The Sesame Street desserts were my favorite part of my son’s Sesame themed party. Based on the rave reviews, I think they were my guests’ favorite part too.
I just loved how the Sesame Street cake turned out… so much that I was actually sad cutting into it.
The cake was a 12″ two-layer, gluten-free vanilla cake with chocolate icing. Red sprinkles covered the sides of the cake, along with two Elmo face cut-outs – made from cut-out cookies and chocolate melts.
The cupcakes were regular vanilla cake with chocolate icing and decorated with sprinkles, icing tubes, and chocolate chip cookie halves to resemble Elmo and Cookie Monster.
Our guests were totally impressed with the Sesame Street desserts – and they were so easy to decorate.
DIY Cookie Monster Cupcakes Video
Elmo and Cookie Monster Cupcakes
After making the cupcake batter, I filled the muffin liners 3/4 of the way full. I wanted to have a nice dome at the top of the cupcake. If the cupcake was too flat, the monster faces would be harder to make and wouldn’t look as nice.
Cupcake Decorating Materials:
- a large bag of red sprinkles – I looked for just red and just blue sprinkles everywhere – Michaels, Joann, AC Moore, Walmart, Target, the grocery stores – and couldn’t find any! I found these on Amazon. The bags are pretty big, and I had a lot of extra 🙂
- a large bag of blue sprinkles
- chocolate chip cookies – broken in half and used for Cookie Monster’s mouth. Homemade or store-bought both work fine. I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies a week earlier and put about a dozen (broken in half) aside and froze them for the cupcakes. Working with frozen cookies was easier too.
- icing tubes in white, black, and orange .- used for the eyes, mouth, and nose. When looking through the aisles at Joann and Michael’s for ideas, I kept seeing pre-made candy eyes. I preferred using icing because those little candies can be a choking hazard for little ones.
Pictured above is my Cookie Monster cupcake set-up.
If you are thinking of making the Elmo cake also, you can use leftover sprinkles and icing tubes from the cupcakes 🙂
Cookie Monster Cupcake Decorating
- First, after the cupcakes cooled, I iced them. I was running a little low on icing, so I put just enough on so that the sprinkles would have something to stick too.
- Next, I filled a small bowl with blue sprinkles, and then I flipped the iced cupcake upside down and dipped it into the sprinkles. I twisted it around a little to give the sprinkles a good stick.
- Then, I used a white tube of icing to make Cookie’s eyes. I first made a circle outline and then carefully filled it in.
- After that, I used the black tube of icing to make the pupils. I made sure to make one higher than the other, as that is Cookie’s signature look.
- When the eyes were done, I took a chocolate chip cookie half and ran a strip of icing across the edge of the cookie (the part that would to stick to the cupcake), and then stuck it on.
I used a pizza pan to put the cupcakes on, so the sprinkles didn’t run everywhere.
A cookie sheet would be fine too, but I was using all of those for my butterscotch batches that were baking.
Here is a picture of the finished Cookie Monster cupcakes.
They turned out so cute and were much easier to make with sprinkles, rather than the blue icing 🙂 The only decorating that was needed was the eyes.
Elmo Cupcake Decorating
For the Elmo cupcakes, I took almost the exact same steps as the Cookie Monster cupcakes listed above: I baked the cupcakes large so they would have a dome, iced the top, and then dunked them into a bowl of red sprinkles.
I then used the icing tubes to draw on the face. A little more skill was required for Elmo’s eyes, nose, and mouth (compared to just Cookie’s eyes), and I was tired from baking all day – but they still turned out pretty nice.
If your toddler can recognize Elmo, then you know it looks pretty good 🙂
The Elmo Cake
The Elmo cake consisted of three main parts – the Elmo face cut-outs used on the sides of the cake, the icing, and the actual cake. All of them were pretty simple to make. I made the face cut-outs the night before I did the cake, so two nights before the party. Then I made the cake and icing the day before. I also did the decorating the day before.
Elmo Cake Decorating Materials
Listed below are all of the materials for the Elmo cake. I had 50+ people coming, so I wanted to have plenty of Sesame Street desserts to go around.
- Large Round Cake Pan – I used a 12″ cake pan, found on Amazon. It came in a set of four cake pans for $26, as it included a 6″, 8″, 10″, and a 12.” I figured if I was going to undertake this Elmo cake endeavor this year that I was sure to use the other sizes in future endeavors (maybe a tiered cake next year?). I also compared prices at Michaels, AC Moore, and Joann, and even with a coupon, this was the best deal.
- Cardboard Cake Circle – I hemmed and hawed about purchasing these 14″ cake circles, and I’m so glad I did because in hindsight, I wouldn’t have pulled off this cake without them. Not only did they make taking the cake out of the pan so easy, but I also used them to hold the cake while in the fridge, and they easily allowed me to place the cake right on top of the cake holder. With a cake this big, cookie sheets and regular round plates would not have been a help at all.
- Double Recipe of Cake Batter – I made my cake gluten-free from the most amazing recipe. Yammie’s Gluten Freedom has a recipe called The Best Gluten Free White Cake Ever. Instead of using eight egg whites, I used four whole eggs, and instead of using her gluten free flour blend, I used this one from America’s Test Kitchen called America’s Test Kitchen’s Gluten Free Flour Blend. It’s the only gluten-free recipe I have used that people have no idea it’s gluten-free. Even my gluten-loving husband was fooled. However, you can use any cake batter recipe for this – even two cake boxes. 🙂
- Double Recipe of Icing – I used a chocolate recipe that my mom makes for every family birthday. It’s quite simple but results in a lot of taste-testing for the correct balance of sugar and chocolate.
- Extra icing or icing tubes for decorating – I used the leftover orange icing tube from the Elmo cupcakes to write on the cake, and also I used the leftover chocolate icing to do borders on the cake.
- Red sprinkles – These are for the sides of the cake – to make Elmo red. I found a great bag of red sprinkles on Amazon that I used on the cupcakes and the cake, and I still have leftovers.
- Elmo’s eyes/nose cut-outs – I made these from cut-out cookies. In addition to having cut-out cookie batter (I made a half-batch), you’ll need candy melts in orange, black, and white. You will have lots of leftovers from these for future baking projects – or for delicious chocolate covered pretzels. Keep reading for instructions on these 🙂
Decorating the Elmo Cake
So my plan was to make red icing from beets to give Elmo his color.
I know that sounds crazy, but I didn’t feel like dumping a whole bunch of red dye into the icing that I knew my son would be eating by the spoonful.
I read that beets can be used for red icing, so why not try and make an MSG-free alternative?!
Well, in short, tampering with the beets was a waste of time the day before having a huge party at your house. The beets turned the icing hot pink.
Like really hot pink.
Too bad I wasn’t making an Abby Cadabby cake.
The teacher in me thought that I could still use the hot pink beet icing to ice the cake, and then put the red sprinkles over the side to make Elmo.
Well, that idea sunk when the cake started looking like Valentine’s Day with the hot pink and the bright red.
I laugh now, but oh was I frustrated!
So, how did we get Elmo red?!
We sent Ash out to the store for more powdered sugar, and my sister, who is the icing master, made another huge batch of icing in chocolate.
Our altered plan was to ice the cake with chocolate frosting and then use the red sprinkles for the sides.
It worked out well, and we absolutely loved the way it turned out!
The most time-consuming part, beets aside, was getting the sprinkles to stick to the sides of the cake.
My quick google search showed me there was no good strategy, other than tilting, and I was not tilting a two-layer 12″ cake.
So, I grabbed a handful of sprinkles and pressed them up to the icing to make it stick. It took a while, but it was worth it in the end. I absolutely love the way the Elmo cake turned out.
Making Elmo’s Face Cut-Outs
This was actually the easiest part of making the Sesame Street cake.
First, I made a half batch of my mom’s cut-out cookies. You can make these a day early and leave the dough refrigerated overnight.
I used circle cookie cutters to get Elmo’s eyes right, overlapping the circles a little. Then, I made two different sizes – a smaller and a larger, so that I could pick the better of the two after they baked.
I made about a half dozen of each version – just to have extras.
For Elmo’s nose, I used a large oval cookie cutter to go with the larger eyes.
Since I didn’t have a smaller oval cookie cutter, I set the large one down in the dough as a guide and used a knife to cut a smaller oval. I made about two or three of each size nose.
As a visual guide, I had an Elmo party hat in front of me, with the character cut-outs that I used on the party decorations. This was helpful to look at as I worked.
After the cookies had baked and cooled, I picked from the two sizes I had made. I actually chose the smaller size, and then I got started on the decorating.
I used candy melts in white and black (see materials above).
For the whites of the eyes, I melted the candy melts and half dipped/half iced it onto the cookie.
Then, I simply took two chocolate morsels from the black candy melt bag and stuck them on for the pupils.
The size was perfect!
For the orange, I thought I bought orange candy melts, but I hadn’t. Ugh!
I wasn’t making another trip to the store, so I had to improvise and use a little of the orange icing tube that was for nose on the Elmo cupcakes.
I just spread it over the nose cookie until it was smooth. It would have turned out better with the melted candy, as the icing was a little streaky.
But hey, it saved me a trip back out 🙂
If you haven’t used candy melts before, the trick with these (or melting any kind of chocolate in the microwave) is to microwave the morsels for 30 seconds at a time.
After 30 seconds, stir the chocolate up really well. Continue this pattern until the chocolate is all melted.
When you are heating it up in 30 second increments and giving it a good stir in between, you don’t run the risk of burning the chocolate.
Making Abby’s Magical Wands
For Abby’s Magical Wands, I simply bought pretzel sticks and dipped them in hot pink candy melts.
After dipping, I placed them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. This contains the drips and sprinkles. I also used some of the white candy melts to drizzle on them too, after the pink had set.
I was so pleased with how the desserts turned out. It was definitely my best cake ever.
Last year, I tried to draw on a bear that looked more like a blob….
This year, I used cookies, sprinkles, and chocolate melts to mask my poor decorating skills 🙂
The Sesame Street desserts totally impressed my party guests and myself. These simple tutorials show you exactly how you can make your own party desserts. The Elmo and Cookie Monster cupcakes were a big hit among the kids! And, the adults loved the cake.
When you enjoy baking and creating something totally awesome, the time spent was absolutely worth it.
And, it was all in a day’s work!