Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Snakes

After baking the Hershey's Chocolate Cake yesterday (actually I baked two), today I need to make frosting. The birthday boy asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and he also asked for a cake with snakes. He loves to read about snakes or watch the snake wranglers on television relocate a pesky one. My mission today is to make the frosting and decorate a cake with snakes.

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

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. 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 one tablespoon at a time. 

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

An easy way to frost a cake is to drop several blobs of frosting on the top of the cake.

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.

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.

 I decided to try using 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. I opted to use the store bought version, and it comes in a variety of colors.

The fondant felt a lot like play doh, and it 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 used sprinkles for eyes and fruit roll-ups for tongues.

I think this realistic looking little guy might be my favorite.