The Elmo Red Velvet Cake

elmo cake

This is my son’s second birthday cake. It is the most delicious red velvet cake, filled with a cream cheese frosting, and then covered outside in a traditional buttercream frosting. I used a Wilton character pan for the Elmo face, and a 12 inch cake pan for the base.  I used a hair/grass decorator tip for Elmo’s fur, and pre-prepared fondant for his eyes, nose, and mouth. I used a star decorator tip for the trim work in the red frosting. I found the red velvet cake recipe on Joy the Baker’s site. It was from the The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I honestly haven’t had red velvet cake this good in years. It was just perfect! I took the original recipe and doubled it.  I put 2/3 of the batter in the 12 inch pan, and the other 1/3 in the Elmo pan. I halved the 12 inch cake so that the cake consists of 3 layers. The filling is a cream cheese frosting that I made not too sweet, you could easily add more sugar to it to make it sweeter. I made the white buttercream first, and added it to the base of the cake, and added a thin layer of buttercream under where the fondant was going to go. I then made the chocolate buttercream and colored it red for Elmo’s fur. On the first batch, I tried to color it with Wilton icing color, and I added 6 containers. It never turned red, and eventually separated. Do not use Wilton for vibrant colors, it is not effective. I had to go to another specialty store, and I purchased Christmas red in a high quality brand. It worked perfectly.  I forget the name, but the shop owner said, Wilton was not good for vibrant colors, and any professional type icing color brand would work well.  I worked very hard on this cake, because I wanted to make sure the first words out of my son’s mouth were Elmo! And that is exactly what happened.  He had a big grin, he excitedly yelled Elmo from his sweet little mouth, and then he started clapping with much excitement. I was the happiest mama ever!

recipe photo

Yield: Serves 8

The Elmo Red Velvet Cake

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For the cake:
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 tablespoons red food coloring mixed with 4 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 packages softened cream cheese
1 stick butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt

For the white buttercream frosting:
4 oz shortening
4 oz softened butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the Subtle Chocolate Red Buttercream Frosting:
4 oz shortening
4 oz softened butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Red Icing Coloring, Christmas red, NOT WILTON

Other ingredients:
Pre-prepared or homemade Fondant in black, orange, and white


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pans and set aside.

In your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on high until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, mix cocoa, red food coloring, and vanilla to make a thick paste. Add this to the stand mixer, and beat well. Scrap down the sides of the bowl, and continue to mix until everything is incorporated well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Turn mixer to low, and add 1/4 of the buttermilk, 1/4 of the flour, and so on, till all flour and buttermilk is incorporated. Turn mixer to high and beat until smooth.

Turn mixer back to low and add vineger, beat on high until just combined.

Pour into greased pie pans, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until cake passes the toothpick test. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

For the cream cheese frosting:
Add softened cream cheese and butter to stand mixer bowl, and use wire whisk attachment and mix until throughly combines on high.

Turn mixer to low and add powdered sugar, mix until well combined on low. Add salt and vanilla. Turn mixer to high and wisk until light and fluffy.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the white buttercream frosting:
Cream softened butter and shortening in stand mixer with wire attachment.

Add sugar and vanilla. Mix on low until combined. Turn mixer to high. Add a little of the buttermilk at a time, until icing is light and fluffy.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Subtle Chocolate Red Buttercream Frosting:
Cream softened butter and shortening in stand mixer with wire attachment.

Add cocoa, sugar and vanilla. Mix on low until combined. Turn mixer to high. Add a little of the buttermilk at a time, until icing is light and fluffy. Add red food coloring a little at a time, until desired color is achieved.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Let cakes cool completely, and then ice. Start with the white buttercream. Then add the fondant nose, eyes, and mouth. Then frost Elmo's face in red, and finish with the hair decorating tip. Finish by trimming with the star tip in red frosting along the bottom of the cake, and swags around the cake.

All text and images © / Eclectic Recipes
*Nutritional Information is not guaranteed for 100% accuracy.

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  16 Responses to “The Elmo Red Velvet Cake”

  1. AmyRuth — October 24, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

    Congratulations Mommy! Well Done!!
    .-= AmyRuth´s last blog, Dorie’s Sweet Potato Biscuits ~ TWD =-.

  2. pegasuslegend — October 24, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

    wow this is awesome beautiful you are so talented!!My husband’s nickname at work is this is so adorable:)
    .-= pegasuslegend´s last blog, Apple Blueberry Cookie Crumble =-.

  3. Divina — October 24, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    Elmo is so cute. He really looks like Elmo, not a different characters Congratulations. You did a very good job at it. I haven’t done anything like this. But if I do have a son and he likes Elmo, I’m sure I would do the same thing.
    .-= Divina´s last blog, My Serendipitous Notes {October 18, 2009} =-.

  4. lululu — October 25, 2009 @ 2:10 am

    wowow, yeah! as expected, it looks perfect!
    how fun it is to have the cake to create smiles and food eat!
    i’m sure it tastes good too. velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, what could go wrong with that!
    .-= lululu´s last blog, Chicken Marbella =-.

  5. Nicole — October 25, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    WOW – you are such a good mom! This cake looks like elmo’s clone 🙂

    (Not to mention it looks like it tastes amazing!!!)
    .-= Nicole´s last blog, Guest Post: Peanut Butter Lumps! =-.

  6. Tasty Trix — October 25, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    Looks like a professional job! I have a soft spot for red velvet cake, as red velvet was my wedding cake. Definitely only for special occasions around here!
    .-= Tasty Trix´s last blog, A Spicy Bloody Mary … Because I’m Sure It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere =-.

  7. Serendipity is Sweet — October 26, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing! Well done 😀
    .-= Serendipity is Sweet´s last blog, Quotable Sunday – Halloween =-.

  8. Anne — October 26, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

    That was so gorgeous! I love red velvet cake, I will have to try your recipe.

  9. Toddler Crafts Onna — October 26, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

    That cake looks incredibly delicious!! Makes me want to run out and get some or I guess make some!! I am sad to say I have never made any of my kids cakes! I stick to crafts! But I am lucky enough to have a very talented mother in law who makes them for the kids!
    .-= Toddler Crafts Onna´s last blog, Halloween Safety Tips =-.

  10. submom — October 26, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    OMG! Speechless. I need to tweet this. 🙂 You are like a Sesame Street goddess together with that Cookie Monster cake. I’ve never tried a Red Velvet cake but I do hear a LOT about it. I need to try harder to get myself into the vicinity of one soon.

  11. Tangled Noodle — October 26, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    This is simply spectacular! I’m your son’s age (x20) and I would love to have this for my birthday. It’s been ages since I’ve made a red velvet cake but the recipe here is really tempting me to try again. But I’m not sure that my decorating will be anywhere close to this – I’d be happy if I could just properly smoother over a layer of cream cheese frosting. 😎
    .-= Tangled Noodle´s last blog, Food by Friends: Give Recipe =-.

  12. Ellie — October 27, 2009 @ 3:56 am

    Wow!! So cute. Love red velvet cake. I wish I could take a bite off my computer screen.
    .-= Ellie´s last blog, Coconut and Palm Sugar Macarons with Mango Buttercream – Daring Bakers’ October 2009 Challenge =-.

  13. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie — October 27, 2009 @ 9:10 am

    Such a cute cake! And it sounds super delicious!
    .-= Natasha – 5 Star Foodie´s last blog, Carrot Wolfberry Super Soup =-.

  14. Amanda — October 27, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Oh i love this, it is so cute!!
    .-= Amanda´s last blog, TWD: Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte tweaked =-.

  15. Leonel — September 9, 2010 @ 11:43 pm

    Just what I was looking for. My son will be turning 2 yrs in one month and he adores Elmo. Such a great cake idea. I’m so thankful that I found your site. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Alison — July 20, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    I am so glad i found your site! I too have an elmo fan turning 2. And your story, which almost brought a tear to my eye, is just what im looking for. All i want is to hear the word ELMO come from his little mouth. Thanks for putting the time into sharing. Cant wait to try it 🙂

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