Jun 29, 2010

Monkey Cake - Simple Enough for Even Me!

The baby shower I hosted last week was a pretty low-key event, so I didn't necessarily have a theme, other than sticking with boy colors and items.  I did want to have a nice centerpiece for the dessert table, though, so I decided to make this cute little monkey cake.  My mom showed me this awesome section of Parenting magazine's website that has 61 simple, cute cake designs with detailed instructions.

I improvised because I made the decision to make it the morning of the shower.  Yes, kind of foolish, but it turned out well despite my obvious lack of common sense.  I had been waffling back and forth on whether or not to do it, but finally decided at the last minute that it would be a good idea.  I'll mention my various improvisations as I give you the play-by-play, but HERE is the directions that I followed loosely.

My photos start out a little late, because I forgot to take pictures until I was a little ways into the decorations.  I started out by baking a box cake mix in two 9" round cake pans.  I cut two circles of brown paper from grocery bags to line the bottom of the cake pans, as this allows for easier removal from the pan.  I also sprayed the pans well with cooking spray before filling. 

Allowing them to cool completely, I then placed four small sheets of wax paper on my cake plate, then placed one of the cakes on top.  The wax paper allows for very simple clean up.  As you can see from my photos, I made a big mess on the plate from the frosting, but all I had to do was slip out the wax paper, and the plate was clean! 

Next, I frosted the top of the bottom cake with chocolate frosting and  layered the second cake on top.

I then cut off slightly irregular triangular sections of cake from each side to make room for ears and create the "face" shape.  I frosted the sides and top of the cake with chocolate, leaving the smile area of the cake unfrosted.  Then I remembered that I should be taking pictures of this very blog-able moment.  I was in a quandary as to what to use for ears for my little monkey, as I did not have the mini donuts that the recipe suggested.  Inspiration struck when I remembered the ears in my daughter's Mr. Potato Head set!  Oh yes, I did!

I dug out Mr. Potato Head's ears from the toy box, washed them off, and slathered them with chocolate frosting.  They even had convenient little sticks for inserting them into the side of the cake.  They worked perfectly!  In the picture below, I had only inserted one ear so far.


Next, using half a can of white vanilla frosting, I divided it into three portions.  I put a tablespoon or so of frosting into a Ziploc sandwich bag and put three drops of red food coloring.  This was bright red for the mouth.  I also filled another Ziploc sandwich bag with a 1/4 cup or so of white frosting, and left it untinted for the eyes.  The remainder of the frosting I tinted with a single drop of red food coloring to give it a light pink color for the monkey's mouth area. 

Using the pink frosting, I frosted the mouth area of the top of the cake.

The "hair" area of the monkey is supposed to be chocolate sprinkles, which I didn't have, so I substituted mini chocolate chips, which I personally think is a much tastier substitute.  I just poured a few in my hand, and strategically dropped them on the cake.  I also used two peanut butter M&Ms for the nostrils.

I snipped a very tiny triangle from the corner of the red frosting bag, and made a practice run of the smile on a piece of paper.  Then I got brave and made the smile on my cake.   Next, I snipped a slightly larger triangle from the corner of the untinted white frosting, and made the whites of the eyes.  I ended up using my clean index finger to get the eye proportions symmetrical.  It still wasn't quite perfect.

As the original called for mini York peppermint patties for the pupils, I improvised again with Hershey's kisses.  I just pressed them flat side up into the lower portion of the white frosting.  I put a dab of white in the corner of the kiss to give it a "real" look, as suggested by the recipe.


Lastly, I cut a snack-size Butterfinger Crisp at diagonals for the hair (in place of the chocolate licorice that I didn't have), and poked them into the top of the cake for hair.  I then slid out the four wax paper sheets that were protecting my clean cake plate, and cleaned up the underside of the cake where my frosting fingers touched the rim.

6 lovely comments:

SnoWhite said... Best Blogger Tips

that is pretty cute! I just made a monkey cake for my sister-in-law's baby shower. Monkeys have to be one of the easier things to make, which is great since I have zero cake decorating skills :)

Debbie said... Best Blogger Tips

I can't believe you decided to make this the morning of. That's so brave and ambitious - and it came out awesome! I like the step-by-step instructions. My son would LOVE a monkey cake - I'm going to save this in my "things to try" bookmark.

cinthia said... Best Blogger Tips

very cute! you did an awesome job! I already saved it and will try making this for turo's next birthday! Thanks for sharing.

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said... Best Blogger Tips

That came together do cute! My kids were looking at it and they totally want me to make it, thanks!

Alisa said... Best Blogger Tips

That turned out so cute, April!

Sue said... Best Blogger Tips

I saw the thumbnail and had to come and see the cake. It's so cute!