I made this homemade snake birthday cake for my husband, Jim, for his 51st birthday. He loves reptiles and I modeled this one after our 5-foot bull snake, Alice.

Since I made this cake shortly after Easter, I found the “Edible Grass” in the clearance section of my local Rite-Aid. It’s supposed to be for filling Easter baskets, but worked great under my snake and was easier and cheaper than making tinted coconut. I just unrolled the grass and snipped chunks into 3-4 inch pieces and placed them on the foil lined tray.

The cake I made out of a butter pecan cake mix to which I added sour cream and toasted pecans. I baked it in 2 nine-inch layers. Before I put the cake together, I cut out 9-inch circles on newspaper and then cut the paper into the shapes. I wanted to make the cake to see how they’d fit together and to be sure they’d fit on the tray I was using.

I liked this configuration because it was compact, but still really interesting. I cut out the centers of each layer with a clean can from pineapple – I have a can opener that removes the entire lid leaving a nice edge to cut through the cake. I centered the can on each layer by measuring from the edge of the can to the edge of the cake on four sides with a straight ruler.

I cut one layer into three-quarters of a ring and the other layer into two ring halves. I took one center and cut two flat pieces off the sides at angles to give the sort of diamond shaped head. I cut the remaining quarter ring in half diagonally to create the tail piece. I had a single center leftover and the half tail piece.

I actually iced the center piece to make a mini cake that I gave my husband as a “cake preview piece” the night before his birthday. The other leftover piece mysteriously disappeared when my teenage son wandered through the kitchen… :)

I made my homemade cream cheese frosting – so easy! 8 ounces cream cheese creamed with 1 stick softened butter – add 4 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla. I added some yellow food coloring and a drop of red to make the icing “Alice-colored.”

I decorated the homemade snake birthday cake with chocolate chips turned upside down so the pointy side was pressed into the cake. Very easy. I melted a few tablespoons of chips and placed them into a zip top sandwich bag, snipped the corner and squeezed out a forked tongue onto parchment paper (could use waxed paper) and let harden. I actually squeezed out a number of them and picked the one I liked best.

Fun to make and the homemade snake birthday cake got rave reviews!