when you’re ready. It’s better to carve in small doses because you can always carve more cake away if need be, but adding cake back is much more tricky.
Carve the tail of the snake into a sharp little point. Carve the head from the top cake, or use a large cake scrap to form and carve the head.
Once all of your cakes have been carved and joined to form one long snake, make all the final carving adjustments until your happy. I wanted my snake to be wider in the middle, as if it were still digesting. Or perhaps it’s pregnant. Or just in need of a workout. Do snakes have to deal with these issues!?
Now clean up! I am willing to bet you are standing in cake crumbs.
To make your coffee buttercream, place the instant coffee in a glass jar. Boil some water and pour 2 tablespoons into the jar. Close the jar so that the lid is secure and give it a good shake. You want all off the coffee granules to dissolve.
Let this concentrated coffee cool completely. I usually make this the day before I know I am going to make coffee buttercream.
Add the concentrated coffee to your buttercream, little by little and whisk in between. The more you add at once, the harder it will be to incorporate the liquid. Keep tasting your buttercream until you are happy with the flavour. I know, it’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Everyone likes their coffee a certain way.
Fill the 10” cakes that for the “C” in the middle of your snake with coffee buttercream. Spread a little buttercream between all the cake joints where two cakes meet. Crumb coat your entire snake cake with the coffee buttercream.
I made my snake so big that I could not fit it in my fridge! It was fun, but the crumb coat missed the chill. You know what I mean?
If you are lucky enough to have a giant fridge, or perhaps you are making a smaller snake, you can chill the crumb coat and then ice your cake once again.
Covering Your Snake Cake in Scaly Fondant!
Ingredients You Will Need:
4 lbs Fondant
Wilton Buttercup Yellow Icing Colours
18” Diamond Sleeve
Dye your fondant a very light shade of yellow. This will serve as a great base colour before you paint.
Roll out the fondant in sections. I rolled out about 1 lb at a time, and then rolled all the leftovers together for a total of five times.
Begin by covering the centre of the snake cake. It will be quite tricky to cover the cake and tuck the fondant underneath. Especially in the inside curves. I like to use a paint brush to help me. It is soft, so that you won’t poke holes into your fondant.
Once again, use the same patience you required when carving the cake. Take your time and cover each section. Cut the fondant where the seams meet to the best of your ability. It will be better if the seams are not cut in perfectly straight lines any way. Easier to blend in to the snake pattern.
Once your snake is completely covered, make a fondant paste by adding water to a small piece of fondant. Ice this paste onto the seams, one at a time. Use a wet paint brush to blend the paste into the snake and hide the seams as well as you can.
Time to add texture to this snake! I used a piece of the diamond sleeve to do this. You do not have to cut the diamond sleeve if you don’t want to. I have had mine for years and had already cut it for another cake project.
Stretch the sleeve and press the it all around the surface of the cake creating diamonds that flow in one direction. This was really difficult because my cake was not chilled. I could have pressed much harder, but I was afraid of denting the cake and having all the buttercream ooze out.
The first time I made a snake cake, I rolled the diamond pattern onto the fondant before covering the cake. Although this was much easier, the pattern began to stretch and warp as the fondant wrapped around the snake. I had to smooth the surface of my fondant and use the press on method. This time, I thought I would save myself the trouble.
Painting Your Snake Cake!
You Will Need:
Wilton Ivory Icing Color
Wilton Brown Icing Color
Wilton Black Icing Color
Wilton Buttercup Yellow Icing Color
Clear Food Grade Alcohol
2 x Red or Black Candy Beads (or two small black balls of fondant)
Dental Floss or String
Dilute a touch of ivory, brown and black with clear alcohol. I actually used light brown rum for this cake because I ran out of clear, but it works for this colour palette.
Paint the entire snake with this light tan/brown colour. Now darken the paint a little by adding more brown. Begin to paint the snake pattern by adding soft blob like shapes all along both sided of the length of the snake. I really struggled with what to call this. Blobs seams appropriate ;)
As you paint, lay pieces of paper towel onto the pattern and peel them back off again. This will create texture and colour variances.
Now create a darker paint by mixing black and brown. Dilute it slightly with alcohol, but you wan this paint to be thicker. Paint this colour in between the pattern along the whole snake. Use the paper towel method once again as you paint.
This snake needs to see. Add the two eyes to the head of the snake. Paint them with black food colouring to give them shine. Poke two nostrils into the front of the face with the end of a paint brush.
I used a piece of dental floss to gently press in the marking of a mouth on the head of my snake.
I wanted to deepen the colour of my snake once I saw how the colours dried. I painted over my blobs once again and the entire black body of the snake. I used the paper towels to continue to create texture.
Take your time painting and stop when your happy. Dave Salmoni told me that snakes come in all kinds of beautiful colours. The ones he brought to my kitchen were breathtaking.