** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**
About a month ago a friend told me that she was throwing an Elmo themed birthday party for her sons second birthday. I have seen a few Cookie Monster cupcakes and Elmo cupcakes on various blogs in the past and I was always wishing that I had a good excuse to make them. This party was just the excuse I was looking for. So I jumped on the opportunity and offered to make the cake/cupcakes. They wound up being a huge hit and the birthday boy was definitely loving the Elmo theme.
Most of the blogs that I have seen have used frosting to make the eyes and the nose but I wanted to do something different. I also knew that I would need to spread the work out over a few days and using all frosting wouldn’t work for that. So I decided I would make the eyes and nose out of Wilton candy melts. A week before the party I did a test run on my idea for decorating the cupcakes and I was so excited when it worked. The week of the party I spread the work out over three days. On Wednesday I baked the cakes and cupcakes and then covered them will saran wrap and froze them. Thursday night I made the eyes and nose. Friday I took the cupcakes out of the freezer in the morning and then in the afternoon I did all of the decorating except for the mouth (didn’t want the gel icing to spread/melt). Saturday all I had to do was put the mouths on the cupcakes and get them safely to the party. I do think that you could do all of this work in one day. It would take several hours but it is doable. I am listing step by step instructions with some pictures below!
20-24 cupcakes (I used this recipe and this recipe)
Wilton candy melts in white and orange
Candy melting squeeze bottle (follow instructions for melting the melts)
1 large bowl of hot water
2 cups buttercream frosting
Red food coloring
1 piping bag fitted with tip #18
Black decorating gel in .68 oz tube
To make the eyes and nose:
- Melt the candy melts and chocolate chips in squeeze bottles by filling a bowl with hot (but not boiling) water and placing the squeeze bottles in the water. I kept the bowl next to my work station so when I wasn’t using a bottle it was staying warm. Replace the water as necessary and keep paper towels by your side to dry of bottles as needed.
- Print a picture of Elmo and place the picture under a sheet of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.
- Start by outlining the eyes in white, leaving a space for the chocolate eye.
- Fill in the whites and use a toothpick with small, light circular motions to smooth.
- Fill in the spot for the chocolate by squeezing a small amount of chocolate into the space. Then wet your fingertip and lightly press down on the chocolate to fill in the space and smooth it out.
- Outline the nose with orange. Fill using the same circular motions with a toothpick.
- Move the template to a new spot on the parchment paper and repeat until you have all of the eyes and noses that you need, plus a few extra just in case.
- When you finish making all of the eyes and noses put the cookie sheet in the freezer to set the candy.
- Fill a piping bag, fitted with tip #18, with the red buttercream frosting. Be sure to twist the top of the bag so frosting doesn’t squeeze out while you decorate
- Outline the edges of the top of a cupcake by holding the piping bag perpendicular to the cupcake. Lightly squeeze the bag and use a small down then up motion to make a star.
- Once the top of the cupcake is outlined fill in the middle using the same motions, be sure to make the stars close together and not to leave empty spaces.
- After the cupcake is frosted, place candy eyes on the cupcake letting them hang over the edge about 1/2 inch.
- Using the black decorating gel, draw a mouth below the eyes and nose.
- To decorate a cake, use the same method for the eyes and nose but on a larger scale. It was easier to outline the eyes/nose and then use a warm spoon to fill in the space. For the cake I used chocolate for the mouth instead of decorating gel. To pipe the frosting I used a bag fitted with tip # 2D. I used a total of 4 1/2 cups of frosting to make 20 cupcakes and one cake (it was 2 thin layers)
- If you do not have a piping bag you could simply frost the cupcakes using a spatula and then put the eyes and nose on. It wouldn’t have the textured look but it would have the same overall feel.
- Make sure the eyes and nose are fully set before trying to transport them to the cupcakes.
- If you are pressed for time just use a boxed cake mix and store bought icing.
- Wait as long as you can to use the decorating gel because it will eventually start to run/spread.
- I hope these directions help, but if anything is unclear feel free to leave a comment or email me (orangekitchencooking @ gmail.com). I will try to clarify anything that doesn’t make sense!
- And last but not least, don’t worry, these cupcakes are “Birthday Boy Approved”