October 20, 2008
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 ...
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!