Happy Birthday to my youngest son, Bennett, who turned 2 yesterday!
My sweet little monkey is growing up! I meant to post yesterday but just got too busy. It’s been a bit crazy around here with the boys’ birthdays being so close together. We had a dual birthday party for them on Sunday, and I made them each their own cake. Cole had a snake cake and Bennett had a monkey cake. Now let me start by telling you that cakes are not my forte. I’m more of a cook than a baker, but I was pretty happy with how these turned out considering I have very little experience with cakes. So without further ado, here are the birthday cakes!
This is Bennett’s monkey cake. It’ a banana cake with chocolate buttercream icing. Here’s where the idea came from: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/monkey-cake
And here’s Bennett having a taste of the ear, because of course that’s the best part.
I had to make this cake twice. The first time, I cut into it too soon when it was still warm inside, so it crumbled. The next time I decided to substitute chocolate chips for the pecans and forgo the layer of chocolate icing in the centre, so no cutting would be required. I couldn’t find licorice string or drops anywhere for the face, so I just used the chocolate icing to draw the nose and mouth. For the eyes, I grabbed a couple of pieces from Tony’s bag of Bridge Mixture that worked pretty well! For the hair I decided to use shaved chocolate instead of icing.
Bennett wasn’t too interested in the cake at the party because I think he was just too overwhelmed by all the people. It was raining that day so there were 30+ guests stuffed in our house. I had a piece and I enjoyed it. I’m glad I went with the chocolate chips instead of more chocolate icing because it was just the right amount of sweetness, not too overly sweet as cakes can sometimes be. The next day on his actual birthday I sent the remaining cake to daycare with Bennett for him to share with the kids there. There was none left when I picked him up, so I guess that’s a good sign!
And here’s Cole’s snake cake:
This is a part chocolate, part yellow cake with green buttercream frosting. I just used cake mixes for this one (hey I’m not super-woman!) and baked them in bundt cake pans. Half of my yellow cake was ruined when I tried to take it out of the pan. I think it was because I didn’t grease the pan well enough. It worked out fine though because 1 1/2 bundt cakes was really all I needed. I cut the chocolate cake in half and connected the pieces in an ‘s’ shape, then cut the remaining yellow cake pieces to form the tail and head. Here’s the link where I got the idea for this cake: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/birthday-cake-decorating-idea.html#Index
To decorate the cake I used a tube of blue icing and mini m&ms. The tongue was a a piece of roller sour candy that I happened to have lying around for some reason. It worked great!
So we cut the cake:
This cake was a hit with the kids. They all wanted a piece of snake, but Cole got dibs on the head:
This wasn’t my first snake cake. The weekend before, which was Cole’s actual birthday, he asked me if I was going to make him a snake cake. I said yes, for the birthday party, but that wouldn’t be for another week. He was so incredibly sad! I didn’t want him being disappointed on his birthday, so I made him a snake cake that day. I know, I know, he has me wrapped around his little finger, but it did give me a chance to practice my snake cake-making abilities. Here was the first attempt. He wanted it to be a blue snake.
It also gave me a chance to try out a low-fat chocolate cake recipe that I had been wanting to try from Looneyspoons:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 egg whites
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup low-fat sour cream 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, sinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, blend together brown sugar, egg, egg whites, and oil with ana electric mixer on medium speed. Add vanilla, almond extract, and sour cream. Beat on low speed until well blended. Gradually add flour mixture to sour cream mixture, beating on medium speed. Fold in chocolate chips. Spray an 8×8″ pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Be sure to check cake after 40 minutes, as you don’t want to overbake it. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Cut into 12 squares. For maximum moistness, store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Tony raved about this cake. He said it was really good, and he was impressed that I had whipped up a cake from scratch. This recipe is pretty easy though, so even I could handle it. It was nice to see Cole enjoying it so much too. I hope it made his birthday a little more special. And I am now a snake cake master.