What is about to follow is absolutely shameless posting of an adorable little gal... our little Emma-bean, niece-extraordinaire, who is growing up to be a wonderful little person because of her great parents (Alan and Kate) and the village that they have supporting them.
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y, E M M A! !
Momma Kate has the market cornered in terms of family birthday cakes and prepares a special creation for the birthday celebrations in the family. This time, for Emma's birthday, she invited me over to help create the oh-so-loved Elmo birthday cake and Cookie Monster cupcakes for Emma's 2nd birthday.
Kate baked the cupcakes and cake before I arrived, then -together- we set out to finish the icing and decorate! For the icing, we used the quasi buttercream that I love as a standby. We used a star tip on our pastry bags and, on top of the crumb coat, piped star after star to give texture and form to Elmo. To make your life easier, decorate the cake on the cake stand or whatever plate you plan on using to serve the cake. When piping the sides, pipe from the bottom to the top, so that each star can use the one below it to support its weight. No lie, there were a few hand-cramps during this process. hah.
File this tip for future cake-decorating extravaganzas though... Either watch it all for some other tricks or skip forward to the 1 minute and 3 second mark. I'll be filling my pastry bags this way from now on. I can't believe I didn't know this before the four-colour Elmo cake. Oh well. :)
Another great find of Kate's was this tutorial on making Cookie Monster cupcakes. The Cookie Monster cupcakes were genius and only required the icing, small chocolate chip cookies, blue jello, white candy or chocolate buttons, and regular sized chocolate chips.
As though a room full of two-year olds could do with more sugar, I went home and made a batch of Elmo and Cookie Monster sugar cookies, complete with cookies with bite marks and one Emma cookie.
For the sugar cookies, I went to my standby Autumnal Sugar Cookies recipe, subbing maple for chocolate extract. I used different sized circle cutters - a large circle for the Elmo and Cookie Monster faces (and the Emma cookie... that's what happens with you have leftover blue and red icing!), then a small cutter for Cookie Monster's cookies. The bite marks were made by "cutting" rounded chunks out of the cookie with a small 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon. The decorating was the same as with the goats and pumpkins... I spread the base layer with an icing spatula, then converted small ziploc bags into piping bags for the detail.
We had a lot of fun both making, then presenting these fantastic creations to Emma and her wee friends. If you're making a birthday cake for your special little person (or your special big person), why not have a bit of fun with it?? It doesn't take much longer to go from a regularly iced cake to something really special. Think about it.
And here are my favourite animal friends from her own birthday petting zoo... seriously, what are we going to do next year, Kate??
Yep, sheep and goats. Love these-babies.
I wanted to steal this chick and start my urban chicken family.
If the zoo-keeper hadn't done a chick-count.............