Homemade Elmo Cupcakes: My Tips and Ideas

I decided to I wanted to make Elmo cupcakes for my soon to be two-year old’s birthday. I remember always loving the cakes my mom made for my birthday so I wanted to give it a try.  This was my first real attempt at cake decorating, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

It probably took us a little longer than it should have but it was really fun! I thought I would share what I did and  what I learned in case you ever really need Elmo cupcakes.

1. I baked the cupcakes.

I just used a boxed strawberry cake mix and store-bought vanilla icing. They were both in the pantry and I am sure I got them free or almost free at some point. I did spend $7 on a Wilton Basic Cake Decorating Set. I felt like it was a good set for someone who had no idea what they were doing.

Lesson #1-Do not leave children unattended near the cupcakes, even to change another child’s diaper. We were down one cupcake before the decorating even began.

2.I gathered all of my decorating supplies while the cupcakes baked.

Icing– I just used store bought icing and Wilton red icing color. It took more color than I thought it would to get really red.

Eyes– marshmallows and raisins.

Mouth-Oreo cookies

Nose -Starburst Jelly Beans left over from Easter

3.Things I learned while decorating

  • Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting them. I know this sounds obvious to some of you but… well, just wait.
  • There is a reason there are cake decorating classes. While it is really fun it is not quite as easy as it looks on TV.
  • You get better as you go, my last cupcakes look way better than my first few.
  • It was helpful to put the icing in the refrigerator for a few minutes about half way through. I am not sure if my hands were making it too warm, but it started to get a little too soft and wouldn’t hold its shape. About 10 minutes in the refrigerator made it easier to work with.
  • For the eyes– I learned to cut the marshmallows in half. They are just too tall otherwise. Also, it is a good idea to cut a small section off of one of your marshmallows so the eyes will stick together well. I saved some of the white icing to “glue” the raisins onto the marshmallows. The raisins worked OK but I would suggest getting some brown icing. It is hard to find two raisins that are close to the same size and the white icing sticks out a bit.
  • For the mouth– the Oreos worked great. I scraped the icing from the inside and the cut them in half. Tip-when cutting Oreos it is best to do it by pressing straight down with your knife in one fast motion. Also, do not use the Oreo cutting knife to then cut marshmallows, unless you rinse it off first. oops.

So here they are, my Elmo cupcakes. They will go well with the Elmo plates the boys and I made last week. The cupcakes are by no means perfect, but he will love them and we had a great time making them. I am considering taking a cake decorating class. I enjoyed this experiment and with so many more birthday cakes to come in this family it would serve me well to know a little more.

If any of you are more experienced cake decorators and have some advice I am all ears! I would love to get better at this and I am sure there are several tricks I don’t know.

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