Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Monkey Cake!

A day late and a dollar short - but at least I'm posting today, right? Progress.

March 22nd happens to be none-other than T-dubs FIRST birthday. I'm so excited! I cannot believe this little guy (who is getting bigger and bigger every day - make it stop!!) is turning ONE YEAR OLD!! Just the other day he was a tiny nugget in my arms. Now? Babbling, walking, hummus-loving crazy boy, who is such a sweetheart. To mark the occasion, I wanted to bake him a very special birthday cake. Deb at Smitten Kitchen created this Monkey Cake for her son's first birthday, and I thought it was absolutely perfect for this little monkey's big day, too. :)

I enjoy making cakes, but I'm not the best at assembly and decorating (bundt cakes are my specialty), so I wanted to make sure that I could pull off creating this cake before I went ahead and committed to making it for his birthday party. This past Saturday I decided to do a test-cake, to see how long everything would take me, to make sure it tasted good, and to practice my decorating skills. It took me the whole day to make (including cooling times), but I was also taking it slow, enjoying my Saturday off, and making sure I was doing everything Just Right.

Here you can see the large cake and the miniature (which is still quite large!) 'smash' cake.

I essentially followed Deb's directions to a T, so I won't re-post her recipe. Click here to view the recipe. Below are my bench notes:

- I did the Option One, which is for one two-layer big cake, and a smaller 'smash' cake (for T-dubs)
- Since I did the Option One, I also opted to make the larger (7 cups!) batch of frosting. This made A TON of frosting, and my 9 cup food processor had a little trouble with it at first, but with a little coaxing it all came together. We had a lot of frosting (both white/vanilla and chocolate) left over.
- I only had 3 cups of cake flour on hand, so I made my own cake flour for the other 3-3/4 cups using Joy the Baker's recipe. I ordered more Cake Flour from King Arthur Flour for T-dubs actual cake (because I didn't want to spend time aerating and sifting it later).
- I did not color the white/vanilla frosting as Deb suggests. It was getting late in the evening (hence the yellow fluorescent-light-glow of the pictures)and I figured the white was fine enough, and I thought it turned out fine, too.
- I didn't have two 9-inch circle pans (I have no idea where the other one went...) so I used one 9-inch circle pan, and a 9-inch springform pan, and when the cake was cooled I removed it from the circle pan, washed, and reused it to bake the last/third layer. It seemed to work fine.

The cake turned out DELICIOUS and it had The Best chocolate fudge frosting I have EVER eaten in my life. T-dubs family tried some, and they loved it too! My plan for his big birthday party is to make this cake again, but change it up ever so slightly. I'm still going to make it according to the large proportions, but instead of doing a two-layer banana cake plus a banana smash cake, I'm going to make it a three layer cake (two layers vanilla, one middle layer banana cake), and a banana smash cake. I'm going to use the rest of the banana batter to make banana cupcakes, and I'll also make some vanilla cupcakes too, and decorate them with monkey faces as well. I'll let you know later this month how the whole project turns out! :)

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