Monday, May 21, 2012

Sock Monkey Cake

We were originally going with a completely different theme for C's first birthday. When I was having trouble finding things to match it, I decided I should rethink my options. There were only two weeks until the party when I finally decided on the sock monkey theme. He had received an adorable sock monkey bib for Christmas from my Aunts that he could wear and the colors were pretty easy to match. Now what to do for the cake...

I started Googling sock monkey cakes. I started off with the idea to just make an off-white colored cake with red and brown accents and just write happy birthday on it, or maybe even just a giant 1, but where's the fun in that? I decided I wanted to challenge myself and after some more digging, I finally came across the cake that I would attempt to build! This was by FAR the cutest cake I had ever laid eyes on! Even though I was planning this entire party in under two weeks, I felt that I could pull it off. So I went for it! I'm glad I did because I was able to learn a new cake making skill that I will definitely use again in the future and it turned out to be a great addition to the party decorations!

I decided on a devil's food cake with vanilla buttercream because it was my Dad's birthday the week before (that's his favorite combination) and just like that, this doubled as his cake. I also used rice krispies for the limbs and head. The entire thing was covered in chocolate fondant with white chocolate shavings that had been rolled into it to give it the speckles.

smash cake!

For the design and inspiration, I read this blog about a sock monkey cake.


Devil's Food Cake -(Food Network)

2 C. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, softened
extra butter for greasing the pan
2 C. plus 2 T. sugar
3/4 C. cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs, room temperature
11/4 C. water
1/4 C. milk

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter and flour a loaf pan and a 6 inch round cake pan (smash cake) and set on a cookie sheet.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the standing mixer, on medium speed, beat butter until smooth. (2 min.)
On medium-high speed, add sugar slowly until smooth. (4 min.) Scrape the sides of the bowl.
On medium speed, add cocoa and vanilla (1 min.) Scrape sides again.
On medium-low speed, add eggs one at a time, making sure to thoroughly incorporate each egg.

Combine the water and milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Add the flour mixture, about a 1/4 cup at a time, to the butter mixture. When the flour mixture is incorporated, pour the hot liquid into the batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing the batter by hand until smooth.

Set the pans on the middle rack in the oven. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center springs back when touched lightly, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream (savorysweetlife)

1 C. unsalted butter, softened (not melted!)
3-4 C. powdered sugar, sifted (a little less if not sifting)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. vanilla
up to 4 T. milk or heavy cream

Beat butter on medium speed until thick and creamy. Lower mixer speed and add about 3 C. powdered sugar until the sugar has been FULLY incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 T. milk/cream and beat for about 3 minutes. For more stiff frosting, add remaining sugar. For a more thinned out frosting, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

Chocolate Fondant (The Cake Bible)

1 T. gelatin
1/3 C. water
2/3 C. corn syrup
1 T. glycerine
1/4 c vegetable shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
6 1/4 C.  powdered sugar
2 C. + 2 T. dutch processed cocoa powder(or the same amount regular cocoa powder + 1 tsp. baking soda)

sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 C. water in the top of a double boiler and let sit for 5 minutes.
set over simmering water and stir until dissolved.
Blend in corn syrup and glycerine.
Add shortening and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Mix cocoa and sugar in large bowl and make a well in the center.
Add gelatin mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until blended.
Mix with hands and knead until it forms a ball.
Turn out onto a smooth surface, wash and dry hands and then knead until the fondant is smooth. If dry, add a few drops of water. It will get very sticky until the water is totally incorporated. If it seems too sticky, add a little powdered sugar..
Best to make a day ahead, but can be used at once.
To store, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and put into a baggie to insure that no air can get to the fondant. It can be kept at room temperature for a week, in the fridge for 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To soften the fondant when you are ready to use, knead until it is smooth and can be rolled. Use vegetable spray on your work surface and rolling pin.

Plus 36 oz. of shaved white chocolate that was kneaded/rolled into the chocolate fondant to look like the sock monkey specks. 

Rice Krispies for molding 

Follow the regular rice krispie recipe and use 1 T. or all together OMIT the butter.  The less butter you use, the more firm you can get the rice krispies to mold and hold their shape.  mold them while they are still warm.

1 bag mini marshmallows
6 C. rice krispies cereal

Double this and that should be enough to make all of the monkey parts.


The fondant, by far, took the most time out of this whole process. Every night for about 5 days I worked on this for an hour or more. The rolling in of the white chocolate shavings took the most time.

Bake the cakes. Cool completely. 

Make the rice krispies, mold them into the shapes you need.

Cover everything with vanilla buttercream.

Decorate the smash cake, set aside.

Cover the body parts with the chocolate fondant. Cover the ends of the hands, feet, mouth, etc. with white fondant.

Use toothpicks to attach the arms/legs/ears etc.

Hershey kisses make perfect eyes. (or anything else that is chocolate and has a round flat side)

frost on a red mouth and add any other last minute details.

I know my sock monkey cake didn't turn out perfect, but I sure was proud of it! All of the time and effort put into this cake was definitely worth it!

He just wanted to eat the red icing dots...

...until he realized there was cake inside!

Happy 1st birthday little monkey!

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