EDIT: I'll be adding pictures and such soon. This was written a few weeks ago and I never got them put in. SORRY!
Mike has been gone all week playing for libraries in very northern Minnesota. At one point he could see Canada across the water! Funny thing is that he is often told he sounds like he is from Canada, which he didn't agree with after listening to Canadian radio and TV personalities. Then at one of the libraries (less than 30 minutes from the Canadian border) someone told him he sounded like he was from Canada! Made me laugh since he just can't get away from that accent of his. For the record he is from the Milwaukee area and has no relatives that live anywhere north of Milwaukee.
Because of Daddy's absence we invited a friend over to play one day so I could have an adult conversation and Little Guy could burn off some energy. About 3 hours before they arrived for dinner and playing I realized that the next day was that little boy's 2nd birthday. And I hadn't planned on anything special for him. So off to the races I went and whipped up a cake!
This was a very simple, not that great looking, but did the job and made two little boys happy kind of decorated cake. My Little Guy LOVES Elmo and I have seen many different Elmo cakes around the internet. I've always figured I'd make him one, but never really had a good excuse to add more butter cream and cake to our lives. I figured this was a good reason to do so!
First I whipped up our standard chocolate cake recipe. I just did a single recipe worth and split the batter between two round pans. I don't have any special cake pans (I think they sell an actual Elmo pan) but I think you can make a lot of fun cakes with your basic round and square cake pans! This made for two very thin layers as the recipe would typically make one round layer or an 8x8 pan. I did this so they would cook faster since time was of the essence. Once they were out of the oven I flipped them out of the pans, let them cool a few minutes and then put them in my cake carrier. I put the first layer down, added a thin layer of raspberry jam to adhere them and then popped the second layer on top. Since the cake was still warm I threw it in the refrigerator to cool while I got the frosting going.
I didn't have my butter cream recipe out so I winged it from memory and made it extra stiff so I'd be able to use it for piping. Once I took out some for the nose and mouth I thinned out the rest to make it more spreadable. No time for a crumb layer, but with a bright red color and a thick application it went on fine. Then I threw on the marshmallows and used the flat end of a skewer to apply some food color as eyeballs. I took some of the thick frosting and added orange food color to it. I was able to shape it into a nose pretty quickly and it turned out way better than the eyes. I wish I had kept more frosting white and shaped the eyes since the marshmallows are a little odd looking.
The mouth was a dilemma as I didn't have any black food coloring left. I used brown and it is okay, but I really need to get black if I'm going to do this again. I did the wrong mouth shape at first, but after checking a book with Elmo's picture I tried to fix it. It's definitely not perfect, but again, it worked.
Last, since I had extra red frosting (Why didn't I have extra for the Thomas the Train Cake? That's where I really could have used it!) I put it into a pastry bag and tried to make hair all over. I should probably tell you that I have two REALLY old pastry bags and one has holes all over it. I also have a total of 3 tips. I have no real professional tools (maybe it should go on my Christmas list?) and I just do the best I can. I really wasn't liking the way the monster fur turned out, but didn't have time to try anything else.
Again, this was not my best cake, but it really surprised the birthday boy and my Little Guy LOVED having an Elmo cake in the house. Of course, it was really hard for him to wait until they came, but he enjoyed his piece and the left overs the next day!
And I should mention that we met this little boy and his mom through our Bradley class. I cannot say enough for the wonderful support we've gotten from the families in that class. The seven families have all stayed in touch and we are all celebrating 2nd birthdays this year. There is nothing like having moms to encourage you through the challenging times and cheer with you through the wonderful moments. It is so awesome to have a group of people with similar outlooks on birth and child rearing that are going through the exact same stages as you at the same time. I am so grateful that we took that class and that our group has stayed in touch! This summer we've welcomed 4 more new siblings (Peanut, another little girl and a set of twins, one boy and one girl) and we've got one more on the way fairly shortly. Such fun!