My mechanic's daughter has just turned 10. It's not every day that you enter the Double Digits for the first time, and I think that calls for a special cake, don't you?

I asked him to give me some details about his daughter... her hobbies, favorite things, stuff like that. I don't know him very well and had never met his daughter. The only criteria he gave me was that the cake and icing should be chocolate, she likes cartoon monkeys as the main theme of the cake, and if he had to choose between describing her as a girly-girl or a tomboy, he'd lean towards tomboy. He told me she'd be happy with a sheet cake, but I wanted to flex a little cake muscle and, um, sort of pressured him into accepting a 3D monkey. He was nice about it, though.  :^)

Doing sculptures usually means doing some research on the subject matter, in order to get a feel for the item being sculpted. Well......  confession time here: monkeys creep me out. Seriously. So, it goes without saying that I only did my internet searches for "monkey" pictures a few minutes at a time over a few days. Once I found the pictures I planned to use for references, I printed them out and gave myself permission not to look at monkeys for a while.


The cake is basic chocolate fudge pound cake, with chocolate buttercream and modeling chocolate to cover it. I used about a pound and a half of white and milk chocolate for the covering. I don't eat much cake any more, but all that chocolate looked so good to me that I indulged in a few bites of the trimmings once the cake was finished. YUM! I started out with two 3" tall 8" rounds, and the Wilton sports ball pan. The cake removed from the tummy area became the legs. The sports ball cake (not pictured) was carved down to about a 5" round. Once everything was crumb coated, I gave it time to settle before beginning the covering.

The first modeling chocolate has gone on, and now I think it looks a little like an Ewok. Oh well. That will change in a few minutes. The seams on the soles of the feet will be covered with shoes before too long, so I'm not worried about them.

I have added a little height to the neck area when I added the neck and head supports (you remember to internally support your sculptures, riiiiight?), and the head was put in place and through-doweled for stability during transport. The pants part of the monkey's overalls were put on first, then the t-shirt, overalls bib, and straps went on after that.

Here's a view of the monkey showing the tail hole in the back of the overalls.

The monkey got her preliminary face, but it wasn't quite "monkey" enough, so I redid it. The arms were covered before I applied the t-shirt ribbing. Tennis shoes spare me from having to make monkey feet (see paragraph #3), plus I think they're cute on her. I left one shoelace untied just because I like doing that.

Monkey See!

If you found this article helpful, please support me and the website by buying my cake sculpture DVD.


Here's another back view. You can see the shoes and the tail. I'm almost done!

Here she is! A flower in her hair helps give her a girly look (to represent the days when the tomboy doesn't want to be a tomboy!). At this point I deviated a wee small bit from the all-chocolate theme of the cake. The banana is fondant, as well as the big pink flowers and the banner. I figured I'd be forgiven a few fondant accents, with so much other chocolate for everyone to eat. A little painting is done on the banana, and the overalls are brushed with blue petal dust to subtly shade the denim. The buttons on the straps have been painted silver, and the banner is piped with a birthday wish. All the final details are now in place and nothing remains but for the monkey to make her appearance at the party.

A forty-minute drive later, and I'm ringing the Birthday Girl's doorbell. As I brought the cake into the kitchen and set it on the table, I heard her say softly as she looked into the box: "Aaaawesome." THAT is why I do cake.