I haven't prepped 6 dozen cupcakes for any event before...it took a lot longer than I expected! Frosting even a big cake never takes me 2 hours, let alone making so many individual features for the faces took 4 hours! I used my new drop-leaf counter, plus my oven for the 2nd time! :)
How to Make Elmo Cupcakes
First, mix up marshmallow fondant or similar edible clay for eyeballs. Thankfully I already had some white marshmallow fondant in my fridge, otherwise that would have been another couple hours a day earlier to make that. I had barely enough for 72 pairs of eyeballs, so close that I was going back & remaking the largest eyeballs to squeeze more out of the batch!
I used large orange gumdrops for the noses, cutting them in half so I had more, but there still wasn't enough orange in 3 bags of gumdrops, so I put the white & yellow ones in a glass bowl & added yellow & red food coloring in water until it looked the same shade of orange. I let that sit awhile for the color to soak in while I was piping smiles. The water soaked all the sugar coating off, so to make them match the other gumdrops, I added lots of granulated sugar, since it kept soaking in!
Melt some semi-sweet or dark chocolate, then use a piping bag or baggie to pipe chocolate smiles on a non-stick sheet like my Roul'Pat or SilPat. Try to make them thick enough to hold together later, especially at the corners. Keep these in the fridge to set up solid.
Roll the marshmallow fondant into eyeballs based on the size of your cupcake face and gumdrop nose, and poke a chocolate chip pointy side in for the pupil for each eye. Set on a non-stick cookie sheet or SilPat at room temperature to harden. Overnight is best.
(break for 5 hours of kitchen backsplash tiling!)
Bake the cupcakes in paper liners per the cake recipe and cool completely. (6 dozen took 2 hours just to mix & bake in shifts!)
(sleep at least a few hours!)
Mix your favorite buttercream frosting, use a piping bag with coupler with no tip to swirl frosting neatly onto the cupcake, even surface with offset spreader, dip into bowl of red sugar, sprinkle red sugar around the edges where the dipping method missed. Repeat until all cupcakes are fuzzy red Muppet faces. I was expecting maybe an hour, but this took me a full 2 hours for all 6 dozen!
Safely transport all your goodies to the party. I don't have cupcake transport containers, let alone for 6 dozen, so I used bubble wrap in boxes for non-slip surface, drove very carefully, and brought the red sugar as a repair kit, which did need to be used in a few cases. Since it was so warm, I kept the chocolate smiles on the Roul'Pat over icepacks in a large baking pan!
Add the features to each cupcake. The chocolate smiles were melting in my fingers barely touching them, so I brought small metal tongs to help me. The tongs also worked well to pick up the pairs of eyeballs without deforming them. Add the eyes first, then the gumdrop nose to help hold the eyes in place, then tuck the top lip of the chocolate smile into the red sugared frosting until you have the correct mouth placement.
Voila! Lots of Elmos say Happy Birthday!
I was also "hired" to do face painting for the party, so I have photos of each of my "customers" in the same gallery, including the birthday boy here, getting Elmo painted on his hand! :)
In other news, the last 20"x20" section of the grouting for the kitchen backsplash will happen tonight...AFTER 19 of us see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, complete with Wizard Rock, costumes, Butterbeer & Butterbeer Light! :)