elmo birthday cake

December 23, 2013 | 2 comments

Elmo Birthday Cake

I have had three weeks to come to grips with my baby (you remember our little burrito, right? He was this sweet, sleepy size just yesterday I swear.) turning 2. It’s not working. I’m either beside myself moaning/half crying that my baby is so grown up — thanks pregnancy hormones — or I’m busy chasing a wild toddler around wondering when he will grow out of this terrible (awful, horrible, I’m pulling my hair out over here) two phase. Right now I’m somewhere in between. Which is why I can calmly talk about this here monster cake I made for our, well, monster.

pulsing the berries
strawberry speckles
thick like ice cream

If you had asked me three months ago I would have had no idea what I was doing for our tot’s birthday. Two months ago, I would have said legos. This month, well clearly, it was Elmo. You see,  just like his first birthday, I wanted a cake that represented his favorite thing from that year. But this year our kid and his favorites haven’t changed. He is still attached to his stuffed animals — it is a nightmare if we even attempt to leave the house without 2 of them — he loves baseball caps — after a year of throwing a fit if anything touched his head — he is still obsessed with all balls, especially “feetballs” and loves his legos, or more appropriately the lego bag which fits perfectly over his head with a little window he can see through as he pummels his way through the house. And if I was convinced one of those was his favorite of favorites I would have sucked it up and made it into a cake, but honestly they all sound a bit blah.

adding the electric
so red it hurts
electric strawberry cake

Then at 23 months my kid decided to change his 5 word vocabulary to a 50+ word vocabulary and we quickly found, after repeated requests all day long, his absolute favorite thing in his small world was Elmo. And Cookie and Abby and “Bi Bud” and “Gwowo” (yeah, that’s Grover, err, Super Grover 2.0). Yes, suddenly our kid was telling us in his own words that Sesame Street was his favorite thing and it was decided that he would celebrate his second year with an Elmo monster cake with only 3 weeks to spare.

tracing the face
lots of color
piping the face
face fur, fluffed
the big squeeze
filling in and smoothing out
Sesame Street Sign

I looked online and scoured Pintrest for ideas on an Elmo cake and I realized between my lack of energy due to incubating a second tiny human, chasing around a slightly larger miniature human and my overall non existent ability to draw I was just not capable of spackling together something that resembled Elmo — a red blob was the best my efforts could produce. So I took a total shortcut and used a printable blank coloring page of Elmo’s face. Once the stencil was cut out, I used it to trace the face onto the cake and from there I transformed myself into a 2 year old (with mad staying-in-the-lines skills) and colored in the face with frosting. As a backup I turned the strawberry flavored cake into a neon red cake — surely a cake colored like Elmo would make up for a red blob if things went south — but luckily the kid recognized the monster decking out the top of his cake as his one and only Elmo and thus we concluded his second birthday — happily, with sugar.

Elmo Birthday Cake
Elmo Birthday Cake

Strawberry Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Makes 1 3-layer 8-inch cake

Cake:
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups frozen finely-pulsed strawberries (from about 5oz frozen strawberries)
8 egg whites
2/3 cups milk
3 tablespoons red food coloring (from about a 1 fl.oz. bottle of red food dye)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment and butter paper.

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together butter and pulsed frozen strawberries until strawberries are evenly distributed throughout butter. Beat in dry ingredients until blended then raise speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. The batter will be super thick and resemble strawberry ice cream at this point — whatever you do, don’t taste the batter! It is impossible to resist repeating this folly once you give in.

Wipe out the bowl that contained the dry ingredients and mix together the egg whites, milk and food coloring — it will be electric! Add the whites to the batter in 2 or 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This makes a ton of frosting, and if not piping an elaborate design for a two year old, I would suggest halving the recipe, except for the cream cheese. I would reduce that to 3 packages instead of 2 1/2.

5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, or more if desired
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla then gradually add the confectioners sugar until everything is combined.

After cakes have cooled place one cake layer on a cake board or cake plate, I usually like to anchor this layer with a tiny bit of frosting smeared in the center of the board or plate to ensure the cake doesn’t slide around. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with second layer. Add the top layer and thinly frost the sides and top of cake with frosting sealing in any neon red crumbs. Place cake in refrigerator until frosting has stiffened a bit, around an hour or two, then frost a thicker, more appropriate layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Place in refrigerator for a couple of hours or over night until frosting has set up and become more stiff.

With remaining frosting separate into separate bowls and tint. I used red, orange and black for Elmo’s face, green, yellow and blue (along with leftover red from the face) for the Sesame Street sign and polka dots around the sides of the cake. I also reserved untinted frosting for the eyes and the lettering on the sign.

When ready to frost cake, placed tinted frostings into piping bags (or my preference, zip lock bags with the corner snipped off) fitted with a #4 or #5 tip. I used this Elmo face coloring page I found online. I printed it, cut it out, using only the fur portion, you can see this in the pictures above. (I eye-balled the nose and eyes since I didn’t want to risk smearing the red frosting by placing the stencil back on the cake to trace it.)

Place the stencil on the top of the cake and with a pairing knife or toothpick, gently trace around the face and then carefully peel off the paper. Pipe red frosting along the outline of the face you just traced and then fill it in with red frosting. Using your pairing knife or toothpick trace Elmo’s nose and eyes onto the cake. Out line the nose with orange frosting and fill in being careful not to smear it into the red. Take your white frosting and out line the eyes and fill in. With the black frosting, free hand Elmo’s pupils in the center of the white eyes and then outline the mouth (this part should have been left white, see above pictures) and gently fill in with black. Elmo’s face should now be complete! Take a breath, relieve your aching, cramped hand muscles and pat yourself on the back. Your a baller!

For the sign, I used a pairing knife and free handed a rectangle with a half circle on top. If I was paying better attention I would have centered it better beneath Elmo, but I was watching my almost 2 year old and honestly he’s lucky he got more than an Elmo face. Once the sign is traced, pipe the outline with green and then fill it in completely. Using white frosting, pipe age number and name onto the sign. Decorate the rest of the cake with polka dots or whatever you’d like. I like the idea of outlining the green sign in yellow, but I ran out of frosting after piping dots around the bottom edge of the cake. Do what you/your baby would like, have fun with it! And then give yourself mad props for creating something so awesome!

Conversions & Equivalents

Volume | Baking | Metric | Pan Size | Temperature | Oven | Other

1/2 teaspoon = 30 drops
1 teaspoon = 1/3 tablespoon OR 60 drops
3 teaspoon = 1 tablespoon or 1/2 fluid ounce
1/2 tablespoon = 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons or 1/2 fluid ounce
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup or 1 fluid ounce
3 tablespoons = 1 1/2 fluid ounces
4 tablespoons = 1 1/4 cup or 2 fluid ounces
5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces
10 2/3 tablespoons = 2/3 cup or 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup or 6 fluid ounces
16 tablespoons = 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint
1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces
2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
5/8 cup = 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces
7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1 cup = 16 tablespoons or 1/2 pint or 8 fluid ounces
2 cups = 1 pint or 16 fluid ounces
1 pint = 2 cups or 16 fluid ounces
1 quart = 2 pints or 4 cups or 32 fluid ounces
1 gallon = 4 quarts or 8 pints or 16 cups or 128 fluid ounces
FLOUR
1 cup all-purpose flour = 5 ounces or 142 grams
1 cup cake flour = 4 ounces or 113 grams
1 cup whole wheat flour = 5 1/2 ounces or 156 grams
SUGAR
1 cup granulated white sugar = 7 ounces or 198 grams
1 cup packed brown sugar = 7 ounces or 198 grams
1 cup confectioners sugar = 4 ounces or 113 grams
COCOA POWDER
1 cup cocoa powder = 3 ounces or 85 grams
BUTTER
4 tablespoons = 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup or 2 ounces
8 tablespoons = 1 stick or 1/2 cup or 4 ounces
16 tablespoons = 2 sticks or 1 cup or 8 ounces
32 tablespoons = 4 sticks or 2 cups or 1 pound
1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 milliliters
1/2 teaspoon = 2.46 milliliters
3/4 teaspoon = 3.7 milliliters
1 teaspoon = 4.93 milliliters
1 1/4 teaspoon = 6.16 milliliters
1 1/2 teaspoon = 7.39 milliliters
1 3/4 teaspoon = 8.63 milliliters
2 teaspoon = 9.86 milliliters
1 tablespoon = 14.79 milliliters
2 tablespoons = 29.57 milliliters
1/4 cup = 59.15 milliliters
1/2 cup = 118.3 milliliters
1 cup = 236.59 milliliters
2 cups or 1 pint = 473.18 milliliters
3 cups = 709.77 milliliters
4 cups or 1 quart = 946.36 milliliters
1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 milliliters
4 quarts or 1 gallon = 3.785 liters
PAN SIZE VOLUME CAN SUBSTITUTE WITH
1 8-inch round cake pan 4 cups

1 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 9-inch round cake pan

1 9-inch pie plate

2 8-inch round cake pans 8 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

1 10-inch springform pan

1 9-inch round cake pan 6 cups

1 8-inch round cake pan

1 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

2 9-inch round cake pans 12 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 8-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 11x7-inch baking dish

1 10-inch springform pan

1 10-inch round cake pan 11 cups

2 8-inch round cake pan

1 9-inch tube pan

1 10-inch springform pan

2 10-inch round cake pans 22 cups

5 8-inch round cake pans

3 or 4 9-inch round cake pans

2 10-inch spring form pan

9-inch tube pan 12 cups

2 8-inch round cake pans

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

10-inch tube pans 16 cups

3 9-inch round cake pans

2 10-inch pie plates

4 8-inch pie plates

2 9x5-inch loaf pans

2 8-inch square baking dishes

2 9-inch square baking dishes

10-inch bundt pan 12 cups

1 9x13-inch baking dish

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 11x7-inch baking dishes

1 10-inch springform pan

11x7x2-inch baking dish 6 cups

1 8-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch round cake pan

9x13x2-inch baking dish 15 cups

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

3 8-inch round cake pans

1 10x15-inch jellyroll pan

10x15x1-inch jellyroll pan 15 cups

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

2 8-inch round cake pan

1 9x13-inch baking dish

9x5-inch loaf pan 8 cups

1 10-inch pie plate pan

1 8-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch square baking dish

8x4-inch loaf pan 6 cups

1 8-inch round cake pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

9-inch springform pan 10 cups

1 10-inch round cake pan

1 10-inch spring form pan

2 8-inch round cake pans

2 9-inch round cake pans

10-inch springform pan 12 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 9-inch tube pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 11x7-inch baking dishes

2 8-inch round cake pans

8-inch square baking dish 8 cups

1 9x5-inch loaf pan

2 8-inch pie plates

9-inch square baking dish 8 cups

1 11x7-inch baking dish

1 9x5-inch loaf pan

2 8-inch pie plate

Water Freezes 32°F 0°C
  40°F 4.4°C
  50°F 10°C
  60°F 15.6°C
  70°F 21.1°C
  80°F 26.7°C
  90°F 32.2°C
  100°F 37.8°C
  110°F 43.3°C
  120°F 48.9°C
  130°F 54.4°C
  140°F 60°C
  150°F 65.6°C
  160°F 71.1°C
  170°F 76.7°C
  180°F 82.2°C
  190°F 87.8°C
  200°F 93.3°C
Water Boils 212°F 100°C
  250°F 121°C
  300°F 149°C
  350°F 177°C
  400°F 205°C
  450°F 233°C
  500°F 260°C
275°F = 140°C or Gas Mark 1
300°F = 150°C or Gas Mark 2
325°F = 165°C or Gas Mark 3
350°F = 180°C or Gas Mark 4
375°F = 190°C or Gas Mark 5
400°F = 200°C or Gas Mark 6
425°F = 220°C or Gas Mark 7
450°F = 230°C or Gas Mark 9
475°F = 240°C or Gas Mark 10

And for conversions that are not listed I found a great conversion calculator here!

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  1. It looks wonderful! Happy Birthday to your baby boy. And I had no idea you were pregnant again, since I have stopped being online for a while and hardly blogging now. Congratulations!

  2. Elmo is sooo cute! Great cake!!

 

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