Yesterday I spent the afternoon baking with my kids. My daughter chose to make Easter nest cakes while my son wanted to make a “big cake”. We used the same cake mix for both, taking out a little for the Easter cakes then using the rest in our Wilton Monkey Cake Tin which I bought for a joint 1st birthday party a few years ago. There was plenty of space in the tin when it was filled so it would also work using the entire batch of cake batter in this tin.
We used vanilla and chocolate frosting to decorate the cake with a star nozzle and a piping bag. I coloured a little of the vanilla frosting with an ivory gel colour to use on the hands, feet and muzzle. I also used some left over ready made writing icing for the details on the face.
250g Unsalted butter (softened)
250g Caster sugar
250g Self raising flour
3tsp Vanilla essence
50ml of whole milk (approx – this varies depending on the flour you are using)
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- To soften the butter you could simply leave it on the side for an hour, but I always forget so I place it in a microwavable bowl and heat in 10 second bursts, removing and mixing each time. The aim is to soften the butter a little not to melt it. If the butter does melt a little, use a fork to mix it back together with the rest of the butter.
- In a freestanding mixer cream the softened butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add the vanilla essence to the beaten egg then slowly add the mixture to the mixer.
- Gradually add the flour while mixing on a slow speed.
- Add the whole milk slowly while mixing by hand until the mixture falls easily from a spoon or spatula.
- Grease the tin with butter, making sure all the indents are covered, then place a couple of spoonfuls of flour into the tin and tilt the tin around until the whole surface is coated in flour – this is to stop the cake sticking when it turns out.
- Bake for approx 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Vanilla frosting & Chocolate frosting
80g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
25ml whole milk
1 and a half tsp vanilla essence
100g milk chocolate (I used Belgian cooking chocolate)
- Cream the butter and icing sugar in a free-standing mixer on a low speed it will initally look powdery before becoming a smooth mixture.
- Mix the vanilla essence with the milk in a separate glass or jug (I use a re-purposed Tommy Tippee cup as it has handy volumes on the side).
- With the mixture on a low speed slowly add the vanilla milk.
- Beat the mixture on a high speed for at least 5 minutes
- Separate out about a 1/4 of the frosting and place in a separate bowl.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwavable bowl using 15 second bursts and stirring between each burst until the chocolate has melted.
- Stir the chocolate into the remaining 3/4 of frosting.
- Use a little of the vanilla frosting and smooth it over the eyes with a palate knife.
- Colour the remaining vanilla frosting with ivory gel colour and smooth a little onto the muzzle and inside of the ears with a palate knife.
- Place the chocolate frosting in a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe stars over the monkey shape, following the lined of the mould. Leave the hands & feet as these will be covered in ivory stars.
- Once the monkey, except the hands and feet is covered in chocolate frosting stars, wash the star nozzle and use with a clean piping bag to pipe ivory stars onto the hands and feet.
- Use black writing icing to add nostrils, pupils to the eyes and a smile.