So, my girl (who celebrated her tenth birthday this past week) asked for a Roller Skating/Monkey Party. Those of you who know me well, know that I can’t just leave well enough alone and use the skating rinks birthday supplies and pick up a cake just any ol' place. So the hunt began for cute monkey themed ideas. I stumbled across what I now know is the “infamous” Martha Stewart monkey cake that has been replicated (or in some cases not replicated) all over the Internet. Word was even out that this was one that never turned out as cute as Martha’s when normal people made it. Always being up for a challenge, I decided I could make this from scratch Banana Monkey Cake…and maybe even improve on it a little bit.
Here is Martha’s (which we all know was most likely made by a staff pastry chef) Monkey Cake: Martha Stewart Monkey Cake
and here’s mine….
I think it turned out pretty darn good, and I adapted the recipe by adding mini chocolate chunks and substituting brandy extract (cause we all know anything is better with a little brandy…okay for all of you who take things too seriously it was EXTRACT so no alcohol was involved). It was delicious! and cute! We decided you could make a pig, or panda bear or lion, the options are endless using this basic structure.
And because I can never leave well enough alone, we also made these monkey party favor cups
for that extra special touch…don’t you just love them?!
Following is the recipe for the Monkey Cake and a cost breakdown and below that, directions for the Monkey Favor Cups…maybe you will be inspired to give them a try for your favorite little monkey, let me know if you do!
Monkey Cake-courtesy of Martha Stewart
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan (.75)
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting (1.00)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (PI)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (PI)
3/4 teaspoon salt (PI)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (PI)
3 very ripe, large bananas, mashed (about 1 1/3 cups) (.50)
3/4 cup buttermilk (.50)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (used brandy extract) (.10)
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar (.75)
3 large eggs (.30)
1 bag mini chocolate chunks (1.66)
2 containers Duncan Hines Homestyle milk chocolate frosting (2.60)
1 container Duncan Hines Homestyle white frosting (colored with a small amount of yellow food coloring) (1.30)
1 small tube black cake decorating gel (1.10)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 1/2-inch-diameter 3-quart stainless-steel or oven-proof (Pyrex type) bowl and 1 cup of a large (1-cup capacity) muffin tin; (I used a regular size) set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and brown sugar; mix on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to medium; mix in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with banana mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Fill prepared muffin cup three-quarters full. Transfer remaining batter to prepared baking bowl. Transfer to oven, side by side. Bake cupcake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in tin on a wire rack. Continue baking large cake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes more (1 hour and 40 minutes total). Let cool in bowl on a wire rack 30 minutes. Invert bowl to remove cake; let cool completely.
Trim flat side of cake to be level. Trim away top of cupcake to be level. Cut cupcake in half vertically for the two monkey ears. Cut bowl cake in half horizontally to make 2 layers. Spread 3/4 cup chocolate frosting on top of flat layer. Top with domed layer. Transfer to a cake plate. Spread a thick layer of chocolate frosting over entire monkey head. Spread chocolate frosting over cupcake ears. Attach ears to sides of head, top of cupcake facing forward, securing with toothpicks.
Place remaining chocolate frosting in a piping bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #5). Pipe dots around bottom edge of cake in a continuous line. Switch to a small multi-opening tip (such as Ateco #233); pipe hair on top of head.
Fill another piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip (such as Ateco #11) with yellow frosting. Pipe an oval near the front base of cake. Fill in with frosting, and smooth. Using decorator gel, pipe on eyes, nose and smile. Pipe yellow half-circles in centers of ears; fill in with frosting, and smooth. Decorated cake can be refrigerated up to 3 hours.
I baked and frosted the cake the night before and the morning of the party finished with the yellow frosting and gel. This allowed the frosting to set up nice so that the yellow frosting went on smoothly. Also a little decorating tip: Use an offset spatula if you have one to decorate your cake. Dip it in warm water to smooth out the final layer of frosting. This will make the surface look more professional.
Total Cost: $10.56
Monkey Favor Cup Instructions:
brown paper cups (1.97)
tan construction or scrap booking paper (.40)
plastic googly eyes (.50)
glue stick and/or a hot glue gun
yellow pipe cleaners (.50)
Cut four semi-circles for each bag. Use a glue stick applying just to edge to attach one semi-circle on each side for the ears. Allow to dry and then carefully bend ears forward so that they stick out. Glue two for the mouth, with a gap between so that they almost create a circle. Use the hot glue gun (adult) to attach the eyes just above the mouth. Punch two holes on each side of cup behind ears. Thread yellow pipe cleaner through to form handle twisting ends up on side to stabilize.
Total Cost: $3.37