My 5th/6th class had a good time with this one adapted from Dynamic Art Projects for Children. It’s very colorful, and it gave me a chance to emphasize warm and cool colors as well as shapes. This is their first time with me, and I want to make sure everyone has the fundamentals. I have to also remind myself that these are kids who have often had NO exposure to art of any kind. That makes it a little difficult when they are entering into a class with former students, but this class was all kinds of new, so I get to mold them however I want! I think they did a great job, for the first project of the year.
Sometimess (and maybe it’s because I’m a total right-brainer), I get inspired to the enth-degree. This was one of those times. My son was crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts (I’m so proud!!), and his den was the “Cobra Den.” Well, for his Blue & Gold ceremony, I made a 6′ long cobra snake cake.
Before I go into the step-by-step on how to make this slithering slab, let me give a shout out to my three helpers that gave up a couple of hours on their Saturday morning to help me pipe stars all over this bad boy: Thanks to Lisa, Jennifer, and Annika! Without their help, I’d probably STILL be piping stars today.
Step 1: You need a 6-foot long, heavy-duty plank of wood. Don’t go cheap, because this cake gets heavy!! Wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Also – see how dark it is outside? I started putting this bad boy together at 5 am, so the cake would be ready to decorate by 9 am. *Yawn*
Step 2: Form your head and tail using rice krispie treat mix. A good mix for this is 3 tablespoons butter (melted over low heat), 4 cups mini marshmallows (melted with butter over low heat), and 6 cups of crispy rice cereal. You’ll need 2 batches for this cake. Allow this to cool for about 5 – 10 minutes. What you’re looking for is the rice to not be gooey and be able to hold its shape.
Step 3: You’ll need 5 bundt cakes for this recipe. If you don’t have a bundt cake pan, go look in the thrift store. There always seems to be at least ONE there – or borrow a friend’s. I found that a good baking time for a bundt pan was 325° for 40 minutes. Let them cool before removing the cakes from the pan, and DON’T level them! Leave that rounded top. Cut 4 of the cakes in half.
Step 4: Stagger the cakes on the foil-covered plank, so that you’re creating a continuous “S”-shape. Without the snake head, this reminds me of pipes. If you have a plumber in your life, this might be a good idea, too!
Step 5: The last bundt cake should be cut like the picture. You’ll need a piece that’s slightly less than 1/4, and another piece that’s slightly larger than 1/4. The smaller piece will connect the head to the body, and the bigger piece will connect the body to the tail. You can go ahead and eat that other half. You’ve earned it. 😉
Step 6: In this step, a couple of things have happened. First, that slightly smaller 1/4 piece has connected the body to the head piece, of which has been built up to meet the cake. Also, if you look under the cake, you’ll see a small blob of the marshmallow/rice mix. Remember how you didn’t level the bundt cakes? Well, you need that extra height and roundness to make it look more like a snake. Unfortunately, they tend to roll on that round part. By putting the mix there, you’re creating a sort of edible shim for it. Don’t worry. No one will see it once it’s decorated.
Step 7: With your second batch of the marshmallow/rice treats, add the hood of the cobra. You’ll reserve the rest for the tail and the shims, as you need them. Don’t be afraid to really squish and scrunch this stuff together. It sculpts really well!
Step 8: Shape the tail to connect to that slightly-larger-than-1/4-piece. Add shims to any cake that needs support in order for the cakes to touch – or at least be as close as possible. It finally looks like a snake!
Step 9: Get your friends over to help pipe stars all over your cake! Just so you know, to cover this cake with buttercream icing, I used a total of 10 lbs of powdered sugar, 10 tablespoons of butter-flavored extract, 10 tablespoons of vanilla extract, and 10 cups of shortening. Also, I do know that cobras don’t have stripes, and that they’re mostly solid, but I was making a cake for a bunch of little boys, and I thought stripes would break it up a little. It “reads” well.
Have fun making your own snake cake!
We had a special guest at Family Night in November (yes, I know my posts are a little behind). Reptile guy, Pete, brought in several snakes, lizards, and other fun animals for the kids to touch and hold. It made for a squeamish, but fun evening!