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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chocolate-Banana Monkey Cupcakes

When my little man turned one, we had a monkey-themed party for him.  I wasted a whole bunch of time online trying to find the cutest and yummiest monkey cupcakes.  Anyway, these cupcakes were the final result of my efforts.  I was happy with how they turned out and the hubs and I had lots of fun assembling the monkeys.   Naturally, monkey cupcakes should be banana-flavored, right?  So, I searched for the perfect recipe.  This was it.  I loved how moist the banana made the chocolate cupcakes, and like banana bread, these cupcakes were even better the next day--which is perfect if you're throwing a monkey party and want to do a few things in advance.  I ended up making half of the cupcakes Chocolate-Banana and the other half plain banana with the leftover batter from the monkey smash cake.  They were almost too cute to eat! 

Chocolate-Banana Monkey Cupcakes
*Makes 12 cupcakes

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
½ cup ripe, mashed banana (about 1 medium)
½ cup warm water
¼ cup milk
¼ cup oil
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with baking liners.  

In a large mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients (first 6 listed) together.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together (next 6).  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  The batter will be quite runny.  Fill baking liners ¾ of the way full.  (I like to dump the prepared batter into a pitcher to fill the muffin cups so I don’t make a drippy mess everywhere.)  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool before frosting.  

Recipe Source:  Joy of Baking

Chocolate (or brown-colored) frosting.  I frosted some with chocolate cream cheese frosting and some with chocolate buttercream frosting.  

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Recipe Source: Savory Sweet Life

For the Monkey Face:
Nilla Wafers
Nutter Butter Bites or Mini Nilla Wafers or Mini Ritz crackers
Mini Marshmallows
Mini M&Ms--the red and yellow ones make creepy-looking monkeys!
Chocolate Sprinkles
Extra chocolate frosting in a piping bag to draw nose and mouth

Monkey face inspiration: Pinterest,  ketchupface 

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