Finally, the post so many have been waiting for…how to decorate Sesame Street cupcakes like the ones we served at Andrew’s birthday party this year.  Let me start out by saying there are tons of different ways you could make something similar.  This is just how I made mine based on the supplies I had on hand.

Sesame Street Cupcakes
Supplies needed:
Cupcakes, any flavor
Vanilla buttercream
Fondant (homemade or store bought)
Red, yellow, green, blue, brown, and black icing colors
Orange candies such as M&Ms
Red fruit leather
Pastry tips (small star tip, V tip, grass/fur tip, and plain round tip such as #2)
Pastry bags
Mini chocolate chip cookies, halved

Before you start decorating, you will of course need cupcakes.  I recommend baking the cupcakes in greaseproof liners in the colors of the characters you are making for a nice appearance with continuity from wrapper to frosting.  (See the FAQ page for resources including where I purchase cupcake liners.)

Before you frost any of the cupcakes, get all your pieces together by making some sets of eyes and mouths out of fondant.  If you have never worked with fondant before, don’t be scared!  It’s really just like playing with Play-Doh.  I did a tutorial on it a while back that you can see here.  You can use store bought or homemade fondant (Now that I’ve tried a few versions, I plan to post my new go-to recipe for fondant in the near future).  I used a variety of pastry tips and round cookie cutters to make these shapes.  There is no right or wrong size, just play around with what you have and see what works best for you.  Keep in mind that you won’t need fondant mouths for the Big Bird or Cookie Monster cupcakes.

Let’s start out with the easiest 0f the four characters – Elmo.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip with red frosting.  (There are many, many tips that will work for this look.  Just use whatever you prefer.)  Cover the surface of the cupcakes in an even layer of red piped frosting.

Top each cupcake with a pair of eyes, a mouth, and an orange nose.  Depending on the size of eyeballs you use, a variety of orange candies could work.  I ended up using a plain orange M&M but an orange Runt or an orange pretzel M&M could also work well.  Check it out!  You just made Elmo.

Alright, moving on to Big Bird…the first thing you’ll want to do is cut marshmallows into beak shapes with a pair of scissors.  I used a technique similar to that used in the werewolf cupcakes, except I also cut the sides on the diagonal so that the beak would be pointy.

Line each of the beaks with red fruit leather and trim the excess.

Place a beak on each cupcake, using a small dollop of frosting to glue it on.

Cover the marshmallow in stripes of yellow frosting.  It doesn’t need to be neat yet, just enough to cover them.

Use a small offset spatula or a knife to smooth the frosting over the beak.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a “V” tip with yellow frosting.  Make a ring of yellow feathers around the perimeter of the cupcake.

Repeat this process, working from the outside in, until the surface of the cupcake has been completely covered by “feathers”.

Add a set of eyeballs just above the beak.  Pipe a thin line of aqua and light pink frosting over the eyeballs.  Look!  It’s Big Bird!

(At this point I took a break to work on other birthday prep and the sun went down.  I apologize for the poor lighting.)

To make Oscar the Grouch cupcakes, fill a pastry bag fitted with a grass/fur piping tip with green frosting.  Cover the surface of the cupcake with fur.

Top each cupcake with a pair of eyeballs and a fondant mouth.  To make the tongues, I cut out small circles of red fondant with the base end of a pastry tip.  I cut each circle in half and then removed a small “V” in the middle with a paring knife to make the tongue shape.

Use a small star tip (many varieties will work) to pipe a brown set of eyebrows over the eyeballs.  Don’t worry about making these neat…I don’t think Oscar is really into eyebrow maintenance.  Hey!  It’s Oscar the Grouch!

By the time I got around to decorating Cookie Monster, it was pretty late and I wasn’t focused on taking pictures any more.  But don’t worry, it’s the same idea as with Oscar.  For Cookie Monster cupcakes, cover each cupcake in an even layer of blue frosting fur.  Add a pair of eyeballs on the cupcakes, orienting them so that they are looking in different directions. Place half of mini chocolate chip cookie in the location of his mouth.  Ya ya ya ya ya….Coooookie!

That’s pretty much it.  If at any time your buttercream starts melting from the heat of your hands, or a husband who leaves the thermostat too high (ahem), just pop the pastry bag into the fridge for 10-15 minutes and then proceed.  For instructions on how to make your own cupcake tower, see this post.  See you next time on The Street!

  • It’s so cute, I want to make this for my own birthday! From the inside I’m still a little kid ;)

  • This is a great ‘How-to’ post! Thank you very much for taking the time to write this for us Annie :)

  • You’re an incredible woman.

  • These are adorable!!! :)

  • Awesome “How-To”! I’m thoroughly impressed!

  • Shelly

    Thanks Annie! I can’t wait to make these! I doubt I will be as ambitious as you and do all 4 characters, but will still be cute to just have Elmo and Cookie Monster (my son’s favorites) at his birthday party. These are adorable!

  • You are awesome! Very creative.

  • Jen M O

    You are amazing! You make it look so easy. I think I may have to attempt to make a couple. They are just too cute!

  • This was such a fun post to read! And appropriate for today, because it’s my birthday! You are so creative and thoroughly enjoy reading your blog!

  • Lynn

    ya ya ya ya ya….I love it!

  • I really love how great this looks and it’s really very simple. My son is turning 2 in December and these cucakes would be perfect! Thank you so much for the idea.


  • Heather

    Thank you for sharing this, my kids also love Sesame Street and I think I may be going in this direction for their 2 year birthday.

  • Jessica

    YAY!!! I have been waiting for this tutorial! Thank you so much, and I agree, you made this look very easy! :)

  • Jenny

    Glad to hear I’m not the only mom the is up late making sure that everything is done & looks great!! My husband thinks I’m crazy for doing it!! I took on a barbie cake this year, I was up super late but it looked awesome!!

  • Jennifer D

    These cupcakes are so cute!!!!! What if you put Oscar in a silver cupcake liner? It could be the trash can he is in.

  • Annie

    I was actually planning on that originally but then decided it would look better with the continuity of the green because of the rest of the cupcakes, and I thought his flat face taking up the whole opening of the “trash can” didn’t quite make sense to me. But that definitely is an option!

  • Rebecca

    Would you mind posting the numbers of the tips you used? Thanks!

  • Elizabeth from Indy

    Those are just awesome! And I also love your new server…your webpage loaded so quickly today! (although it was always worth waiting for before)

  • This is UNBELIEVABLE! Your attention to detail is amazing. I actually used to work in toys for Sesame Street and I think the creative directors over there would be extremely impressed :)

  • I’ve been one of those people anxiously awaiting this post! Thanks so much for sharing it. I will be stashing this recipe for the right occasion. Or maybe I’ll be nice and share it with my Mom. :)

  • Those are all just so fantastic. Just wonderful. Thanks for sharing such detailed pictures and instructions. Come over and visit us today. We have a great easy sorbet recipe.

  • Annie

    I’m so glad it’s working better for you now! The delays were very frustrating. Thanks for being patient :)

  • Annie

    I don’t know what numbers I used otherwise I would have shared that. It really doesn’t matter, you can use tons of tips to get the same end result.

  • What perfect timing! I am doing a Elmo themed birthday party next week!

  • These are perfection!

  • Thank you so much for posting this!!! The cupcakes looks amazing! I was thinking of doing a sesame street or elmo theme for my son’s 2nd bday. These would be perfect for it! :)

  • These are the most adorable cupcakes ever. I may not have kids but I have a feeling my mom will get a kick out of these as an homage to when we watched this when I was a kid.

    Thanks for sharing. All these tips seem super helpful. The cookie in cookie monster’s mouth is adorable!

  • So cute and creative! My nieces would love these.

  • Rosie

    Although I’ve seen various Sesame Street cupcakes all around the ‘net, yours are definitely the best looking!!! Love the proper-coloured cupcake liners idea!!

  • Rebecca

    Ok thanks!! I love all your party ideas. They are the best!

  • Claire

    Just adorable. You must be so excited about all the future girly birthday treats for your sweet baby!

  • Annie

    Oh my goodness, you have no idea. I *may* have already started planning her first-third birthdays. It’s a sickness, really :)

  • Oh my gosh….are you kidding me?!?! This is TOO, TOO cute, Annie!

  • Rebecca

    I tried making a practice elmo cupcake today and I just couldn’t get the frosting red enough! I added probably a whole teaspoon of the no taste red gel color (the wilton kind) to about half of your easy buttercream recipe and it was still dark pink and I think the frosting became too liquidy. How did you get yours to be so red? Help please!

  • These are the most adorable cupcakes ever!

  • Jessica

    Sooo I have been waiting for this tutorial, checking everyday :) I was so excited for it and made these today. Your tutorial made this sooo easy and they turned out fantastic!I was so proud of myself because I am not a baker at all! It was time consuming, but I got them done in stages. I made my eyes a little bigger and made a few small changes. What color of red gel icing do you use? I couldn’t seem to get my red icing red enough for Elmo, I think I may just have needed more red. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • What a fabulous tutorial! Ive always wanted to know how each are made, and to have them all on the same post for reference is just bladdy brilliant :)

  • OMG! These are seriously fabulous! I am not a decorator by far but I am seriously thinking of trying these. You really knocked it out of the park on this one. Your little man looked like he had such a fabulous time at his party.

  • Annie

    I used to use Wilton but I now use Americolor. I’ve found their colors to be much more potent and vivid. You might want to try them if you haven’t yet. I hope that helps!

  • Annie

    I use Americolor. They are much more potent and vivid than the Wilton gels. I hope that helps.

  • Those are sooo sweet! They’re really well done!! Congrats ;)

  • Malia H

    This looks awesome! I’ve always wanted to learn how to do this!

  • Again, this post (and the birthday party recap post) really make me want to have kids just to throw a sweet party like this!

  • Georgia

    these are so cute Annie! You are so talented!

  • These are so cute! I know a lot of people on my fb page that will flip over these!!! As for big bird…that beak is genius!!!

  • These look great & you make them look so easy! I wish my toddler’s birthday was sooner just so I could make these!

  • Rebecca

    Thanks! if the consistency gets too thin, does adding some more powdered sugar help?

  • Annie

    It should :)

  • Leslie

    These look amazing! I want to make them for my son’s second birthday. Did you use the Americolor soft gel? Thank you.

  • Annie

    Yep, I used Americolor.

  • What great looking cupcakes!!! I’ve seen the cookie monster ones out and about on the web, but I love how you did the other ones!!

  • Oh I SOOO know what my son’s 1st birthday party theme will be now!!! Thank you! :)

  • This is truly a work of art.

  • Oceane

    Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question but, how do you get your cupcakes to be so flat? Mine always peek up so I end up having to cut the top off to decorate them.

  • Annie

    That just depends on the recipe you use. Some dome, some don’t. The version I used bake up flat but if they domed, I would just level the tops. There is no problem with that.

  • Thanks for the tutorial! These cupcakes are adorable!

  • These are so cute!!! Don’t know how I missed them. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • ashley

    my cousin and i made these and her parents died! they are just too cute! we only made cookie monster though. we also made them half chocolate and half vanilla. they were awesome!

  • Oh ! I can only say OH ! What an amazing way to decorate cupcakes !. I’d like to find these ingredients to bake them for my family. unfortunately I can’t find them in france or I don’t know where ?.
    Thanks for sharing all these yummy recipes .
    Hugs from southern France

  • Tanya

    I love, love, love these and want to make them for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. Did you make these the day of your son’s party or the day before? If you made them before, how do you keep them from drying out? I am very new to this baking stuff and i am afraid if I wait till the morning of, i will never have enough time. Thanks

  • Annie

    Please see the FAQ page. Thanks!

  • Sharilyn

    Hi Annie! I’m new to your blog and am planning a Sesame Street birthday party for my soon-to-be 2 year old. I have a question about the black fondant you used on the cupcakes. Did you just color regular fondant with black Americolor gel? I’m worried it won’t get black enough. But if that’s what you did, yours turned out perfectly, so I’ll plan on doing that. Everyone has told me to just buy it, but I’d prefer to make it if I can. :) Thanks so much!

  • Annie

    Yep, just white fondant + Americolor gel. Keep in mind you will only need to color a little bit of it black so it’s pretty easy to get the deep color. Have fun!

  • Mary Sanavia

    These are sooo cute!! beautiful party.

  • Jaimie

    I hope for a beginner these will come out okay for my daughters birthday…they’re too adorable and I love the mouth for cookie monster! The eyes are made out of fondant correct? Can you use a white candy ball and black writing and still get the same result?

  • Annie

    Just as I mentioned in the post, there are lots of ways you could make them to get the same result. Have fun!

  • Shauna

    I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you!! Just one question…the buttercream…do you color it with food color to the character color or did you use pre-made colored icing…I am new to this but I am going to try it out for my daughters 2nd birthday…

  • Annie

    I prefer to color the frosting myself to get exactly the shade I’m aiming for.

  • Arna

    was wondering if you posted your fondant recipe and maybe i missed it. am so looking for a non-greasy final product. just got refered to your site & am loving it. keep it up!

  • Sarah

    These cupcakes are SO cute

  • Kathy McGuirk

    Thanks for this tutorial. I am going to try this soon!

  • Raizelbennett


  • Raizelbennett


  • fiestacakes


  • Wingsze222

    How did you make your red icing? I’ve read red coloring leaves bitter taste. Which coloring did u use? Thanks in advance as I need to make Elmo cupcakes for my niece’s birthday.

  • Anonymous

    Use “no taste” red coloring.

  • Iziawesomegl

    Loved them! Awesome work annie.

  • HB

    Hi Annie!
    These are so cute!
    Have you posted your new go-to fondant recipe?
    Haven’t used homemade fondant (W is gross!:)) & need to practice before my daughter’s bday cake! Would love to try what u like!

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to do it super soon! Probably within the next 2-3 weeks. Will that be soon enough?

  • HB

    Yes! Perfect! Thank you:)
    Her bday is Christmas Eve.
    I’m planning to have her party soon after Spring Break!
    I usually pick a random Springtime Sunday to celebrate w her friends.
    Made the butterfly cupcakes (vanilla bean) for it last year — they were gorgeous!
    (btw – that’s why I asked for the caprese pasta too:)) yum!

  • Shena

    Thank you sooo much. these are wonderful. I have just completed 24 cupcakes (6 of each) for my son’s 1st birthday party tomorrow. I reckon everyone who declined their invites will be kicking themselves now :)

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful! Have a great time :)

  • Amy

    I am so excited to try these out for my daughters first birthday sesame street extravaganza! I have two weeks left to prep, and I am most excited about these cupcakes. I have never piped anything before so I was excited to find this amazing tutorial, thank you so much! I am looking forward to the fondant post, I keep checking back to see if it has been posted yet.

  • Anonymous

    It was posted last week. It’s probably still on the front page of the blog :)

  • Anonymous

    It was posted last week. It’s probably still on the front page of the blog :)

  • Carol

    Hi Annie-
    Thanks so much for this post, each character has turned out great thanks to your wonderful tutorial. Only problem is that I can’t get a true red color for Elmo, any suggestions as to what gel color to use? Do you use buttetcream icing base or just shortening to achieve that red color?

    Thanks so much for your help!!

  • Anonymous

    Definitely Americolor gels. They are extremely potent. I never use shortening in my frostings (actually, hardly at all). Hope that helps!

  • Tamdort

    It’s amazing. thank you sooooooo much

  • Renea0319

    Love love love this. I plan to make this for my daughters 3rd birthday in march. How did u make the sign/name on the cake? It looks really hard

  • annieseats

    It was just a piece of fondant and royal icing for the letters.

  • Americolor works best. I’ve also found that if a fruity taste goes with your cake – a little kool aid powder works wonders too!

  • Sunflower8

    Annie, you are so talented! I’m planning on making these soon and was wondering how much frosting I should allot for each color/character? Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Oh, I don’t know an exact amount for each. I just kind of eyeball it and make more if needed. Enjoy!

  • Mamashutterbug

    Hi there, just wanted to thank you for sharing this information. I followed your instructions and made a beautiful sesame themed cake for my child’s 3rd bday. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us all.

  • Tenetke

    Will be trying this out for my nephew’s birthday party. These are so cute. The best one’s I have found.

  • Cathy

    Hi, I am desperately looking for a frosting recipe, which one do you use?

  • annieseats

    There are lots of frosting recipes on my site. Please use the search or recipe index to find what you are looking for.

  • Gloriageyer

    I am a Greatgrandmother who loves these cupcake ideas! Thank you so much. With seven little ones and one more on the way it is a great idea. Gloria Geyer

  • I plan on making these for my son 1st birthday this July thanks for sharing!!! Also do i have to use buttercream or can i use whipped cream frosting? Thank you!!!

  • Kiersten H.

    Thank you! We made these for my son’s 2nd birthday party last night, and they were a hit! Everyone loved them. My suggestion: Do not wait to do Big Bird last. He took us the longest, by far! The rest were really easy.

  • annieseats

    You need buttercream.

  • Stephanie

    When I Grown Up I Am Going To Make This For My Child!

  • Susan Smith
  • Texaskittykatt5

    these are to cute

  • andreaquist

    Hello! I’m following the links on your FAQ page for these liners, and am really overwhelmed. Do you happen to remember which link specifically you got these from? I was ready to order some, but reading the description scared me off; it stated the liners would likely lose a lot of color in the baking process, and yours seem like they stayed very vibrant.


  • L Marie

    What size marshmallows did you use for Big Bird’s beak?

  • annieseats


  • annieseats

    Unfortunately I don’t. It was so long ago and I always tend to have a huge assortment on hand so I can’t keep track. Get something greaseproof and you should be fine.

  • Khamajevargas334

    I <3 THEM ALL!

  • Mikaela:)

    so i tried this recipe and mine were nothing compared to yours, you are truly talented !

  • Wendy

    I’m very excited to make these for my son’s 2nd Birthday. Hope I can pull it off!

  • Itala

    Hi! I will be trying out your amazing cupcakes for my son’t first birthday party. I have a question, are these full size cupcakes or mini cupcakes? I want to make sure I buy the right size =0)

  • annieseats

    Full size.

  • casey

    what are the names of the colors that you used?

  • annieseats

    I don’t remember anymore, it was quite a while ago.

  • Olivia

    Im making these cupcakes as well as the smash cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday, which will also be outdoors. Did you have any issues with the decorated cupcakes holding their shape? What would be the best buttercream frosting recipe i could use to ensure that they wont melt during the party. i thought of maybe trying to fit them all in the fridge until ready but i dont want the frosting to be hardened.

  • annieseats

    I definitely think you should refrigerate them to set the designs. That is what I did. As long as they are brought to room temp before serving, they will be fine.

  • Beth

    This is amazing. Absolutely amazing. I am now inspired to try to find a party where I can make these for people! ;-)

  • Annie I am so excited to make these for my daughter’s upcoming 2nd birthday party! I made the marshmallow fondant last week during a trial run: it was delicious and super easy! Can you help me understand what piping tip you used for Oscar’s fur and Cookie Monster? And which specific colors of Americolor for the icings? Thanks again for making this all seem achievable – I would never have attempted without your step by step instructions!

  • annieseats

    I don’t remember which specific colors of Americolor I used. The tip for the fur was a Wilton #233. Have fun!

  • I am so impressed! For the smash cake, did you do an 8″ cake? Is it two cakes stacked on top of each other? Just wondering how you were able to have it tall enough to fit the fondant decoration. Thanks!!

  • annieseats

    It is two 6-inch layers. Since I made the fondant decorations, I just made them a size that would fit on the cake.

  • Thanks so much! Sorry for all the questions, but the salesperson at the craft store recommended bending in the sides of the star pastry tip. Did you do this? She said it makes it look better.

  • annieseats

    No, not at all. I never bend tips, I just buy the ones that already have the look I’m going for. Have fun!

  • Thanks!!

  • Kelly

    Thank you so much for this. I just made a few for my son’s birthday and following your directions made it so much easier! Mine aren’t quite as good as yours but I’m happy with the way they turned out! Again many thanks!

  • Curry Made

    Hi! I am planning to make these cupcakes the night before my son’s birthday party but was wondering if you had any storage tips? What’s the best way to store cupcakes overnight? Thanks much!

  • Annie

    I would just be sure they are in an airtight container. See the FAQ page for more info regarding refrigeration. Enjoy!

  • Curry Made

    Thank you!