Birthday Monkey Cake How-To
Your little guests will go bananas for this chocolatey Sock Monkey Cake centerpiece. Small and simple, this buttercream covered cake is accented with melted chocolate ears and a fondant hat for ease. Our step by step photo tutorial will show you how to make it in no time and it'll be yummy through and through.
You can use our Vanilla Cake Recipe or Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe as a "from scratch" option, or a box mix will work just fine too. However, you want to use our Classic Chocolate Frosting Recipe for the icing. This will allow you to get a smoother finish and have the cake hold together before adding the decorations. If you're looking for more inspiration, check out our Frozen Banana Monkey Tail project as a side treat for your crazy monkeys.
STEP 1: PREPARE THE HAT
To make the hat, start by rolling red fondant into a ball about the size of the palm of your hand.
Press the ball flat with the palm of your hand to create a beanie shape. Use the stitching tool to create lines of texture on top of the beanie.
Take a small ball of fondant and shape it into a teardrop. Use scissors to snip little triangles around the edge to create a pom pom. Brush the top of the hat with a touch of water and place the ball on top. Set the hat aside to dry.
STEP 2: ICE THE MONKEY CAKE
To start, you will need two, 6" round layers and one, 1/2 ball layer. Level the cakes by triming off any raised areas before stacking. Smear some chocolate buttercream on the support board and layer the cakes on top with buttercream in between each layer.
Ice the cake in chocolate buttercream, keeping the shape as much as possible. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes or so until the buttercream is very firm. If you'd like the cake to look a little smoother, remove the cake when firm, dip your finger in warm water and lightly rub away the spatula marks. Place back in the fridge when you're done.
STEP 3: CREATE THE EARS, ARMS, TAIL AND FACE
While the cake is setting up in the fridge, use a pencil to trace a 2 1/2" diameter glass on to the parchment lined tray. Next, melt the coating chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Remove when 3/4 melted and continue to stir until completely melted. Spread the melted chocolate in a 1/8" thick layer inside the traced circles and immediately place a popsicle stick on top, with half hanging off.
Fill a disposable piping bag with melted coating chocolate and snip the end off so the end is about a 1/2" opening. On the remaining part of the tray, pipe arms and curly tails, making sure they are thick and chubby (thin lines of chocolate could easily break). Although you will only need one set, create extras for breakage. Place the tray in the fridge while you create the face.
Next, roll out a small portion of white and red fondant as thinly as possible. Cut the white fondant into a wide heart shape with no point, that is approximately 4 1/2" wide x 3" tall. Cut a smaller football shape out of red fondant for the mouth. Roll the eyes, nose and mouth from the black fondant. Place little white fondant dots on the eyes with a dab of water. When you are done, these are the pieces you should have. Add stitching to the edges of the white face to give it a more finished look.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE MONKEY CAKE
Brush a very,very light coating of water on the back of the white fondant face and place on the front of the monkey. Attach the mouth, eyes, nose and mouth with a tiny bit of water as well. Each time you apply a piece, hold it steady for several seconds while the water sets.
Attach the beanie by placing it in position and driving a toothpick through the fondant into the cake.
Remove the chocolate pieces from the fridge and carefully run a spatula under the chocolate pieces to lift them off of the tray. Gently insert the ears until 1/4 of the circle is submerged in the side of cake. Press the tail and arms into the cake. Attach the fondant name to the board with a touch of water. Keep the cake refrigerated until a little before serving time.