I'm not saying you should be my friend, but I am saying that it won't hurt your chances of conning me into helping you make some cupcakes for your kid to take to school on his birthday. I'm twisted enough to enjoy projects like that, so when someone asked, she and I collaborated to make this happen:
The thing is, fancy cupcakes aren't really all that hard. They're especially easy when your target audience is a bunch of 3-year olds because what do they know about cake decorating? As long as the cupcakes vaguely resembled Cookie Monster, we were all good.
Apparently they did resemble Cookie Monster. At least that's what I heard.
Before I tell you how we put them together, first I must share the most bestest recipe for buttercream frosting ever. EVER. More specifically, it's a Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting, and it tastes fantastic. Homemade frostings are much easier to use in decorating (they're a bit stiffer, which makes them a lot less messy), so it's absolutely worth the five minutes it takes to whip up a batch. Bonus: the ingredient list may send you into a sugar coma, but at least you can read it. It's always good when you can pronounce the ingredients in something, right?
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1 - 8 oz package cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar
Place cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat on low speed until well-mixed, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy, about one minute.
And now for how to turn that frosting into Cookie Monster.
First, you will need your secret weapon--frosting bags and tips. Specifically, you'll need two tips like these:
The top one is just a plain old simple round frosting tip. The bottom one, however, is magical. It's a tip specially made for creating fur and/or grass. I found it at Hobby Lobby for $1.50. In retrospect, they should have charged me a lot more for it because that thing comes in very handy. We'll get to that in a bit.
First, our Cookie Monster cupcakes.
Now that you're armed with your secret weapon, bake your cupcakes. Any old cupcakes will do, but I will say that chocolate chip cupcakes are a big hit with the short people. Next, make your frosting and tint a small amount of it black and all the rest of it blue. Place each color in its own frosting bag.
This blue gel food coloring works very well.
It was another Hobby Lobby acquisition. I think it was $2.00 or so. (Yinz, if you haven't heard of Hobby Lobby, it's like Michael's + JoAnn's + major steroids. It's worth the pain and suffering involved with driving out to Robinson.) Oh and, yes, you do have to use gel food coloring. Regular food coloring will make your frosting too runny.
Anyway, once you have your blue frosting in your pretty bag with the fur tip on it, it's time to get to work.
Start with your tip against the cupcake. Squeeze a tiny bit of frosting out as you pull the tip away and stop squeezing. You should end up with a patch of "fur" that's about 1/4" long.
Don't pull out a ruler or anything, though. Just let the frosting fall where it may as you work your way all the way around leaving little patches of "fur." It's Cookie Monster, so perfection is not necessary.
He's so furry that any mistakes end up just blending in.
As for his eyes, they are made from white chocolate melting drops. You can get them at Hobby Lobby (shocking! I know!) or JoAnn's or Michael's or even most grocery stores.
Flip them over and place a small dot of black frosting using the plain circle tip and your other frosting bag. Practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid to make a few extra.
Then just plop Cookie Monster's eyes on his face.
That particular Cookie Monster should probably have his eyes a little closer together. Hindsight is 20/20, n'at.
And now, his mouth.
Actually, it's Cookie Monster. His mouth is always filled with cookies, so why bother with an actual mouth? Let's just shove a cookie in there. Break a chocolate chip cookie in half (again, perfection is not at all necessary).
And shove it in his face.
Once you've learned how to make Cookie Monster, there are a bunch of other things you can do, too. Say hello to my friend Oscar.
The concept is the same. Cover a cupcake with patches of "fur."
Give him a mouth using the black frosting.
Add eyes with little black frosting dots for pupils.
Add a mini red M&M for his tongue and some brown "fur" for his unibrow.
Wait. See how his unibrow is sort of gloppy and not as furry as the rest of his head? That happens when the frosting gets too warm. Toss it in the fridge for a couple of minutes to get your definition back.
If you happen to live with a 5-year old who has decided that Sesame Street is for babies, not all hope is lost. You can still make monster cupcakes. You can even go along with her request for "Rainbow Monster Cupcakes."
Leave the frosting white. Before you put it in the frosting bag, though, place some stripes of gel food coloring on the sides of the bag.
You can put as many stripes of gel food coloring as you want in the bag, but you'll want a minimum of four.
Then carefully put your Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting in the bag.
The colors will squish together and blend and you'll end up with a rainbow effect when you make your fur.
No two will turn out the same. I think it's a good thing because then you can let that 5-year old decorate them all any way that she wants.
They're cute in their own twisted sort of way.
Once you're done decorating your cupcakes, place them in the fridge so that the frosting sets a bit. It'll help make sure that your hard work doesn't melt into a pile of goop.