Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Cheeky Monkey Party Theme!

Bellow you'll find everything you need to know to throw a Cheeky Monkey themed birthday party for your little one... Or for yourself :P

The Cheeky Monkey cake and matching cupcakes are specifically fondant free in an attempt to keep things simple for busy parents making them from home. They're also designed so the kids can help make them with you! (Nothing like bonding over sweet treats and making a mess in the kitchen together!)

But kids birthday party themes aren't just about the cake. In order to carry out a theme you also need invitations, party food, games and take-home lolly bags to match - am I right? So this post will cover everything you need to know to create your Cheeky Monkey birthday party :)

First, the cake:

Isn't he so cute?! And the best part - so simple to make. Here's what you do...

Grease a circular cake pan (mine was 22cm) with marge or butter (remember: say NO to palm oil) and pre-heat your oven to 180c. 
(I hope your ovens are more user friendly than mine!)

Soften butter/marge in the microwave and stir in sugar until creamy and delicious. Add the eggs and vanilla essence, then fold in coconut, chocolate and flour alternatively with milk until combined.

Bake for around 45 minutes or until cooked through. (You can test with a knife - pierce through the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean you're all good!) 

And that's how easy it is to make a white chocolate and coconut (aka Cheeky Monkey) cake! Impressive but simple, no? :P

While your cake cools make my coconut cupcakes recipe. This recipe makes around 18 cupcakes and you only need 12 for the Cheeky Monkey theme, so it gives you room for error - as well as extra cupcakes to eat :P

While baking/cooling all your delicious sugary treats, make up the buttercream icing. Set aside just over half for the Cheeky Monkey cake. Add a teaspoon of cocoa at a time to the mixture until you get a light brown colour for the monkey's face. Simply use the back of a spoon to spread some of the icing over the cake and around the bottom side in what I like to call the 'podgy peanut' shape.

Add more cocoa a bit at a time to the remaining light brown icing until you get your desired 'monkey fur' colour, then slop it on the rest of the cake.

(You might need to add a teeny bit of water to stop it getting too thick).

And now it's time for the sultanas.

I opted for sultanas over piping on detail because it's easier, less messy (as anyone who's ever had to clean a piping can can attest!) and something the kids can help with.

Simply add sultanas one at a time around the edge of your podgy peanut. 

Make 2 small curved lines of sultanas for the nose and 1 large curved line for the mouth, then pop on 2 sultanas for eyes. (I picked large sultanas and flattened them so the eyes were nice and big).

And there you have a Cheeky Monkey birthday cake! :)

The fur detail is added when you make the cupcakes, so let's move on to them...

Once your cupcakes have cooled, halve the remaining buttercream icing and colour one half with a few drops of blue food colouring and the other half with a teaspoon or so of cocoa.

(Again, you may need to add a teeny bit of water so it doesn't get too thick). Spread 6 cupcakes with the blue icing for the Banana Tree cupcakes, and 6 with the brown for the Monkey cupcakes. 

To make the Banana Tree cupcakes, cut the Flakes in half with a sharp knife. (I froze my Flakes in the freezer beforehand so they wouldn't crumble as much). 

Now what you'll find is that one half the the Flake will come away cleanly - use that half for your tree trunk. The other half will most probably crumble. (It happened every time. I have no idea why...) Add the crumbled Flake bits to the Cheeky Monkey cake to make the fur detail. 

To add the leaves to your Banana Tree cupcakes, simply follow these steps:

1 - Face the first leaf to the right and apply directly to the icing.
2 - Put a bit of icing on the base of the second leaf with a knife.
3 - Place the second leaf on top of the first.
4 - Face the third leaf to the left and apply directly to the icing; add icing to the base of the fourth leaf.
5 - Place the fourth leaf on top of the third.
And you're done!

To make the Monkey cupcakes, stick 2 white chocolate melts into the sides of the cupcake for ears, and plop one of top for the nose.

Add on 2 sultanas for eyes and use a bit of icing to attach a sultana to the nose.

And it's as easy as that!

They do look a little like possessed teddy bears, but they're quick and perfect for a kid's party :)

And that's how you make the cake and matching cupcakes for a Cheeky Monkey themed birthday party!

I kept my receipts and did the math: It costs approximately $15 to make and decorate the Cheeky Monkey cake and cupcakes. 
Now that aint bad...

Let's move on to all the other bits and pieces.


You can find these customised Cheeky Monkey birthday invitations at my Etsy shop, or you can use my monkey colouring page for ideas to make your own :)

Party Food:
In keeping your food to the Cheeky Monkey theme as much as possible, try serving up Muesli BiscuitsChocolate Crackles and fruit salad (with plenty of banana, of course!)

Classic party games are a must - so why not put a bit of a Cheeky Monkey spin on them? Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, why not Pin the Tail on the Monkey? Again, you can use my monkey colouring page as a jumping-off point to create your own monkey picture with your kids for this game. And instead of the traditional Musical Statues, why not have the kids dance like monkeys until the music stops? Little changes like this will keep with the theme, and give the kids something new to try.

You can be as simplistic or exuberant as you like: how about a Monkey piƱata? Or Bobbing for Bananas? The options are as limitless as your imagination. Why not ask your kids if they've got any ideas?

Take-Home Lolly Bags:
Little monkeys can get peckish, so feed bags are always a good idea :P


I made this out of recycled brown paper, but any paper you have around the house will do just as well. Here's a template to make your own:

(Click to enlarge)

Simply fold the tabs and glue with a glue-stick. Use scissors to cut tasselled edges along the top of the bag and decorate with a black pen.

Fill the feed bags with remaining mint leaves, white chocolate melts, Flakes (if you haven't eaten them all!), and muesli biscuits. 

And now you're all set for your Cheeky Monkey party! :)

This is the longest post ever, but before I go I thought I should address something. You might be wondering why banana lollies were not featured in this post. Surely they'd be a simple and effective topper to a Cheeky Monkey cupcake?

You bet they would - but I don't like buying them. See, most lollies have gelatin in them, and banana lollies are no exception. Gelatin is derived from either pig skin or cattle bones (yep, even the ones in candies), and as a mad hippie I simply don't feel comfortable buying anything with gelatin in it. So banana lollies were a no-go for me and for my Cheeky Monkey theme. (Mint leaves are thankfully gelatine free). So be careful next time you're lolly shopping and keep a look out for products that are gelatin free :)

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