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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