After thinking of a ton of different cakes I could make for Abe's birthday party, I finally settled on doing a simple cake with just a couple decorations. I found a Curious George cake topper online, but if I ordered it online I knew it wouldn't be delivered in time (I sort of waited until the last mintue), and I couldn't find any Curious George party supplies at any of the stores by my house! I was left with only one option: make my own.
After looking up some recipes for homemade fondant, I decided to go with this one...mainly because I had all the ingredients at home: marshmallows, powdered sugar, and food coloring.
I didn't want to experiment too much with food coloring trying to get the perfect brown, so I used a little cocoa powder to color the dark brown fondant for George's fur. It didn't take much. For the fleshy color, I used one drop of red, 2 drops of yellow, and a pinch of my chocolate fondant. I also needed some black for his eyes, so I took a small piece of chocolate fondant and mixed in a drop of blue food coloring. I made the turtle later that evening and didn't want to mix up a new batch of fondant, so I took some of the leftover flesh color and added a couple drops of green food coloring. I used the resulting olive green fondant for the turtle's head and limbs. For his shell, I just mixed a little chocolate fondant with the leftover olive green.
Abe woke up from his nap while I was making the fondant and pulled up a stool to "help" - meaning he dipped his finger in the powdered sugar on the cutting board, took a taste, and told me "mmm...it good!" He was very excited for birthday cake after that.
So to make George, I started by rolling a small ball of chocolate fondant for his head and a slightly larger one for his body. I rolled long pieces for his arms and legs, and attached them by just pressing them to his body. I flattened a piece of the flesh colored fondant and used a sharp knife to cut out the shape for his face. I also attached that by gently pressing it onto the head. I flattened two tiny balls of black fondant on his face for eyes, and used a toothpick to carve out his mouth and nose. The ears were just two small pieces of fondant I pressed in place. For the hands and feet, I rolled small balls of fondant, squished them a bit, then used a toothpick to add fingers and toes.
He looked good immediately after I finished him, but as I mentioned before, I should have used marzipan. George's body started to slump over once I put the head on, so I added a toothpick backbone. Didn't help much. I put him in the fridge to firm up, but fondant "sweats" and looks shiny if it's been chilled. In the end, I coated him with powdered sugar and put him in the fridge overnight, loosely covered with a paper towel. Before the party, I just brushed off the powdered sugar and hoped for the best.
The night before the party, Abe mentioned he wanted a turtle on his birthday cake...or I thought that's what he was asking for because we had been talking about his cake. (Turned out he just wanted me to turn on his turtle nightlight.) But I liked the idea of a turtle because I'd been thinking George was going to look a bit lonely on that cake, so I quickly threw together his turtle buddy before I went to bed. For the turtle, I made four small olive green balls of fondant for the legs and elongated them just a bit. I rolled a larger ball for the head, and a long, thin tail. Then I rolled a bigger ball of the brown fondant for the shell and flattened it into a small circle. I just arranged the head and limbs on a plate and stuck the shell on top of them, then used a toothpick to carve some detail into the shell and poked 2 holes in the head for eyes. He was really cute.
I was inspired by this post to make a tiny party hat for George, using some scrap paper leftover from our kite invitations and a tiny, sparkly pom pom.
I think my favorite thing about Abe's party is how he now walks around singing "happy birthday, how're you!" He also asks me for "George birsday cake" on a daily basis. If only I could figure out how to make George out of vegetables...
Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, George was delicious!