Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

October 20, 2008

Mutants and a giveaway

Our Bargy turned two today. Thank you to all who left well wishes over the weekend. We had a lovely party (complete with cake) yesterday.

This year I decided to scale down the grand cake ambitions. I needed something with the wow factor required by a two-year-old, but less work than, say, something like this. I hired a Wilton brand Elmo tin from a cake decorating shop, which happily came with an icing-by-numbers guide. The cake was very straightforward to make. I followed the instructions about meticulously greasing and flouring the tin and good old Elmo dropped straight out all in one piece, with all his smiley face in perfect relief. So far, so good.

Then it was time for the icing.

Elmo needed to be piped in 4 colours of buttercream. The buttercream itself was easily made (I used a very nice stable product called Solite as the base). The colouring was another matter. As you might see from the photo, there was black and red involved. These are really very tricky colours to get right. The black was passable after a few goes at the food colouring, but to be honest the red was really a shade of pink. I'd virtually emptied my little tub of intense gel colouring into the icing, when I realised things were looking dodgy.

I could have coped with a pink Elmo, but to be honest there's nothing more assured to strike fear into the heart of a small boy's father than the threat of a pink birthday cake. Now I'm sure Mr HB will vehemently deny this, but I did catch him frantically scraping the last eensy droplets of gel colouring into the bowl. I think he relaxed when I said we could digitally alter the colour of the icing in the birthday photos. So Elmo was iced and looked passable.

I then moved onto the all important cupcakes. First I made some butterfly cakes, which looked OK ...

... but then I decided to try and use up the remainder of the Elmo butter icing. I decided on mini-Elmos. I sort of wish I hadn't as they are reminiscent of something that you would see on Cake Wrecks. I was in a bit of a hurry.

The buttercream was starting to warm too much in my hot little hands at this point and the piped stars were indistinguishable blobs. The creatures' eyes were are all over the place, their noses askew and their mouths made them look crazed. And in an unfortunate accident (involving my elbow) two of the Elmos lost an eye.

So may I present my Mutant Elmos ...

Luckily small children aren't that discerning. They cheerfully consumed all things sweet and colourful. I might, however, make some more of these cupcakes for Halloween ...

Mini giveaway

I'll call this one a Blogtoberfest giveaway .... but realise that it won't be of interest to everyone.

If you think you might like to try Solite for an icing project, I have a 250g tub to give away (due to customs regulations regarding foodstuffs, I'll need to limit this to Australia this time). I will also throw in a little sparkly cake decorating surprise.

The Solite has a long shelf life (August 2009) and will make more than enough buttercream icing for a cake like Elmo (I'd estimate about 5+ cups, as its 250g Solite, 250g butter and 750g icing sugar). I think Solite is probably similar to the US-manufactured Crisco shortening.

To be in the running, all you need to do is leave a comment describing what you'd like to ice, by 10pm AEST on Friday 24 October. Oh, and I am not secretly working for the manufacturer of Solite ... I simply overestimated how much I might need to keep in the pantry for icing projects over the next 12 months!


  1. I think all those cakes look devine. I had the same problem with red icing when I was trying to make a volcano for dino land for Caleb's birthday last year (why do we do it to oursleves). Anyway pink is Calebs favourite icing colour, especially on donuts. I guess I have Calebs birthday in dec so I could definately use the icing for that.

  2. Ace work!!! I suck at icing cakes so anything to help me improve, count me in on the giveaway ploise.

    Then I might even attempt a proper 3rd birthday cake for Wil this year rather than my 'rubble cake' for Macs first birthday lol

  3. I have serious cake envy. Will you come visit Bondi and make a cake for me? I think the mini elmos look great, but I'm craving one of those butterfly cakes.

    As for the Solite, I'd love to give it a try. As you know I'm a huge Crisco fan and would love to see if it stacks up!

  4. Your cakes are to die for - you are seriously good at this stuff. I might have to hire you as my consultant next year when the Boo needs a cake made - because I completely useless at this.

    I love elmo - especially one you can eat. I bet Bargy loved it too.

  5. The cake is fabulous and I think you are being super critical - I even like the little ones. I have Daphne's 3rd Birthday coming up and I have yet to come up with a cake design (probably something Night Garden maybe) but rest assured it will be covered in sickly butter cream. I have never even heard of solite so thanks for the tip.

  6. Please don't enter me for the giveaway as I am not likely to bake any cakes. Ok, I admit I always buy the birthday cakes. But I did want to say the Elmo cake looks great and the 'mutant' Elmo cupcakes do not look crazes or anything of that sort.

  7. Happy Birthday Bargy! Heck I'd be happy to be able to make the "mutant elmos" they look pretty good to me!

  8. LOVE the mutant Elmos! Happy Birthday to Bargy - hope he had a great day.

    I have plans for a cake for a friend to celebrate her impending divorce procedure... Buttercream icing would e a perfect topping! Yes please!

  9. Happy Birthday to Bargy!
    You're cake turned out great and I think the little Elmo's are gorgeous!

    If I had the solite, I would use it to ice Christmas themed cake!! 'cause Christmas is coming - oh yes it is!

  10. Love the cakes! I agree with Louise - you are very critical of your own fabulous work!

    I made an Elmo cake for Miss J's 3rd birthday 10 years ago - I used raspberry Roll-ups to cover him in red, and licorice for all the black bits. Man, I loved that cake!

  11. Such a great idea to hire a cake tin - had never thought about that. Your elmo cake looked fabulous

  12. What 2 year old would not love that Elmo cake. The butterfly cupcakes look beautiful.Happy birthday to your little one!

  13. my little bug is turning one soon i'd love to make her a great cake like that

  14. Mutants, cupcakes _and_ Elmo- I can feel another Blog Crawl theme coming on!

    The mini Elmos are pretty special- and although I can't see the wonk factor myself, generally I think wonky eyes have a special charm.

    What would I ice? A 2nd birthday cake for my Bug- I like the idea of hiring a cake tin, but I'd probably do my mum's special- a Humpty Dumpty wall with a blown egg (with pipe-cleaner legs) balanced on top. We had one every birthday when we were kids!

  15. oh your cakes looks FABULOUS!!! they are amazing, clever you. I have had my share of novelty cakes (daughters 16 and 9) why do we do it to ourselves? Made a Pikachu this year for my 9 yo and that was quite easy but I think it will be my last one! I am a bit over it so I won't need the Solite although it does sound great.
    ps (I always say I am over it, then I make another one!!!! crazy

  16. Hey, you are being too hard on yourself...you put more effort into to it than *I* would have done! rofl

    (Just commenting on the Elmo cake...leave me out the the Solite draw, please! I don't eat Crisco in the States, and the Solite sounds just as scary! rofl)

  17. Your elmo looks absoluetly terrific!! I have made an elmo before, and it still came out pink no matter how much pillar box red dye I added! Glad the party went well. And I love your elmo cupcakes too. I would love to enter your giveaway too as I just adore trying new icings! I would ice a cake in the shape of another strange marine animal - whichever one my next friend with a birthday selects. (I'm making the nudibranch for my friend tomorrow night...)

  18. I love the mutant Elmos! They rock!

  19. Great cakes....I can't believe this was the scaled down version!

    I'm more interested in how the kids looked after a slice of cake with BLACK & RED icing! Don't enter me in the draw as I would never get around to baking something worthy of the icing!

    Hope you all had a great day.

  20. I dont think they look like mytents - they look great and elmo is cool - why didn't I think of this when I was making a teddy last month.

    The Solite sounds interesting - would love to give it a go.

  21. Oh my gosh - you did a brilliant job!

  22. I am so pleased to hear the party went well with all that sugary goodness.

    Your cakes look wonderful. I love Elmo, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your butterfly cakes, and I think your mini Elmos are cute to boot. Very impressive.

  23. I quite like your mutant mini-Elmos but I so agree about the difficulties of making truly red icing. Even the bottle of "pillarbox red" food dye doesn't cut the mustard.

  24. Ha! Love your cakes! Happy birthday to the little one, too. Count me in for the Solite :-)

  25. Jaysus - are you the Queen of Cake, or what ( and last year's cake - OMG, I bow to you ! )

    Come cater my next kidlet b'day ?


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