Coolest 5th Monkeyin' Around Birthday Cake
by Shiloh Hand
(Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan)
Monkeyin' Around Cake!
My little girl dreams of being a zoo keeper (You should see her in her khakis), so when she decided she wanted a Zoo themed party I let her pick which animal she wanted on her cake. We were having a very large group, so we opted for a small cake and a bunch of cupcakes.
For Monkeyin' around birthday cake you will need the following :
- 1 Box cake of choice
- White (green would work, too) buttercream frosting
- Brown, tan, green and a tiny bit of black and white fondant (I used some homemade marshmallow fondant and some store-bought – my browns and blacks never come out quite right, so I buy those)
- Oreo cookies – filling removed and cookies processed in food processor ( you can also buy pre-crushed Oreo cookie crumbs if you don’t live on a USMC base in Okinawa, Japan like I do)
- Yellow Banana Laffy Taffy (the little individually wrapped ones are the perfect size to make one banana each)
- Bamboo skewer
- 6 inch round pans (2)
- Leaf cookie cutters
Now for the how too… I am less than technical in my cake-making…never had a class in my life, so I’ll give my best description of my process.
1. Bake and cool cakes according to the package directions. The excess can be baked in a third 6 inch pan or in cupcake wrappers. I like the extra little 6 inch because nobody really misses it when I eat the whole thing myself while it is still warm and without frosting.
2. While your cakes are cooling you can make your little fondant monkey. I started with an egg shaped body of dark brown and flattened the bottom on the countertop so he would sit up. The head is made up of a smaller oval of the dark brown. A bamboo skewer through the entire body and into the bottom of the head served as support (tip: put the skewer in the body first and put the head on top or you might shove them right through the top of the head).
3. Next I made an oval of tan fondant for his tummy, and 3 smaller ovals for his face.
4. Cut the bottom third off of the “eye ovals” and attach
them to the head with a TINY bit of water, and them place the “mouth oval” just overlapping the “eye ovals.”
5. Add white eyes with black pupils (tiny dot of fondant under slightly larger dot of fondant and…squish).
6. Use a knife to “open” Mr. Monkey’s mouth and a toothpick to make nostrils and eyebrows.
7. Make the ears out a circle of brown fondant cut in half. I made the ridges of the ears with my fingernail and attached them to the sides (not top) of the head.
8. The arms and legs are made of dark brown fondant snakes. Flatten one end of each and use a toothpick to add finger and toe lines to the other ends. The tail is just a snake that Mr. Monkey sits on later, so flatten one end of that as well.
9. I made my leaves with a fondant cutting press, and it didn’t work all that well for me. Next time I will use a cookie cutter and make the veins in the leaved with a knife. Make ten or twelve larger ones and a few small ones and set to the side.
10. After the cakes have cooled, level both cakes and stack with a layer of buttercream or your favorite filling between. Place strips of waxed paper just under the edge of the cake to catch the extra cookie crumbs and frosting later. They pull out just fine and leave your plate nice and clean.
11. Frost the outsides and top of the cake. You don’t have to be too neat, since most of the frosting will be covered anyway.
12. Cover the outside edge of the cake with the Oreo crumbs.
13. Place Mr. Monkey’s tail on the top of the cake right about where you want him to sit.
14. Add the legs to the top of the cake and place the skewered body on top of the legs and tail.
15. Add the leaves around the edge of the cake, overlapping as you go.
16. Heat the unwrapped Laffy Taffies, one at a time, for 3 or so seconds and shape into various banana shapes. I painted just a tad of black gel food coloring on to each banana with a toothpick to make them look a little more real. Make as many as you want!
17. Remove wax paper liner and voila!