For my son’s first birthday, I wanted something really special. After looking at literally, thousands of cake pictures online, this is what I came up with.

It was a jungle themed 1st birthday cake with a monkey as the main “character”. For his “smash” cake, I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for a monkey cake as a guideline. I constructed the cake per her instructions but as for the cake itself, I just kind of did my own thing. I hated to do it, but since I was so short on time, I used a boxed pound cake mix (I wanted something sturdy) and store-bought chocolate icing for the dark part of the monkey. The lighter colored icing that I used for the monkey’s mouth and ears is just white buttercream with enough chocolate mixed in to reach the desired color.

For the monkey’s hair, I dyed coconut to a dark brown and arranged on top. The eyes are M&Ms and the mouth and nose are made out of black licorice. I garnished the cake with dyed green coconut and banana Runts. The “main” cake was three tiers. Each tier was a different flavor: devil’s food cake with chocolate filling, white cake with vanilla filling and banana cake with peanut butter/cream cheese filling (so yummy!).

To add extra height to the cake, I torted the layers. I highly recommend torting… not only does it add height but it ensures a very moist cake. The cake was assembled using Wilton’s guidelines for stacking a cake (had never done this before and was a little intimidated but it was actually very easy).

I frosted the cake with Wilton’s ready-to-use white buttercream icing and sprayed with color mist. The animals and leaves on the cake are fondant. The monkey on top of the cake, I made out of fondant as well. For his hat, I used a candy mold with Wilton’s candy melts.

The homemade jungle themed 1st birthday cake was garnished with dyed green coconut and banana Runts. This was my very first large cake and overall, I was very pleased with the way it came out and can’t wait to make another one.