Sunday 6 November 2011

Monkey birthday cake

Each year I invite the family to eat cake to remember our boys birthday.  This year I found a great cake on Smitten Kitchen that was easy to make, had no artificial colourings and was delicious to eat.  I loved the cheeky look on Deb's cake.  Mine looked more like those introspective characters on Planet of the Apes.  I needed a larger forehead and smaller eyes.  Nevertheless it was a fun cake.

My family came over for lunch.  We had sausage rolls, smoky pumpkin dip with crudites and chips, zucchini fritters (thanks mum), apple cake, caramel fudge, watermelon, strawberries and pineapple.  I got to use my new three tier plate.  And there was the monkey cake.  The kids played shops and threw a ball around with my dad in the backyard.  Sylvia amused us by wearing her new fluro-pink halloweeen socks on her hands.  Grace discussed plans for her birthday cake.  Maddy did cartwheels in the front yard.  Everyone loved the cake.

How to make a monkey cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I used:
  • 1 x Jill Dupleix Flourless Chocolate Cake (baked in a 20cm round cake tin the previous day)
  • 1 x white chocolate frosting (see below)
  • 1 x dark chocolate frosting (see below - I had quite a bit of this leftover)
NB You can use any cake or spreadable frosting / icing.  Deb of Smitten Kitchen used a banana cake and buttercream frosting.  I wanted mine to be gluten free so I made my favourite GF chocolate cake and found frosting to compliment it.  I was really pleased with the frosting which tasted more of chocolate than icing sugar but had a great spreadable consistency once allowed to cool.

1. Bake the cake.  Make the icing and leave it to cool.  Trace the cake tin and draw a monkey face on the circle.  If you are like me, you might need a few attempts.

2. Cut out the monkey face shape and use the paper face to cut the shape from your cake, using a sharp knife.  NB the cake it quite crumbly so you need to take some care here.  Brush away as many crumbs as possible with a pastry brush and wipe the plate clean.

3. Place your paper monkey face over the cake and use a sharp skewer to trace the outline of the lighter brown part of the face.  Take the paper away and use a sharp knife to draw the outline so it is clear to see.

4. Spread the white chocolate frosting over the middle shape, being careful to stay within the outlines you made with the sharp knife in step 3.

5. Spread the dark chocolate frosting on the rest of the face and around the edges.  My plate got quite messy with icing so I took a wet cloth and carefully wiped around the outline of the cake on the plate to clean it up.

6. Use a skewer or tip of a sharp knife to draw the face on the monkey.  Put a few spoonfuls of frosting in a plastic ziplock bag and snip a tiny corner to make an easy piping bag.  Pipe the eyes, nose and mouth on the face.  Don't try and be clever and put a white middle of the eye on the monkey and then take it off and try and even up the icing with a skewer.  Then pipe an outline between the white chocolate frosting and the dark to cover up any gaps.

See other novelty cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe.

Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Christmas Cooking with Kids by Annie Rigg

White Chocolate Frosting

40g white chocolate
25g butter
25ml milk
45g icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp cocoa powder, sifted

Dark Chocolate Frosting

120g dark chocolate
75g butter
75ml milk
135g icing sugar, sifted

Melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl in the microwave (or in a small saucepan on the stovetop).  Set aside.  Stir together the milk, icing sugar and cocoa powder (if using).  Mix in the chocolate butter mixture and let cool until it is spreading consistency.  I put mine in the freezer to cool it quickly.  The recipe suggests 30 minutes cooling time.

On the Stereo:
Dozing at the Knick: Grateful Dead


  1. It looks great, love it and such a nice way to honour their birthday!

  2. What a gorgeous table full of food and adorable monkey. Awww, tugs at my heartstrings. Sending you and your family peaceful memories.

  3. Gorgeous, Johanna. Your boys would have loved this, I know :) xo

  4. This is wonderful Johanna. I love children's birthday cakes that have this fun element to them - I have such fond memories of my Mum making shapes / characters for us as children. Your boys are beautifully remembered and this looks like the perfect cake for the task.

  5. Your Monkey cake is just so right for your boys birthday. It looks great and I can see how it would be loved by kids and adults alike. I'm not normally a fan of novelty cakes that look like something plastic you can buy in the shops - yours is so much nicer.

  6. Your cake came out so well! Sylvia must have adored this!

  7. What an adorable expression on your monkey cake. Well done Johanna! :)

  8. awww I love this monkey cake! Too cute!

  9. So cute!! And simple to make too with your instruction!

  10. What a heartfelt tradition Johanna.

    I can just imagine Sylvia spooking around in her neon glove/socks. So cute...

    Thank you so much for sharing your delectable creation. Your Monkey Cake looks adorably delicious:)

  11. Lovely to see you on the weekend. Have been thinking of you.

  12. Sounds like an amazing spread of food and I'm very impressed with your monkey cake!

  13. I think your cake looks fab, and I'm sure your boys do too.

  14. You are very hard on yourself - I think your monkey cake is adorable.

  15. What an adorable cake!

    I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Alex and Ian. It's great that you honour their memory every year this way. Apologies for my belated comment, I really needed a week off blogging after MoFo.

  16. Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments and kindness in thinking of how much my boys would have loved this cake - I would have loved to have them there but am glad to be able to do this in their memory!

  17. Johanna, a perfect cake in their memory. They would have loved it, every little crumb.

  18. I laughed out loud at your comment about the monkey face looking like a character out of Planet of the Apes! This is such a fitting cake for your two boys--what boy wouldn't love this? And glad that everyone else loved it, too.


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