How to make a passable crocodile cake

This post is a total departure from my usual type of post, so before I start I will just stress that I am not in any way a food / baking blogger, nor do I intend to be. However a few people have asked me how I made the crocodile cake for my boys’ recent birthday party, so I thought I’d put it on here. To give you an idea of my baking ability – I like to bake when I have the time (which isn’t often) and I like to follow a recipe. I am not into sugarcraft or particularly skilled at decorating cakes. The croc is about my limit.

If you recognise yourself here, and think you might have reason to bake a crocodile cake at some point, then read on.

I have very little imagination so before I get started I really need to have an idea to follow. The obvious thing to do was scour Pinterest and find something that looked reasonably achievable. My croc is based on one by Coolest birthday cakes – theirs looks far more professional than mine did, but luckily I was the only one comparing.

So firstly, here he is:

croc cake

Please excuse the not-very-evenly-applied frosting. I was short on time, and frosting isn’t my strong point.

Now if you’re interested, here’s what to do.

Firstly, make all cakes ahead so that you can freeze them. Apparently this makes them easier to carve and to frost. And generally it’s a good thing anyway as it means you can have one baking session and one decorating session rather than one big daunting let’s-make-the-whole-thing session.

For the croc’s body I invested in a bundt tin. A bundt cake is a round cake with a hole in the middle. I had never made one before, so had a look for a suitable recipe and decided on this one by Dolly Bakes (obviously I made it without the icing). To freeze it just wrap it all the way round with clingfilm (going through rather than over the hole). It’s very important that it’s totally covered when you freeze it.

The head is a plain vanilla sponge loaf cake. And the eyes and feet are plain cupcakes cut in half. Coolest Birthday Cakes’ superior version also has halved cupcakes at the side of his head (for his cheeks I suppose?!) just under the eyes. This had been my intention but unfortunately my last couple of cupcakes were required for the ears of the tiger I had on the go at the same time (this is what happens when your children have birthdays very close together). So he remained cheekless. Thankfully no-one mentioned it.

So, once everything had defrosted I got to work on putting my croc together.

I just about (and I really mean just about) managed to fit my croc onto an 18″ x 14″ cake board, but that took a lot of careful manoeuvring. I suppose I could have just sliced a bit off the end of my loaf cake, but that clearly didn’t occur to me at the time.

I made used this recipe for the frosting (to which I added some green food colouring) and the quantity was just right.

I cut the bundt cake into three even pieces, and then positioned them onto the board to make a tail. I tapered the very end to make it more tail-like, which also gave me the chance to sample some off-cuts (YUM). Once I’d found a way to fit them all on, together with the loaf cake/head, I used a bit of frosting to secure them to the board and to each other. Then I frosted away. From my very thorough Pinterest research, I noticed all sorts of fancy piping techniques people used to apply frosting to their crocs, but as you can probably tell I just went about it with a pallet knife. I then added the halved cupcakes – three in total (two for the feet and one for the eyes).

For the mouth and teeth I used a strawberry lace and some tic-tacs. The tic-tacs were quite fiddly and we lost a few but again, people were kind and didn’t mention it. For his scales he had green jelly beans – I spent quite some time scanning the sweet shelves for suitable green sweets and these were the best I could find. For the eyes and the nostrils I just used the fondant icing which I had left over from my tiger, but you could use any appropriately coloured sweets for these.

And that was it! I must say, the bundt cake by Dolly Bakes was absolutely delicious. Drizzled with icing this would make a lovely birthday cake for an adult. I will definitely be making it again (and not using it as a crocodile’s tale).

I am pretty confident that that will be my last baking post for a while, but if you’re busy planning a croc cake then I hope it has been of some use!

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