Two catch-up posts in one day?!?!? Now we are getting somewhere. Back in October, a former coworker of mine asked if I could make a cake and cupcakes for her twins that were turning two. The theme was Elmo and Cookie Monster which makes total sense given the age and, since they are boy/girl twins, it is a pretty gender neutral theme. It just so happens that before I baked cakes on a regular basis, I had done both of these themes for my oldest for his first and second birthday. So this one was an easy yes. I started by looking back at my old creations, and let me tell you, I was a little shocked. They were not quite how I remembered them in my head. I still liked the cupcakes mostly, but the cake….no. The proportions were all off, the details were sloppy, the face was not as detailed. It was one of those moments that you realize you have come a long way in a short amount of time. So while I am not impressed with that cake at all, I am happy to see my progress from that short time ago.
I set out to do a better version of my former cake and cupcakes. I started with cupcakes because the thought of mixing red icing was exhausting (more on that in a minute.) I started by cutting my Oreo mouth pieces. I split the Oreo’s, removed the filling, and then sawed through the cookies with a serrated knife. Don’t worry, my extra filling did not go to waste. My husband stacked it into other Oreo’s to make some quadruple stuffed Oreo’s. HAHA. If you cut straight down, the cookie will break into multiple pieces, so you need to saw. Next, I colored my tried and true buttercream icing recipe royal blue and used my “hair” tip, as I like to call it, to make fur. I think the tip I use is a Wilton #233. Before the icing crusts, I added the Oreo mouth and some candy eyeballs. I now make my own candy eyes (that will be a later post), but these pre-made ones from the store work great.
After the cupcakes, I geared up for the cake. I am sure if you have talked to anyone who has made a cake with red icing, there has been a complaint in there about getting a good red. Well, I am no different and I really messed up this first batch of red. I was mixing the red and wanted a little bit deeper color. I read online about adding a touch of black. Being a person who like very specific instructions (think scientist here) I don’t know what a touch meant. If I had been smart, it would have been to add the most minuet amount of black possible and see what happens. I did no such thing and dipped my toothpick in my black icing and added it to the icing. Wellllllll, lets just say that I got some version of red but it was not suitable for an Elmo cake. Bummed that I had wasted a half batch of buttercream and a half bottle of red coloring, I started over. Sticking to what I knew, I just added red icing and let it sit for a bit to let the color to develop. What do you know, if I would have just had the patience the first time, the color would have developed just fine. Patient is not a word that is used to describe me.
I used the same “hair” tip to make the fur on Elmo. I did all the sides first to make sure I had enough icing. If I was going to have to mix more, I would want all the same surface to be the same batch in case the color did not match. Thankfully, I had made enough. Before, I added the fur on top, I added the Elmo face features. This way, I could put the fur right up to the features. I was much happier with the proportions of the Elmo face this time around.
The icing for the features could have been a little smoother, but overall I was happy. More importantly, there were some two-years-olds that loved their cake.