Sunday, 21 August 2011

Monkey cake - chocolate, banana, and peanut butter

My best friend (the one who is getting married)’s nephew was turning 1 year old.  In fact, her bridal shower was combined with his birthday party!  She had asked me to make a chocolate peanut butter cake decorated as a monkey for him.  Well, if I was going to make a monkey cake, it needed bananas!  Ergo, the chocolate banana cake with peanut butter frosting!  I made a very small cake as I also made her a shower cake (posting next week) and she had requested another cake from a bakery.   Lots of cakes for a big party!

Check out the verdict at the end of the post.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste the monkey cake as I am allergic to peanuts.  I suppose I could have made it with almond or cashew butter, but the birthday boy loves peanut butter!

Chocolate banana cake
Adapted from here.
Makes a 5 X 2 inch cake and 3 cupcakes

½ cup sugar
¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons flour
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
½ cup mashed bananas (about 1 banana)
½ cup warm water
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup canola oil
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

1.     Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking pan with parchment and cupcake pan with liners.  I used a 5x2 inch cake pan, but if you want to make a larger cake, you’ll need to increase the recipe.
2.     In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa power, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.     In a bowl, mix egg, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. 
4.     Pour wet mixture into dry, and stir until combined.
5.     Pour into baking pans and bake:  28 minutes for cake, 13 minutes for cupcakes
6.     Cool on wire rack before frosting.

Before baking

Peanut butter frosting
Adapted from here.
Makes 2.5 cups

5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup butter, room temperature
2.5 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1.       Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  I used a hand held mixer.
2.       Add icing sugar ½ cup at a time.  Beat until light and fluffy.
3.       Beat in peanut butter.

Monkey Cake Assembly
1. Cut cake and fill with frosting.
2. Trim cupcake to appropriate size and attached (without liners) to each side of the cake with frosting to make ears. 
3. Make a monkey face stencil and trace around it with a knife to score it.
4. Fill in the face and inner ears with frosting using a small spatula.
5. Color the rest of the frosting a darker brown colour with gel food colouring and cocoa.  Colour a small amount of the frosting black (for the eyes and mouth).
6. Using tip #233, pipe the rest of the monkey a darker brown.
7. Pipe the eyes and mouth with tip #3.
8. Keep in refrigerator until serving.

    Slicing the cake
    Peanut butter frosting filling
    Scoring the cake with a stencil and knife
    Face and ears filled in

Verdict:  I couldn’t try this cake because of my allergy to peanuts, but it was well received at the party!  I was able to try the cake (without frosting) and it had a subtle banana flavor – so if you like a stronger banana flavor, try putting sliced bananas in the middle layer.  This cake ended up looking a lot like the Subway monkey!

Cutting the cake at the party

Subway monkey


  1. PERFECT! What a gorgeous cake, such wonderful decorating skills indeed :) sounds like it tastes delicious too!

  2. Thanks! It was fun to make!

  3. Such a cute monkey!!! I loved this post!!

  4. Brilliant idea! And the flavor combination sounds wonderful! Are you available for my birthday next week??....

  5. That's a very interesting option for kids...sure they are going to love it.

  6. Too cute! I am using this recipe. Great job!

  7. Those look so adorable! I wouldn't resist them as a kid.

  8. Erica, i can't find a way to contact you. is there an email somewhere?

    1. Hi Lisa,
      You can email me at