Curious George Birthday: Birthday Cake

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What You'll Need for the Cake: 2-quart oven-safe glass bowl, well greased muffin pan lined with cupcake papers, rubber spatula, knife (for adult use only), and a wire baking rack

Ingredients

  • chocolate cake mix (18.2 oz box)
  • 16 ounces tub of caramel frosting (butterscotch frosting as alternative)
  • 2 chocolate sandwich cookies (double-stuffed cookies work best)
  • 1 small squeeze tube of black icing
  • 1 teaspoon red sugar (or a small squeeze tube of red icing)
  • black licorice stick (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix cake as directed on the box.
  2. Pour two-thirds of the batter into a greased oven-safe bowl. Pour remainder of batter into prepared muffin pan. Fill each cup about three-quarters full.
  3. Bake as directed. Place in oven side-by-side. The cupcakes will probably finish sooner than the cake. Using a toothpick or knife, check both batters as they cook. The toothpick or knife should come out clean. Allow cupcakes and cake to cool in the pans for 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from pans and set on wire baking rack to cool. The cake must be cooled completely before you ice it, or you'll end up with crumbs in your frosting.
  5. How to Decorate the Cake: Drawing George's face is actually just a matter of drawing and arranging some simple shapes. Use the instructions below and the picture above to learn how.
  6. Make George's Face: Spread the caramel frosting in the shape of a large "8," stretching from top to bottom on the cake. Smooth out the frosting as much as you can by pulling a knife or rubber spatula lightly across the surface. Leave the sides unfrosted.
  7. Make George's Ears: Frost one cupcake, using the caramel frosting. Cut the cupcake in half, vertically. Position the cupcake halves symmetrically, close to the top of the cake so they look like ears. Secure the cupcake halves to the sides of the round cake with caramel frosting. Note: You will end up with extra cupcakes that you can frost and save for the party or enjoy for yourself.
  8. Make George's Eyes: Using the chocolate sandwich cookies, pull each cookie apart and use the side with the filling on it. Scrape away at the filling until you have what looks like a large black pupil. Place on George's face. For the eyebrows, use the black icing to draw a line above each eye.
  9. Make George's Nose: Using the black icing, draw a small arc below George's eyes. To make the nostrils, draw two smaller arcs below the larger arc.
  10. Make George's Mouth: Using the black icing, draw a shallow "U" about 1 1/2 inches below George's nose. Draw a second, slightly deeper and shorter "U" below the top "U." Connect the two "U" shapes with a small "laugh" line to complete George's smile. To make George's tongue, sprinkle about a teaspoon of red sugar in the middle of his mouth. Use red icing if you are unable to find red sugar. Note: You can also use black licorice to make George's mouth.

Tips/Techniques

Note: Remember that it's a good idea to check with your guests' parents regarding any possible food allergies or other dietary restrictions prior to deciding on a party menu.
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