Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Friendly faces on a cold day

It has been cold and snowy here for the past few days. Which has made going outside to play a much less appealing activity for me... But there is still a Little Girl to entertain, so I have been doing my best to be creative. One problem though, is that when I ask Little Girl what she would like to do, her answer is usually "Elmo!" Well, we can only watch so many Elmo DVDs in a day (that would be one...!), and her Elmo stuffed animals and coloring book don't hold her attention for as long as other activities. So today I decided to get creative. It had been a few days since I had baked anything, and we should be getting some company tomorrow, so I thought it only appropriate to multitask. I asked Little Girl if she would like to help me make Elmo cupcakes. She was pretty excited about the idea, so I figured we should go for it. I started my looking on-line for different examples of Elmo cupcakes. I then needed to think about what I had on hand to use for decorations. My two concerns were: 1) I didn't have enough eggs to make both cakes and frosting and 2) the only red food coloring I had was liquid drops - I knew that would water down the frosting and end up pink... So Little Girl and I made a quick trip to the craft store and the neighboring grocery store for gel color and eggs. Tools in hand, it was time to bake.
I used my regular yellow cake recipe, but added a whole lot of red (liquid) food coloring to it. How much? Oh, something like 18 drops. And the result? Still pink. But oh well, the cakes cooked up nicely, so I figured that the pink base would be fine...!
Next, it was frosting time. I used the same frosting recipe I used for my birthday cake a few weeks ago. I then added my new red gel food coloring. I watched the gel mix into the white frosting... and watched it turn pink. I added more gel. Still pink. Hmm... Not how I had hoped things would go... I decided to use the pink as a base coat on the cakes while I tried to figure out how to make sure Elmo didn't wind up being pink through and through...
When I spoke with my sister later in the day she offered her bright red sanding sugar to me, but the little matters of a 45 minute drive between our houses and her just getting home after having a baby (welcome home, Baby Boy!!) made it so that the genuine offer wasn't very practical. But it got me thinking. With the gel coloring, I wouldn't have to worry too much about dissolving... I would try to make my own red sugar! While I think that my fingers might be permanently stained, I wound up with a great color that was much more appropriately Elmo than the pink was!!
With the color right, it was time to make the facial features. I didn't have marshmallows or black decorating icing or anything. But I did have miniature spice gel candies, mini chocolate chips and small chocolate sandwich cookies. Those turned into eyes, noses and mouths.
This was a lot of prep work, and I wasn't even done yet. But it was finally time for the last step. Assembly. I have to admit, though, I was enjoying myself the whole time. (Well, except for the part where it was a little creepy seeing 16 pairs of little googly eyes staring at me...!) I couldn't wait to see how they looked put together. And I was also curious to see if Little Girl would like them.

When she woke up from her nap I brought her to the kitchen to see who was there. She took one look and answered, with a huge smile:


Totally worth it!


  1. SOOO cute! I never wanted to eat Elmo so much in my life lol Happy New Year, Ruth! Oh, also, your stollen turned out great! Wish I had been able to take part.

  2. Very cute and clever!

    I made an elmo cake once(two bundt cake placed together to make a ball, with a wedge cut out for the mouth), and I discovered the secret to easy redness: spray on food coloring. The Wilton aisle of craft store or even the supermarket has spray cans of food coloring. Just make sure to lay out lots of newspapers to get the excess.

  3. I have awarded you a stylish blogger award!