Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Snakes

After baking the Hershey's Chocolate Cake yesterday (actually I baked two), today I need to make frosting. The recipe that I am using is Chocolate Buttercream from Alice at Savory Sweet Life. This is at Landon's request. We are celebrating his birthday and he asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. He also asked that his birthday cake have snakes on it. He's an avid fan of snakes. He loves to read about them, or watch the snake wranglers on television, or watch Billy the Exterminator relocate a pesky one. So my mission today is to make the frosting and decorate a cake with snakes. I'll start with the frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Assemble the ingredients that you will need.

Unsalted butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, and heavy cream.

Cream the butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.

Turn off the mixer.

Sift the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder into the mixing bowl.

It might be tempting to skip this step, but trust me, it's important to do the sifting. The frosting will be much smoother and creamier, no lumps.

Now turn the mixer on the lowest speed, (so that the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and cream.

Beat frosting for 3 minutes. At this point, check the consistency of the frosting. If it needs to be stiffer, add a little more powdered sugar. If it needs to be a little thinner, add additional cream 1 tablespoon at a time.

Now I'm ready to frost a cake.

Drop several blobs of frosting on the top of the cake.

Then dip an offset metal cake spatula in a tall glass of hot water and connect the dots.

Continue across the top and down the sides.

Next I'll add some simple borders with a #22 tip.

I'll do a simple shell pattern around the bottom of the cake.

Then I'll do a reverse shell around the top edges.

These borders really dress up a plain cake.

This cake is now ready for the snakes. I'll put it aside for a few minutes and finish the other cake first.

Both cakes are the basically the same, but this one is going to get a simple birthday message, and will probably be eaten by the adults.

One cake finished.

Now, decorating with snakes. I decided to try fondant for the snakes. This was my first time to work with fondant, and I learned some new things. I read about fondant before I tackled it. I learned that I could make it homemade or buy it ready to use. This time I opted to use the store bought version.

I bought these packages of fondant with a variety of colors.

I also bought an embossing tool that I thought looked like a lot of fun.

It has a lot of interchangeable parts to make different textures and will cut different widths.

So I jumped right in and started making snakes. Fondant works a lot like play doh. 

I used a knife to make a mouth.

These sprinkles will be snake eyes.

And of course snakes need tongues.

I cut the fruit roll-ups into tiny tongues.

 I think this realistic looking little guy might be my favorite.
So I finally finished the snake cake. I hope Landon will like it.

Oops, I almost forgot to add the birthday candle.

The fondant was easy to work with. It dries out pretty quickly though, so it needs to be kept in the package until you're ready to use it. I'll have to try another project with it soon.


  1. so fun not a cake of my choice I do not care for snakes but for someone that would very cool