Adorable Monkey Cupcakes! Homemade chocolate cupcakes with chocolate sugar "fur" and vanilla wafer ears! Perfect for a monkey themed birthday party! |

Monkey Cupcakes

Adorable Monkey Cupcakes made with Nilla wafers and chocolate sanding sugar.
5 from 1 vote
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Keyword: monkey cupcakes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Author: Melissa | Persnickety Plates


For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 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

For the Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1.5 sticks salted butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the Chocolate 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 3/4 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.


Sources: Slight modifications to chocolate cupcakes (Bakerella) & buttercream (Sally's Baking Addiction)
Makes: 24 mini & 10 full size cupcakes with enough frosting to fill half & frost all (I only turned the full size cupcakes into monkeys)
Tried this recipe?Tag @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!