Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Cookie Monster Cake, Cupcake, and Cookie Tutorial

Last weekend was my nephew’s second birthday.  I told you all about our Cookie Monster party in my last post.  This time I am going to show you how I made the cookie monster treats… hold on, here we go!

First things first, you need a good cake recipe.  I have been searching for one that is fluffy and moist like boxed cake mix, and after careful consideration, this year we decided to go with the Fluffy Vanilla Cake from Sweetapolita.  It did not disappoint! :)  So, I wanted to make cookie monster’s head in an oval/round shape with a couple big eyes at the top.  Following the lead of Julia at Great Food Fun Places, I made large cupcakes (in a deli muffin pan) for the eyes and a big oval cake.  I used my oval corningware pan which actually made a fine cake, despite my trepidation.  :)  It took a while longer to bake this cake because it was so thick, so if you wanted to ensure that it stayed moist, you could bake two thinner oval layers.


After baking the cakes, I flipped them on to my cooling rack for a bit to finish cooling.


While they were cooling, I whipped up a batch of buttercream frosting.  For the frosting I used the Perfect Crusting Buttercream recipe from I am Baker.  The crusting part of that means that the frosting will form a crust as it dries.  This ensures that your final product will not be easily smeared and also allows you to use the Viva paper towel method to smooth the frosting.  (<—Watch that video, it will change how you frost cakes!)  I only smoothed the eyes in this cake, because the rest is piped with blue fur. :)

So after the cake was cool, I put it on my cake board (which was a plastic tray covered with a piece of polka dot giftwrap).  Then I started shaping the head.  I cut out a couple of half moons from the top to wedge the cupcake eyes in.  I stacked two cupcakes and layered frosting in between.  Then I cut the half moon pieces into little slivers and “glued” those onto the bottom of the cake with frosting to make his head a bit rounder… maybe I could have used a round cake pan after all and just cut out for the eyes?  Anyway, then I frosted over my seams and smoothed out the eyes with a layer of white frosting.


After the frosting had “crusted” a bit I smoothed out the eyes with a Viva paper towel.  They are a little lopsided, but cookie monster is kind of goofy so I figured, just go with it! :)


After all the white parts were frosted, I was ready to pipe the mouth and fur.  And of course, the cookie monster is blue, so after a bit of internet research I decided to use Americolor soft gel paste.  I used the whole bottle of color in two batches of frosting… needless to say, I had waaaaay too much frosting, and it was very blue!


I put the blue frosting in a piping bag fitted with the Wilton fur/grass tip number 233.  Then I set about making cookie monster furry.  That was pretty fun.  I started out doing pulling up motions and then transitioned into curving passes from bottom left, curving up to the top and ending down right.  I layered those up the side to cover the cake.  Then when I reached the top I went back to pulling up motion.  His fur should be kind of random looking.  Pull up and to the right and left and forward and back so it doesn’t look too uniform and neat. 



Once I got the sides and a bit of the top piped, it was time to think about the mouth.  You could do the mouth first, if you like, but I was too excited and almost forgot to fill in the mouth!  I had a paper template that I printed out of cookie monster’s face.  I cut out the mouth and put it on the cake.  Then I traced around it with a skewer, making dots at the edge for me to follow.



Then I started filling in the mouth with store-bought black icing and a star tip. 



I finished filling in the rest of the fur, making sure I got some of the fur over his mouth at the top.  He’s a fluffy guy!  Then I added black circles for the googly eyes.  I originally intended to add a bunch of cookies in his mouth, but I didn’t have any the right size, and once he got to the party (where the cookies were) we decided to just leave them out.  He’s still pretty cute. :)


Because we are party people who loves sweets (like cookie monster) we decided to make cupcakes, too.  For the cupcakes I just baked vanilla cake in black polka dot papers.  After they were cool, I piped on a black mouth shape with the star tip.  Then I filled in the fur with blue frosting.  After all the blue is done, fill in the mouth with half-eaten cookies.  If you wait too long the black icing will crust and then the cookies won’t stick as well… that’s what happened to me!  Cookie monster is a messy eater, so don’t be afraid to get crazy with your cookie placement.  After putting the cookies in his mouth, I added little blue furry hands at the bottom of some of the cookies so it looked like he was shoving cookies in his mouth with both hands!  :)  Next were two big blobs of white for the eyes (I used the open round tip #12).  Then I let the white frosting crust for a bit. 


After the eyes have crusted, I smushed the big white dots down with my finger so they looked like disks.  If the icing sticks to your finger you can dust your finger with cornstarch first.  Then I piped on a smaller dot of black for the eyes (using a regular round tip #4).  Make sure cookie monster’s eyes are properly googly… the crazier the better!  :) After the black dot has crusted, I smushed it flat so it was a small round disk as well.  (You can make a beautiful polka dot cake in this manner… make big dots, and smush them flat after they crust.) 


At the party, I garnished the trays with a bunch of leftover cookies.



And if you can’t stop baking and you simply must make cookies, do it!  It is a Cookie Monster party after all! 

I bought the sesame street cookie cutter set from Wilton that includes Cookie Monster and Elmo.  I made a batch of Deluxe Sugar Cookies which is the Betty Crocker recipe that my mom always used for rolled out sugar cookies.  After baking them, I outlined the blue part with cookie icing.  Some of them I made a squiggly furry edge and some I made smooth.  I like the furry ones best.  After the outline is dry, I flood filled the blue part.  Repeat the same steps for the white eyes.  I used store-bought Wilton cookie icing, which I had used two years ago for my sister’s baby shower owl cookies.  I had way more trouble with it this time.  I don’t think I will use it again, it was way too thin and just slid right off the cookie, which is why some of them are totally covered in icing all down the sides. Delicious, yes, pretty… not so much. :)  Next time, I’ll just make my own royal icing.


After the blue and white were dry, I added a black mouth and black dots for eyes with regular frosting.  While the black frosting is still fresh, add a tiny cookie to the mouth.  I used Chips Ahoy minis that come in the little to-go cup.  They were perfect!  After the black dots of the eyes are dry, smush them flat.


After the cookies dried overnight, I put them in clear cookie bags.  We wrapped ours individually so people could take them home as favors. 


Everyone, especially the birthday boy loved all the cookie monster treats.  And I had a fun time making them, too!



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