Chunky Monkey Cupcakes and My First Cake

Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing and a look back at my very first cake.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Cupcakes to Cake

You guys know I am all about the cupcakes. Every week you guys watch me pull flavors together into bite-sized mouthfuls of joy and call them cupcakes. And being MsCupcakeasaurus, why wouldn’t I be?

Something you may not know is that I have been caking for almost eight years. By caking, I don’t just mean whipping a mix together and slathering icing over it.

The Art of Caking

Caking involves idea preparation by gathering source materials and analyzing size and shape to determine the best fit for the cake being prepared. It means drawing up plans and sketches and paying attention to all the little details. It means sculpting the cake like a statue emerging from marble. Caking is art after all.

 

Free Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

Over the years, I have not always taken pictures or written step by step tutorials or documented every step of the journey along the way. I make cakes because I enjoy caking. I enjoy bringing the food to art and the art to food.

Flavor combinations are my chemistry experiments and dimensional cakes are my masterpieces. I love playing with new techniques, new materials or ingredients. One of the reasons I enjoy caking so much is that it feels like an art form that I can continuously learn from. That, and they taste good.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

 Today, I will be sharing with you my very first ever caking endeavor.

You may have noticed that I have been caking for as long as I have been a mom. The very first cake I really put my heart and soul into was for Little Cakeasaurus Rex’s first birthday. When he isn’t busy being a dinosaur, he is busy being a monkey. We lovingly nicknamed him Monkey since he was a baby.

As any over zealous mom would be, I created a theme of monkeys and immediately started developing ideas for his main cake and his smash cake. He had blow-up monkeys to toss around, monkey plates and napkins and of course a monkey cake. He had a cake for his guests and he had a personal smash cake.

The Smash Cake

Every little kid needs a smash cake for their first birthday. It is the tradition! I love smash cakes for the little ones. That first birthday is all about seeing their little eyes bulge out of their heads with sugar. There is nothing like taking that first fistful of delicious cake.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

For the smash cake, I decided to go with a German chocolate cake and have the coconut frosting serve as the textured monkey fur. Admittedly, my skills at the time were limited and the monkey face looked more like a bear but Little Cakeasaurus Rex loved it. He had no problem figuring out what to do with his smash cake. Hands in the cake and then straight to the mouth.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Little Chunky Monkey

I love watching little ones feed themselves at this age because they still fist their food and are practically licking their palms. Too cute!

I’ll remember next time that monkey ears should be more on the side of the face rather than on the top. Also, don’t mind the little yellow hair tuft I tried to create. Monkeys can be blonde too, right?

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

 

The Guest Cake

The cake for the guests was a large vanilla sheet cake with a large mound of banana cake on top. I was so inexperienced and had no clue what I was doing. I went totally overboard on measuring out how much cake I would need for a one-year-old’s birthday party. In true First Time Mom fashion, I made enough to feed everyone at the party, the park and halfway down the street.

To give you an idea, I had no clue how to even carry this large of a cake to a park two blocks from the house. I purchased a huge white plastic cutting board and that became my caking station. I still use this cutting board as my preferred surface for rolling fondant or cutting out biscuits.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

In all honesty, I baked two 9×12 inch cakes for the base. I slid them together and covered them with icing. If you are counting, that is a total of four standard cakes for one party. This was the first time I would bake that much cake for one party but it definitely wasn’t  the last.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

If you are wondering, it is no secret how I made the dome-shaped cake. I didn’t have a pan that shape that is for sure. I actually used a stainless steel mixing bowl and baked it right in the oven.

Obviously, be careful when using alternative baking pans but, the bowl worked out great and I still use it for other caking endeavors. I will remind you to take a good look at the shape of the bowl though. If you are wanting a hill shape like I was, you will want a shallower bowl to create a soft mound. However, I have also used a much deeper mixing bowl to create the Drunken Carolina Cake so that I had enough space for good sized cake layers.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

Monkey Time

The idea I was wanting to create was a mischievous monkey sitting atop a huge pile of bananas. The pile of bananas had to be made of banana cake of course. The banana cake wasn’t going to be enough though.

Nothing quite looks like a pile of bananas than a pile of bananas. After icing, I also completely covered the mound in Banana Rama candy pieces I purchased from a local candy shop.

Heap of Bananas birthday cakeOriginally, all the bananas were going to be yellow bananas but this is a very mischievous monkey and he needed some colored bananas too. The monkey was a purple monkey bath toy so it was super safe for the kiddo to enjoy long after his party was over.  A funky colored monkey totally deserves a pile of funky colored bananas.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

To add a bit more decoration without going overboard any further, I added Piroulines around the outside edge of the sheet cake which provided great bamboo. A few green leaves and blades of grass with green icing and I had my masterpiece.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

Can you tell I was proud of myself? I made a little card label with a silly monkey sticker for good measure. I am so proud that this was my first caking adventure. It brings back wonderful memories of my little one’s first birthday and it was the start of a wonderful adventure I still pursue today.

Still A Monkey

The kiddo still embraces his monkey side by collecting cute monkeys we find on our adventures. Currently, we have one from Cape Canaveral and Tampa Zoo.  Just a few weeks ago, I offered my little monkey a special treat.

I treated LCR to Chunky Monkey Cupcakes!

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

These moist banana cupcakes remind me very much of that original banana cake but in smaller cupcake form.  Top that off with a peanut butter cream cheese icing and you will be making all the monkeys smile.

Even walking down memory lane, I couldn’t leave you hanging without a scrumptious cupcake recipe to keep you satisfied.

You have now seen where the caking magic started. Tell me about your baking start. Do you remember your first real baking endeavor as an adult? I clarified that sentence because I was baking and cooking tons growing up. This one just sticks out in my mind as the first cake I researched and planned and put my heart and love into making.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Do you have that one dish or cake that sparked your love for it? I’d love to hear all about it or better yet, see it.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Banana Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Banana Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat bananas, eggs and sugar on medium high speed until forming a thick mash.
  3. Add vegetable oil to the banana mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Using a spatula, fold in vanilla extract. Spoon batter into cupcake tim filling cups 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Toothpick will come out clean when cupcakes are done. Cool on a cooling rack before icing.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat softened cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add in half a cup of peanut butter and mix on medium speed until well bleneded.
  3. Add powdered sugar to cream cheese mixture a cup at a time mixing thoroughly between each addition.
  4. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  5. *Taste it. Your icing can be more sweet or nutty depending on how much sugar or peanutbutter you add. I prefer a light and sweet flavor so I stuck with 2 cups powdered sugar and a 1/2 cup of peanutbutter. If you want a thicker peanut butter flavor, just add more peanut butter.*
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Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes with Date Syrup

A gluten free, flour free, sugar free, egg free and yet still remarkably delicious Black Bean Chocolate cupcake with Date Syrup to satisfy all of those New Year diet resolutions.

Happy Friday Guys!

It is a new year and there are so many new things going on! I had planned to start this year with resolution friendly recipes for all of us trying to lose weight in the new year.

Flax Egg?

I was looking at all sorts of vegan recipes that called for butter substitutes and flour substitutes and something called a Flax egg. I’ve used Flax seed before but never did that seed turn into an egg. Anyway, needless to say, I did not feel those particular recipes did us any favors for the flavors we want to be enjoying in the new year.

 

When I worked in retail years ago, I had a coworker that was on Weight Watchers. She would always bring in cakes with substitutions like black beans or applesauce. Those were some delicious cakes. Don’t knock it until you try it. In my efforts to provide you with health friendly options AND not lose any taste, I whipped up these delectable little morsels. They are super fudgey chocolatey bites and the perfect size in mini muffin form.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

New Year, Clean Slate

Another one of my resolutions is to get this house clean! Captain and I started working on the kitchen, cleaning out all those plates, pots and pans that haven’t been used int he last six months. This Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake is also clean house friendly. More specifically, it is dishes friendly. Everything is mixed up right in the blender so you don’t have to worry about pulling out the Kitchenaid for this one.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date SyrupWhen I moved down, I didn’t bring my blender because it had quit working properly and Captain and I had almost double of everything else. Well, on our little kitchen cleaning crusade, I got to meet his blender. I’m pretty sure it is from the seventies. I don’t mean the older eighties model that had a row of buttons with one orange one that you pressed for different speeds. No, I mean, further back than that. This thing has two knobs. One knob is labeled with low, off, and high in that order. The second knob is a timer for blending up to sixty seconds.

Is this thing going to blow?

I’m surprised something didn’t blow up when I was blending my black beans. It made a really loud noise and I still had to remove the top and spatula dance around the blades to make sure everything was mixed. But alas, all black bean chunks were well blended with no black bean pieces remaining.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

In the blender, which I hope yours is younger than you are (I don’t think I can say the same), mix up your black bean mixture with the black beans and peanut butter first. Then add in the banana, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla. Just keep blending, just keep blending… Occasionally, while the blender is off, you may want to scrape down the sides and around the blades to make sure everything gets mixed in well.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

The batter is super thick and you’ll want to make sure you smooth out the tops before sticking them in the oven. The cupcakes don’t change shape so if they go in with funny looking peaks, they come out with stiff funny looking peaks. It definitely makes drizzling the date syrup over them interesting.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

Are you still having doubts?

Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex tried one and said, “There’s caramel and peanut butter…. and Twix.” The salty chocolate cupcake with the sweet date syrup does create an almost candy bar effect in your mouth. Chewy, chocolatey, salty, sweet, what more could you ask for?

 

This Black Bean Chocolate cupcake proves that we don’t need sugar to make life taste sweeter. Apparently, we don’t need flour, milk or eggs either. I’ll still stay away from the Flax eggs but I hope you enjoy the chocolate goodness of these Black Bean Chocolate cupcakes.

Let me know what you think of these sweet chewy morsels in the comments. Are you starting a new diet or just looking for something different? I would love to know what you think.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date syrup
Print Recipe
Rich fudge like chocolate cupcakes with a sweet date syrup drizzle. No eggs, butter, milk or flour are used in this recipe.
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date syrup
Print Recipe
Rich fudge like chocolate cupcakes with a sweet date syrup drizzle. No eggs, butter, milk or flour are used in this recipe.
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes
Date syrup
Servings: mini cupcakes
Instructions
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a blender, blend black beans and peanut butter until smooth and there are no black bean chunks. Add in banana and blend.
  3. Add in cocoa powder, honey, baking powder and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. While blender is off, scrape down the sides and edges with spatula to make sure everything is well mixed.
  4. Put about a tablespoon of batter in a lined mini muffin tin. The batter is thick and cupcakes will maintain same shape throughout baking. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean though the cupcakes are very fudgey.
Date Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan heat on high the dates and water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add honey and maple syrup and stir constantly. Continue to stir as the syrup thickens and keep the dates from sticking to the bottom.
  3. Reduce heat to low and let the syrup simmer and thicken. Spoon syrup over Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes and enjoy.
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