May 7, 2014

How to Make Monkey Cupcakes

Hey guys! These are the cupcakes that, to my eternal shame, I nearly posted on Star Wars Day. I was just so excited to share this tutorial with you that I almost didn't notice the date.

A few weeks ago, the sister-in-law told me she had signed up to bring monkey cupcakes to a coworker's baby shower. And that by "signed up to bring cupcakes" she actually meant, "signed up to bring cupcakes that she was hoping I would make."

Obviously, I said I would, because YAY CUPCAKES!!! When I asked her if there was a theme, she said it was jungle themed. So I said, "hmm, I might be able to wrangle some monkey cupcakes." And guess what? They were totally easier than I originally thought, so I figured I'd share.

I was inspired by these cupcakes on Persnickety Plates.

Things you will need:
Cupcakes, any flavor (I used my Birthday Cake Cupcakes because they requested vanilla. I just used some cake flour for a more tender crumb, some vanilla bean paste, and added rainbow sprinkles to the batter)
Chocolate Frosting (I used my favorite recipe, but any kind works)
Chocolate sprinkles (one of those tubs they sell with the ice cream works best)
Nilla wafers, 3 per cupcake
Mini marshmallows, 1 per cupcake
1 tube of black gel or writing icing, which can be found in the baking aisle at most grocery stores
Step 1: Frost the cupcakes. I can never frost evenly without a piping bag, so I just snipped off a corner and piped a good blob on top. Obviously, piping is an extra step and not necessary; I just found it easier.
Step 2: Add sprinkles. This is why a big tub of sprinkles comes in handy. If you piped the frosting like I did, you'll want to smooth it out a bit so you get more of a flat top. Then just stick it straight into the tub o' sprinkles, roll it around a bit to get even coverage, give it a small shake to knock off the excess, and now you've got monkey fur.
Step 3: Add the Nilla Wafers. Start with the ears. I usually found a spot that either didn't get enough sprinkles or where the frosting had gotten on to the liner. Basically, take the opportunity to cover up any flaws. Add the ears at a slight angle so you can push them into the cake itself. This way they're nice and sturdy. Add them on either side of the top half of the cupcake.

Take a third Nilla Wafer and add a little bit of frosting to the bottom. Place it in the middle of the bottom half of the cupcake, so it looks like a muzzle. Then take the the black gel icing and add two dots for nostrils and a mouth.
Step 4: Add the eyes. Take a mini marshmallow and cut it in half with scissors. (You may have to reshape them slightly as the scissors will squash them a bit). Place them cut side down (this lets them stick) where you want the eyes to go. Take the black gel icing and pipe a dot on each for pupils.
And that's it. You can have a ton of fun giving each monkey a different expression. Even this non-decorator had no trouble with it. I did this on super-short notice, too, no time to go to Candyland for specialty items. Everything I used came from the grocery store.
These are perfect for a jungle-themed baby shower or birthday party. Or you know, any day of the week.