On Wednesday, I shared my favorite cake recipe and showed you how to create marbled cupcakes. They double really well as zebra-stripe cupcakes too. Today, I’m going to share how I decorated the tops of those cupcakes. They turned out super cute and were so incredibly easy; these are monkey cupcakes anyone can make. I enjoy decorating cakes, but I’m not particularly skilled at it. Okay, I barely make passing marks on cake decorating. So, if I can do it, anyone can.
Baby N turned a year old this past Monday and we celebrated while Mr. Napping’s parents were here visiting. I went all out for Big J’s first birthday and was so busy during the party and so exhausted afterward that I decided that huge parties just aren’t worth the work. And I felt like I missed sharing my little boy’s special day because I was running around, worried about details the whole time. So, in our house, the birthday person gets to choose the meal they want and the kind of cake they want. Since Baby N is only one, momma got to choose for him. I went with monkeys. I’ll call my boys the inspiration on that one.
CUTE AND SIMPLE CUPCAKES ANYONE CAN MAKE:
MONKEYS & PALM/BANANA TREES
– M&M’s or miniature marshmallows
– Vanilla Wafers (knock offs are fine)
– Mini Chips Ahoy Cookies
– Banana Candies (I got a small amount of “Runts” in bulk at the grocery store and just pulled out the bananas for our trees)
– Brown Jelly Beans (I used Dr. Pepper Jelly Bellys, also found in the bulk section. You could also use chocolate covered raisins or something similar)
– Pirouette Wafer Cookies
– Green Butterfly Gummy Candies (you could also use lime wedge gummies, but I couldn’t find them. The butterflies were my only option, but they turned out great)
– Black icing gel
– Toothpicks or wooden skewers
Monkey Cupcakes –
* You will need one vanilla wafer and one chips ahoy cookie for each monkey cupcake*
– Cut about a 1/4 inch off of one side on all your vanilla wafer cookies. Save the tops to use on the palm tree cupcakes. These were much easier to cut than I anticipated. A steak knife made quick work of these cookies.
– Cut the Chips Ahoy cookies in half. I used the same steak knife for these cookies, but found they crumbled more. The key to keeping them intact was to go slowly with a sawing motion while putting pressure on opposite sides of the cookie with my thumb and index fingers.
– Draw nostrils and mouths on the vanilla wafer cookies with the gel icing. This was the fun part. You can put a little variety in these cupcakes by giving the monkeys different expressions. A smiley monkey? A crazy monkey? A mischievous monkey? The call is yours.
– On a freshly frosted cupcake, put one vanilla wafer at the bottom of the cupcake to make the monkey’s snout (Is that what it’s called?). Put opposite halves of a Chips Ahoy cookie on each side just above the vanilla wafer for the ears. Stick two M&M’s (preferably the same color) or two mini marshmallows just above the vanilla wafer and in between the Chips Ahoy halves. Put little gel icing dots on the M&M’s or mini marshmallows to give the monkey eyes pupils.
– Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Times two dozen. It takes a little time to construct the monkeys, but they are so worth it.
Palm/Banana Tree Cupcakes
– Take the butterfly gummies and cut them in half horizontally, so that you have the top wings and the bottom wings.
– Cut the top wings apart on a slight diagonal line, so each piece is pointed at the end.
– Cut the bottom wing into a teardrop shape. Discard (uhm, eat…) the leftover portion.
– Cut the Pirouette cookies in half with a serrated knife.
– Stack three of the gummies on top of each with the rounded ends together and the pointed ends together. Put a toothpick or wooden skewer through the rounded part of the gummies. Fan out the gummies to look like tree fronds.
– Stick the end of the toothpick that doesn’t have the gummies on it into one end of the Pirouette cookies.
– Crush the tops of the vanilla wafers onto crumbs. You can use any broken Chips Ahoy cookies too.
– On a freshly frosted cupcake, sprinkle the vanilla wafer crumbs on top to create sand and stick the tree into the cupcake.
– Use a small dab of frosting to stick the coconuts or the banana candies under the bottom frond of the tree.
And there you have it. Simple and cute monkey cupcakes anyone can make. And what’s a monkey without his banana tree? No worries, you’ve got those too.
Don’t forget to check out how you can make the insides of the cupcakes look like zebra stripes!