Monkey Cupcakes! Homemade chocolate cupcakes with chocolate sugar “fur” and vanilla wafer ears! Perfect for a monkey themed birthday party!
Even though I haven’t eaten any (real) animals in the last few months, I seem to enjoy making really cute animals (like penguins & pandas) and eating their faces. I saw this pin on Pinterest and decided to make it my Friday night project. Our nephew had his 3rd birthday party on Saturday and I used that as my excuse.
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED FOR DECORATING:
Mini Nilla wafers
Chocolate Sanding Sugar (I had to try 3 Michaels before I found this so call first if you’re not ordering it)
Black gel icing (you could also use melted chocolate)
Piping bag & tip (though you could just frost them with a knife)
Adorable Monkey Cupcakes made with Nilla wafers and chocolate sanding sugar.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2/3 cup hot water
- 1.5 sticks salted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cupcakes
- Line your cupcake pans with liners and set aside (I made 24 minis & 10 full size).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk.
- Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and milk and mix until combined. It will be very thick at this point.
- I switched to a wooden spoon and added the hot water. Mix until fully incorporated. Now batter will be thin.
- Fill the liners about ¾ full and bake for full size – 12-15 minutes, minis – around 10 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely before you start decorating.
For the buttercream
- Make sure you start with softened butter. I used my stand mixer but a hand mixer will work fine, too.
- With the paddle attachment, whip the butter until it starts to get smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix on high for 3 to 4 minutes.
- If you use UNsalted butter, you’ll want to add a pinch of salt. I started with salted butter so there’s no need.
For the decorating
- Once cooled, core out the center of your cupcakes (if you want to fill them with buttercream). I used some type of apple corer to do this (I’m not sure exactly what it’s intended use is, I just found it in my drawer).
- Using a piping bag (or ziploc bag with a tip), fill the center with some frosting then replace the top. Frost with the buttercream. It doesn’t have to be particularly pretty, you’re going to cover it up with sprinkles anyway.
- Fill a bowl with the sanding sugar, flip the cupcake over and gently smush into the sprinkles to fully coat.
- Cut some vanilla wafers in half for the ears (gently! this part is tricky. they were shooting all over when I was cutting them) and stick on each side of the cupcake.
- Add a whole vanilla wafer for the mouth and use gel icing (or melted chocolate) to draw on the mouth & nose. I gave mine different faces & personalities.
- I bought pre-made eyeballs, but I didn’t like them, so I flipped them over and drew on my own pupils with the icing.
Makes: 24 mini & 10 full size cupcakes with enough frosting to fill half & frost all (I only turned the full size cupcakes into monkeys)
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Need more ideas? Here are 112 Birthday Cake Ideas for Boys