Sock Monkey Cake

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My friend Laura is having a baby, and I got to help plan her baby shower. The theme was “Planes, Trains, and Little Boy Names” and all of the decorations were old-fashioned toys and classic children’s books. Her sister, the mastermind behind the shower, came up with the theme and told me about the decorations. When she mentioned she would be bringing a sock monkey, I was sold. Sock monkey cake?! Pretty sure those are the 3 cutest words in the English language.

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I got most of my inspiration from this sock monkey cake by Libby’s Cake Creations. I did 2 layers (a 10” and a 6”) of chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream, vanilla bean buttercream, and fresh strawberries. I knew it would be more cake than we needed, but I think tiered cakes really make a party special, and the top tier can always be frozen and enjoyed later. (It’s the shower gift that keeps on giving!)

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Plus, this dude needed a top tier to lounge against. Clearly.

The top layer was intentionally set off to the side of the bottom cake, to give the monkey space to recline. The monkey’s head and body are rice crispy treats covered in fondant, as is the poof ball on top. The limbs and monkey’s hat are plain fondant.

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The reasoning behind the rice crispies was to make them weigh less and also make them easier to manipulate and sculpt, but in the end I’m not sure that it made much difference. It did allow me to use less fondant, which is nice because I’d purchased the red fondant and had a limited supply. (The white/gray is homemade marshmallow fondant, but the red color is so difficult to achieve at home, so I usually end up buying it. Same with black.)

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Fondant buttons are super simple, but look so cute. The only tricky part is finding lids that are the right size to create the indent. The holes in the middle are made using the bottom of a wooden skewer.

I often intend to take progress pictures and post little cake tutorials, but I’m always so rushed during the process that I forget or can’t be bothered. It’s probably just as well—I think I always find the most difficult, most convoluted way to go about getting things done. It’d be embarrassing to post pictures of how I made the fondant poof ball, since there were about 15 different steps, at least 12 of which were probably unnecessary.

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Ah, the argyle. I love the way it looks, but it kind of made me want to die. I will say this cake is MUCH cleaner and nicer than the last argyle cake I did, and most of that credit goes to Jason, who put his giant brain to good use, did some complex math, and created dozens of gorgeous, equally-sized diamonds. Bless him.

I couldn’t decide whether I should leave it plain or add the gray dots. It looks way cooler with the dots, but after 20 minutes of freehand piping, squinting, and trying to picture imaginary lines while buttercream liquefied in my hot little hands, I was hating my life.

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The painted effect on the monkey, buttons, and cake board is literally just that—black and white food coloring, painted on with some old, frazzled pastry brushes. I really mashed down the bristles, then dabbed them in the coloring and sort of flicked them around on the fondant until it looked right. (The monkey, especially, went through several phases of “Oh that looks so wrong” before he started to look right. I just kept piling on the brush strokes and praying things would come together. And they did. High five!)

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It was a little sad to eat him, but you know I made Laura take a picture devouring him, so it all worked out in the end.


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13 Responses to Sock Monkey Cake
  1. Laura says:

    Loved it! The cake was so delicious and adorable! You got talent girl! :) Thanks for all your hard work! I was thinking that if I had to cut out all those diamonds and then pipe on the grey dots I would have wanted to die too. What a lot of work!! Seriously. I cant thank you enough!!

  2. Danguole says:

    Wow! So very impressive.

  3. Alico and Castelle says:

    Wow! This is an amazing cake! I never thought to do a sock monkey cake before; I’m definitely keeping this photo to put on my inspiration wall for the future!

    Hope everything worked out well at the baby shower!


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  4. Maria says:

    WOW, beautiful and masterful! that beading looks like it took loads of patience and time

  5. Jodie says:

    Adorable Liz! My friends threw me a sock monkey shower last year and it was my favorite theme. You did a great job on the monkey and I love the texture on the buttons!

  6. Katrina says:

    That is an awesome cake! So cute and well done!

  7. Claudia Hamilton says:

    This cake is so cute. I have decided to make this cake for my grandaughter birthday when she turns 11 years old, I’m sure she’ll love it. I’ll write back to tell you how it turned out. Thanks for the great idea.

  8. Michelle says:

    This cake is beyond adorable! The argyle is gorgeous too, awesome job on the whole thing! :)

  9. Hi! Love, love, love your cake! I had a customer send it to me as inspiration for her cake she ordered. I’m wondering if you can tell me more about the poof ball. Is the red fondant? Any chance you have an upclose, clear picture of it? Thanks so much and fantastic work!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Natalie, thanks for the comment! Unfortunately I don’t have a closer picture of the poof ball, and to be honest, I did it in a really dumb way. I’m sure you can figure out a smarter way to do it–but it was late and I was tired. :)

      The poof ball is made of fondant. I covered a rice crispy ball with a thin layer of red fondant. Then I put some fondant in a bowl and microwaved it in short increments until it was very soft and melt-y. I put the melted fondant into a piping bag fitted with a small round attachment, and piped squiggles on top of the ball. It’s not the easiest, because the fondant is still hard to squeeze. I would periodically re-warm the fondant in the microwave as it cooled and firmed up. When the ball was covered with squiggles, I took scissors and made little snips in the fondant, which caused it to spike up and get a lot more texture. Again: dumb method. I’m sure you’ll come up with something better. :) Good luck with the cake!

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