Part of my reasoning for cupcakes this year was twofold: 1) We were having her party at a park and cupcakes are just easier to eat on the run and 2) I had another cake that I had agreed to make for this weekend (I know...I'm such a masochist). I really had to be careful about how I allotted my time to all of this, so I prepped a lot of things a couple of weeks ago in anticipation and let me tell you, it's a darn good thing I did–it saved me from having a mommy meltdown!
I had originally wanted to do some really cute goodie bags with rubber duckies, coloring books, stickers, crayons, and play dough for the kids to take home, but after pricing it all out, the party budget was quickly exceeding what I wanted to spend. After the success of the valentine cookie pops, I figured sugar cookies was a great favor idea. Besides, how much more useless toys and crap do kids need to have anyway?
The primary colors for the party were red, blue, green, and yellow, so all of the cookies were iced in those colors and then placed in cello bags.
I chose to make S and 2 cookies because part of the magic of Sesame Street is the "sponsors." If you remember the show, you no doubt remember the credits in which they announced that the show was brought to you by various letters and numbers.
Besides baking, my other passion is party planning, so playing on that theme, I made gift tags that had a little thank you note saying, "This party was brought to you by the letter S and the number 2. Thanks for sharing this special day with me. Love, Sybilla" On the other side, was a character's head, which I made from cardstock and scrap paper. Needless to say, they were a hit. To make the tags, I used a scalloped circle punch to create the muppet's head and used hole punched paper to make the eyes. The pupils were colored in with permanent marker. Big Bird was a little bit of a challenge because of the beak. I ended up making them 3D to get the effect of his beak. Oscar looks a bit more demonic than I would have liked, and Elmo came out looking more like Telly, but hey, the kids knew who they were supposed to be!
For Sybilla, I made a small cake that was slightly larger than cupcake size and decorated it to look like Elmo, her favorite character. She was thrilled with her "Mo."
I was actually going to purchase a cupcake stand, but the one I wanted was at Costco and Costco was closed when I went to purchase it the night before the party. So I drove to Target and my husband spotted that lovely two tiered display stand. He pointed out that it was more versatile so we got that...I'm glad I did! He was so right!
Now for the deets...I know you're all dying to know how I made these adorable little cupcakes!
COOKIE MONSTER: Hands down, the Cookie Monster cupcakes needed to be cookie cake! I used a star tip to create fur and used marshmallows for his eyes. For that cookie crazed look, I made sure to offset the pupils at weird angles. A candy melt created the mouth. I stuck pieces of Cookie Crisp cereal just outside his mouth to make sure everyone knew this was Cookie Monster and not Grover (although there is nothing wrong with Grover).
The Wilton method of decorating cakes, as much as I love to knock it, is perfect for this kind of project!
ELMO: I baked a dozen red velvet cupcakes and used a star tip as well to create "fur" on top. I then used orange jelly bellies for his nose, marshmallows for the eyes, and a chocolate mint candy melt cut in half for the mouth. Because Elmo's head isn't actually round, I added a bit more icing on the sides to create the illusion that his head was more oblong. The red was created by mixing Wilton tasteless red.
BIG BIRD: For Big Bird, I baked a dozen yellow butter cake (vanilla) cupcakes. I did add a bit of yellow dye to them to make them pop some more. Big Bird has feathers as opposed to fur, so I used a ribbon tip and worked my way around in a circle, starting from the outside and moving in to create a feathered look. His eyes are marshmallows with royal icing pupils and his beak is made from fondant. I used lemon yellow and a touch of ivory to create the perfect Big Bird color.
OSCAR THE GROUCH: Flavorwise, nothing really came to mind for Oscar, but he always seems to be surrounded by brown, so why not chocolate? Divine intervention convinced me to add marshmallows (a la Rocky Road ice cream), that added a little something to the flavor, but made the batter spill over the sides a little. Oops! I baked his cupcakes in silver foil cupcake liners to suggest his signature trash can. I used a grass tip to create his fur at first, but then switched to the star tip like I did for the others for consistency. Candy melts made his mouth and the eyebrows were buttercream. In order to make him look like he's frowning, you need to do the eyes first, then add the eyebrows on top.
Giving Oscar some eyes
I had a blast making these and even more fun playing on the playground with daughter all day. Happy Birthday, my little heart...you are my inspiration and I love you more than anything else!
Blowing out the candle (and yes, that's spittle hanging from my daughter's lips...she got a little zealous in blowing out the candle!)