I made this Elmo birthday cake for my son's first birthday! I got the idea for the cake from one that I found on the internet. It is very similar to that one with just a few of my own variations!
This is a three tiered (with each tier being double layer) cake with fondant. The cake was just plain yellow cake and the "crumb coat" was just plain store-bought vanilla frosting. I believe both were Duncan Heinz brand. I used a 10" an 8" and a 6" cake pan and made 2 layers of each. Then I let them cool and used a cake leveler to trim them nice and even. If you have a steady hand and eye you can use a serrated knife. But the cake leveler was only like $3 at Walmart and super easy to use. Just make sure the cake is cool before you try to use it. I had to learn this the hard way.
I made the fondant homemade. It is so yummy and so super easy! I made 2 batches of this recipe and used Wilton food coloring to get the desired colors.
white chocolate fondant: 12 oz white chocolate chips 16 oz marshmallows 1/2 cup Crisco 2 tablespoons water 2 lbs powdered sugar
Melt chips in microwave or double boiler melt marshmallows with 2 tablespoons water in microwave for 30 seconds at a time stirring between 30 sec interval stir melted white chocolate in with marshmallow cover spot on counter well with Crisco and grease hands well, don't forget between fingers put 3/4 of the powdered sugar on top of marshmallow mixture mix slightly, and then dump on well greased counter knead like you would bread dough until well mixed continue mixing in powdered sugar double wrap with plastic and put in fridge overnight, take out next day and bring to room temp, then reknead roll it out to needed size and thickness and put on cake
**don't be afraid to use the microwave in short intervals to make the fondant easier to work with! You will probably need some more powdered sugar if you do this (I know I did!). I also went online and looked at different fondant techniques and tips which really helped a ton! This was the first cake I ever attempted with fondant! As far as tools I bought a fondant smoother and used cookie cutters to cut the shapes and letters! Then finished the bottoms with long strips of fondant and covered the "seams" with different shapes!
I made the Elmo out of fondant and just rolled out 2 tube shapes for the arms, an oval for the face and body and circles for the eyes and nose. Then I shaped it until it resembled Elmo! I used toothpicks to hold all of the pieces in place. I put him in the fridge to hang out until the day of the party so he wouldn't fall over or cause the cake to sink... he was pretty heavy! But don't put your completed cake in the fridge, it will ruin it! Just store it at room temp in a cake box or something! I had to use one of those large Tupperware containers!
I also got one of those Happy Birthday picture frame things made specifically for cakes to put a picture of my son on the cake. It was like $2 at Walmart! But I thought it was the perfect final touch.
The smash cake shown was just a 4" round cake pan that I made 2 layers of and covered it with red vanilla frosting and then made the eyes and nose out of fondant. I used a toothpick dipped in the black food coloring to make the mouth and to put the black dots on the eyes of both cakes, much easier than trying to color white fondant/frosting black!