Monday, November 12, 2012

Monkey Business

Birthday's can be a tricky time. You want to go all out and do something awesome for your loved ones, and sometimes it just doesn't go as planned, we saw this happen first hand on Marquette's post from Saturday :
Jennifer decided to make a fun cake for her "little monkey" 's first birthday, things went well baking wise, but once she pulled the icing out it all went to heck in a hand basket, check it out:

The Original

This is totally one of those projects that you look at and think "I can totally do this! That doesn't look bad at all!".  These kind of projects usually end about six hours later and you have already pulled out most of your hair and you have zero patience left to fix anything. Case in point, it seems Jennifer's little monkey caught a case of the sniffles...check it out:

The Pinstrosity

Poor Jennifer...we have all been there girl! Let's take a look at what happened here...

Jennifer did good with the baking part, and the shape of the cake and ears, although one ear is higher than the other (personally I think it gives the little guy character). 
The problems here are entirely with the decor.
One trick that tends to help is if the cake is completely cool before frosting. If the cake is still warm it will melt the icing and it will totally ruin your texture, and it will no doubt leave your little critter with a runny nose.

Another thing to look at is that she tried to substitute gel icing for licorice stands (which the original calls for). Now I am all for using what you already have in the house as opposed to buying an entire pack of licorice for one single strand, but the black gel icing ended being the straw that broke the camel's back here.

The original also calls for licorice candies for the eyes, but personally I think you can away with a tootsie roll cut in half like Jennifer did here, way to think on your toes with that one!
Frosting a cake to be smooth takes patience and practice and other than the runny nose I think that is all this cake really needs, a little smoothing here and there.
Another thing to consider is practice, the person who made the original cake works for Martha Stewart Living, did you catch that, "Living", as in that person makes a living by making these kind of perfect cakes. 

Don't beat yourself up if you are trying to do all these fun projects in the small amount of time that your kid is  passed out watching Dora..."I only have until Dora crosses that bridge till the baby wakes up...frost faster!!!!". I know in my family after all the little kids are in bed is the ONLY time that anything crafty gets done for anyone, and by that time everyone is too tired form the days festivities to craft anyways
Another thing is presentation, if Jennifer had wiped the plate down when she was finished and got rid of the crumbs, added a little extra cream frosting to monkeys face (after wiping up his icing boogers) and used a half  pretzel stick for the nostrils (or something to that effect) it would have been completely salvageable!
Life is messy, and making cakes is messy, and that is just alright with me. Good on you Jennifer for taking such a task on, especially with a one year old running around!

Happy Monday Pinstrosipeeps!


  1. Also, a good way to keep a clean plate is to put wax paper strips under the edge of the cake. Once the icing has set up, use a clean knife to push against the edge of the cake. If you use canned frosting, you can always beat in a little more powdered sugar because it's usually pretty thin and soft. Tell Jennifer to keep her spirits up. The Martha Stewart Living Monkey Business cake is probably frosted STYROFOAM and they probably used royal icing to decorate it. This is a trick used by professional cake decorators for photography purposes. (You have all seen the cakes in the bakery windows that are the same cakes for MONTHS and MONTHS! Yep, frosted styrofoam!)

    Also posted on FB

    1. I have made this cake. it was so cute and really easy. you just have to take your time and have really good frosting.

  2. I made this exact cake, used whoppers malt balls for the eyes.

  3. LMAO!!! If it makes Jennifer feel any better, I would probably have made a bigger mess. At least hers was identifiable as a monkey. Mine, not too sure...

  4. Jennifer is my daughter...and we laughed our heads off...she clearly inherited her baking talent from her

  5. That is heee-larious, bless your heart for sharing this one with us. Glad you guys got a good laugh out of it! I think this is probably the best tummy tickler I've seen yet. And I agree with a poster above, it's STILL probably better than I would have done too!

  6. Let's be honest, even with he runny nose and all, Jennifer's monkey looks much happier than the original one. So I say Jennifer nailed it! :)

  7. hahahaha best one yet! trust me, mine would have been worse :)

  8. I made this cake a couple years ago and while I didn't have issues with the icing, halfway through the party one of his ears fell off! It was hilarious! (I used Jr Mints for his eyes and they were perfect :)

  9. Oh man, I just died laughing..I mean, I feel bad..but the before and after shots..soo funny..


  11. I can't stop laughing at this one. My eyes are tearing up. The runny nose is hilarious. That would scare my kid.


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