Monday, January 30, 2012

baby shower onesie cookies

I recently flew to Chicago for my cousin Angie's baby shower.  I grew up with Angie, and we've been best friends for as long as I can remember.  Her friends in Chicago were organizing her baby shower, but I wanted to contribute something, so I offered to make some onesie cookies!

I used my favorite homemade sugar cookie recipe, and used the same onesie cookie cutters (from my previous attempt at baby shower cookies) to cut out the shapes.  Once those were baked and cooled, I outlined the cookies with white royal icing.  After the outlines had dried, I filled them in with thinned royal icing, and then let that dry overnight.

I wanted to make the cookies match the baby shower invitations, so I used orange royal icing to outline half of the cookies, and blue/grey royal icing to outline the rest.  It took me a while to match the blue color to the one in the invitations, but I ended up mixing in royal blue, black, and a teeny bit of purple to achieve the right shade.

Angie's friends did an awesome job with the baby shower - everything was beautiful, and the food (Korean food made by Angie's cousin-in-law) was deelish!  I was so happy that I was able to make the trip to participate in the celebration!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

elmo cake

Even though we didn't have a birthday party for my daughter Melodie's second birthday, I still wanted to make her a cake, to match the cookies and cupcakes that I made for her celebration at daycare.  So I made a cake in the shape of Elmo's face!

I wanted to try something other than chocolate cake, and decided to make a brown sugar cake from Martha's "Cupcakes" book.  I divided the batter in half and used this Elmo cake pan to bake each half of the batter, one half at a time.

Once both cakes were baked and cooled, I began making the filling.  Since I knew that the brown sugar cake was going to be pretty sweet, I wanted the filling to be light. so I whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting, and then lightened it with a batch of freshly whipped cream.

For the frosting, I made a batch of cream cheese buttercream (basically a batch of buttercream frosting with a stick on cream cheese added to it).  Then after frosting Elmo's eyes with the white frosting using an offset spatula, I divided the rest of the frosting it into portions, and colored the them red, orange, and black.  Then I filled in Elmo's eyeballs and mouth with black frosting using a piping bag fitted with a #5 tip.  Next was Elmo's face with red frosting using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, and finally Elmo's nose with orange frosting using the offset spatula.

Melodie loved her Elmo cake!  Although I thought it was a little too sweet.  Also, the next time I make an Elmo cake, I think I'd flatten out the piping on the eyes and the mouth.

And now I'll leave you with a picture of the birthday girl, eating her cake!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

elmo cupcakes - chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese whipped cream frosting

My last post was about the Elmo cookie favors that I made for my daughter's birthday party at daycare, so I also wanted to show you the Elmo cupcakes that I made to go with them!  I had made Elmo cupcakes a few years ago for my son's third birthday - I had used plastic Elmo rings as cupcake toppers, but this time I wanted to make everything edible!

I started by making chocolate cupcakes - mini cupcakes for the kids, and regular cupcakes for the teachers.

For the frosting, I wanted something light and airy, so I made a batch of cream cheese frosting, and then a batch of whipped cream, and then lightened the frosting by folding in the whipped cream.  Then I piped the frosting on with a large closed-star tip, to create a "whipped cream" effect.

The final touch was topping the cupcakes with Elmo toppers that I had made previously by piping them with royal icing on waxed paper - the same method I used for the Superman cupcakes for my son's birthday.

A few notes about using this technique:

* Give the royal icing at least 2 days to dry.

* Be very careful when peeling the dried royal icing off of the waxed paper, as they are very fragile and break easily.  I would almost describe it as "peeling the waxed paper off of the toppers" rather than peeling the toppers from the waxed paper.

* Place your royal icing toppers on top of your cupcakes the day you are serving your cupcakes.  If you leave them on overnight, the toppers may wilt and the colors may bleed onto your frosting (not very attractive when black royal icing bleeds onto white frosting!)

Happy Birthday, my Melodie!

*** Update: you can also find the Elmo cake that I made for her here!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

elmo cookies

My daughter Melodie's turned two the week before Christmas, but I didn't have time to plan a party (I feel so guilty - I didn't have time to plan one last year either!).  However, we had a small party for her at daycare.  And since I did Hello Kitty last year, this year I decided to do her second favorite character - Elmo!

I made Elmo cupcakes for the party (post to come later), and for the favors I made Elmo cookies.  I used this Elmo cookie cutter, and my favorite homemade sugar cookie and royal icing recipes (but you could of course use store bought).

After the cookies were baked and cooled, I used black royal icing to pipe the outlines for Elmo's eyes, nose, and face.  When the outlines had dried, I filled in the face with various colors of royal icing - red for the face, orange for the nose, black for the mouth, and white for the eyes.  

And the finishing touch was adding Elmo's eyeballs.

As always, I wrapped the cookies cellophane bags tied with raffia and custom favor tags.

Melodie loved them!  And so did all the kids (and teachers) in her class!  More to come on the other Elmo goodies that Melodie enjoyed on her birthday!

*** Update: I also made Elmo cupcakes and an Elmo cake!  You can cupcakes here, and the cake here!