Birthday Monkey Cake

So, it was the day yesterday! My boy’s very first birthday party!

365 DAYS!!!!! What a ride both me and Ethan have come to! Happy birthday, my dear boy!

I have never imagined making a cake like this one myself before Ethan came along because I thought this kind of thematic cake always tasted gross. But trust me, once you have kids, you would definitely desire to make one for them no matter how long it takes.

Another reason was that I came across this Martha Steward recipe and decoration video which I found very simple to follow, and the result is a total crowd-pleaser. And IT DOESN’T TASTE GROSS!

Ingredients (one 7-inch cake):
Quick Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Chocolate and Yellow Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, soften
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 drop of yellow food coloring paste
100 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
2 pieces of dark brown Smarties or M&M’s

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease and lightly flour a 7-inch diameter 3-quart stainless-steel bowl and 1 cup of a muffin tin. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together espresso, vinegar, vanilla and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, mix until just blended.
Pour the batter in the prepared bowl. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.
To prepare frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
Transfer 1/4 frosting to a small bowl. Stir in food coloring to make pale yellow. Set aside.
In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, put in the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and milk. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
With the mixer on low, slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the buttercream, and beat for another 5 minutes until it’s smooth.
To assemble the cake, trim flat side of cake 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 buttercream over entire monkey head. Spread buttercream 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 or multi-opening tip. Pipe frosting around bottom edge of cake in a continuous line. Switch to a small multi-opening tip, pipe hair on top of head.
Fill another piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip with yellow buttercream. Pipe an oval near the front base of cake, and half-circles in centers of ears, fill in with frosting, and smooth. Pipe chocolate frosting for nose and mouth. Place 2 pieces of Smartie or M&M’s above oval for eyes.
Cover the cake and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator an hour before serving.

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