How To Make Elmo Cake
Bring out the kid in you with this cute, beginner-friendly Elmo cake recipe made with moist vanilla cake, white chocolate, and vanilla buttercream.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed for about 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about 2 minutes until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl. Then with the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the milk and beat on low speed just until combined; do not over-mix. The batter will be slightly thick.
Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for about 24 to 25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, milk/cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for about 3 minutes. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is way too sweet. Frosting will be thick.
Place 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (about 1 heaping cup) of frosting into a medium bowl. This will remain white and be used for the cake’s filling and to form Elmo’s eyes and nose.
Place ⅓ cup of frosting into a small bowl. Stir in 3 drops of black gel food coloring until it’s dark gray. (Keep in mind that frosting dries darker.) Tint the remaining frosting red using about 4 to 5 big drops of red gel food coloring. Tint until you are satisfied with the color. Remember, frosting dries darker.
To Level the Cakes and Add the Crumb Coat:
Using a large serrated knife, slice the domes off the cooled cakes (a semi-thin layer) to create a flat surface. Place tops into a bowl to use in Elmo’s eyes and nose. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, serving plate, or cake turntable. Spread 1 cup of white frosting all over the top. (Reserve remaining white frosting for Elmo’s eyes and nose.)
Top with 2nd layer. Spread a thin layer of red frosting around the sides and top of the cake. This is the crumb coat and should be a pretty thin layer. An icing spatula and bench scraper are helpful for this. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 30 minutes to help set the crumb coat.
Elmo’s eyes and nose:
Crumble the pieces of cake that were leveled off into crumbs using your hands. Stir in 1 tablespoon of white frosting. If the mixture still seems pretty crumby and cry, add a little more of the white frosting until you have a moist mixture that you can form into shapes; mixture shouldn’t be overly wet.
Form into 3 shapes: two 2-inch discs for Elmo’s eyes and one 3-inch oval/egg shape for Elmo’s nose. Smooth them out as best you can. Place on a lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 30 minutes to set. (Once they’re set, you can smooth out any bumps in the surface with your hands if needed.)
First, spread a thin layer of black frosting on the bottom half of the top of the cake. Use a small offset spatula to help ensure it’s perfectly smooth. Reserve remaining black frosting.
Using a toothpick, trace/outline Elmo’s mouth shape within the black frosting. Use it as a guide for piping his fur around it. Fit piping bag with Wilton piping tip #233 (grass tip). Spoon some red frosting inside; it’s difficult to pipe this frosting if the bag is over-filled, so just work with a little bit of frosting in the bag at a time.
Place the tip directly on top of the cake’s surface and apply pressure to squeeze the frosting out of the tip. Quickly lift the tip up while squeezing the frosting out. Pipe his fur all over the top and sides of the cake. (The sides are optional, but if there is enough frosting, go for it!) It’s helpful to carefully tilt the cake stand/turntable in piping frosting on the sides. Set cake aside; refrigerate if desired.
Melt the chocolate and oil together in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave: place the chopped chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 20-second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth.
Place one of the discs (eyes) into the white chocolate. Use a fork to fully coat it. Using a fork, lift the disc (eye) out of the chocolate. Place back onto lined baking sheet. Repeat with 2nd disc (eye).
Stir 1 drop of orange gel food coloring into the remaining melted chocolate. Coat Elmo’s nose just how you coated the eyes. Refrigerate or freeze for about 30 minutes until white chocolate has set.
After the white chocolate sets, fit a piping bag with Wilton tip #12 (round tip) then spoon some black frosting inside. Pipe Elmo’s pupils onto the eyes. Carefully press the eyes and nose onto Elmo’s face.
If decorating the cake on a cake turntable, use a couple thin spatulas (and a helper!) to carefully lift the cake off the turntable and onto a cake stand, server, or cake carrier base.
Serve cake. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Calories: 904.64kcal
- Fat: 43.43g
- Saturated Fat: 26.88g
- Trans Fat: 1.40g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 11.70g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.75g
- Carbohydrates: 127.98g
- Fiber: 1.60g
- Sugar: 102.62g
- Protein: 6.05g
- Cholesterol: 99.20mg
- Sodium: 378.99mg
- Calcium: 120.10mg
- Potassium: 185.44mg
- Iron: 2.87mg
- Vitamin A: 320.47µg
- Vitamin C: 0.09mg
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