Sunday, June 3, 2012

Elmo Cake - Tutorial

My little one just turned two yesterday. Two!!  I can't believe it!

I have a little cake book with instructions on how to make different shaped cakes.  I picked two out I thought she's like and asked my husband which one he thought would be best.  He said, "Elmo."  That wasn't one of the options.  :)  But he was right.  She would really like an Elmo cake.  Elmo's World is her favorite part of Sesame Street.

So I looked online for ideas of how to make an Elmo cake.  Know what I found?  That most people bought and Elmo shaped cake pan.  I was NOT about to by a special cake pan for one cake.  So here's what I did.  Sorry, I don't have many pictures.  I didn't think to take them as I was making it.  I'm not an expert on cake making; this is only the second shaped cake I made but I'm happy to share what I did.

I cooked a 8" round cake, and let it cool over night.  The next morning I took a long serrated knife (I used my long bread knife) and cut off the rounded top and made it flat.  Next I put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes.  This helps firm up the cake for the shaping process.

You can see some of the holes from the toothpicks in this picture.

I printed out a face picture of Elmo just a little smaller than the cake, and cut it out.  Then I placed it over the cake and put toothpicks in some of the outlines of the eyes, nose and mouth.  This served two purposes.  It held the picture in place, and started to make an outline of those features.

Then I used a serrated knife (this time I used a steak knife) to cut around the shape to make the basic outline.  I cut some of the jags of the fur, but found as I was frosting it this wasn't necessary.  The frosting helped make the appearance of fur, so I could have just cut the bottom outline rounded, not jagged.

In this picture you can see some of the scored outlines I made for his facial features.

Next I took the paper off by sliding it over the toothpicks and leaving them in place.  I then used my knife to score the outline of his features.  They weren't all visible,  but it helped.

I then made my buttercream frosting and but a several spoonfuls in a separate bowl.  I thinned this portion out a little more with milk for a base frosting.

A word on base frosting.  I'd never used a base frosting before, but decided to give it a try.  The idea is you put a thin layer of frosting on before the decorating layer.  It is supposed to help hold in the crumbs so they do not show through your decorated layer.  I wasn't sure if it worked until I tried doing my decorating frosting on some of the edges that I missed with base frosting.  It DEFINITELY made a huge difference.  The areas I missed with the base frosting were crumbling and falling apart.  Also, my little cake book has a separate recipe for base frosting, but I didn't want to make two kinds of frosting so I just thinned out some of my buttercream and it worked okay.  {Call me lazy.}

Let the base frosting dry for 20 or more minutes.  During this time I started to make some of my colored frosting.  For the each color I put the amount I would need (guesstimated) in a separate bowl to mix it.

For orange I used liquid food coloring: one part red, three parts yellow.

For black I bought a tube of decorating black.  I cheated.  :)

For red I bought some red food coloring paste.  I've tried the liquid and gels before and they just create a dark pink no matter how much I put in.  With the paste I was actually able to get a nice red.  It did take quite a bit though.  It helped that I was only doing a small amount rather than the whole batch of frosting.

Because I only put a thin layer of base frosting on I was able to still see a lot of my scored outlines of his features.  The rest I was able to fill in by looking at the picture.

First I frosted the orange nose, then the white eyes.  When doing this parts I started by putting the majority of the frosting in the center of the area and carefully spreading it to the edges.

This shows the base frosting with just the nose with colored frosting.
I used my black tube to do the pupils.  I only made the outline and it came out thick enough that I was able to carefully spread the line inward to fill in the circle.

Next I made the outline of the mouth, but I suggest NOT DOING THIS YET!  I wish I would have frosted the whole area below the nose and eyes red and then frost the mouth on top of it.  The way I did it I kept getting black frosting smeared in my red.

When spreading the red frosting, make sure it's a little thicker.  This allows you to put it on textured so that it looks like fur.  It's nice that you don't have to worry about putting it on smooth in this instance.

I filled in the mouth similar to how I filled in the pupils.  I made extra lines with the black tube inside of the mouth outline then carefully spread them around to fill it in.

Wahlah!  An Elmo Cake!


  1. My 2 year old nephew would love this, I will have to give it a whirl soon. I am already his favorite auntie, but this would secure that postion.

  2. That is absolutely brilliant. Thank you for sharing how you did it.

  3. Brilliant Elmo cake! Love it!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  4. wow! That is so cute!!! You did an awesome job creating that! Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday's Temptation.

  5. Can't help smiling reading through this- I loved that you linked this up at Seasonal Celebration Sunday!- thank you! Rebecca@Natural Mothers Network x

  6. AAAH! That is so cute!! It looks just like Elmo!! Sometimes you see cakes that are supposed to be characters but don't look quite right...not so with this! You nailed it! My son would love it. I thought at first that his eyes were cupcakes, but I'm even more impressed that you cut the cake that way. Thanks for linking at Shine on Fridays!

  7. Dang it...where were you last weekend?! I had an Elmo party for my baby girl and she turned two as well. I really wanted to make an Elmo cake, but decided to just Elmo-ify everything else (like cookies, cupcakes, cake pops). I just posted the party pics.

    So, what I am trying to say is that this cake looks awesome and the instructions are too.

  8. Well now I'm wishing it was my birthday, lol. Your cake turned out great. Thanks for sharing at our party this week.

  9. Adorable cake! My Ana would just LOVE it!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  10. Just featured this great post..too good not to share!

  11. I like the name of your blog! Thanks for sharing the Elmo cake, I'm going to attempt it for my baby's 1st bday!


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