Sunday 31 January 2016

3D Monkey Milo Chiffon Cupcakes

I was making a batch of 3D horse cupcakes for a party but decided to bake a couple of monkeys along with them because we are about to usher in the year of the Monkey!

Sitting snugly in cupcake cases :)

I couldn't have made more monkeys as 30 cupcakes were requested for the horse cupcakes. Unlike conventional cupcakes where you can churn out hundreds quickly, 3D chiffon cupcakes without fondant or cream have to be carved and assembled painstakingly and patiently. Nonetheless, I had fun making these simple monkeys :).

Just to share the recipe if more monkeys are made..

Ingredients (makes about 10-12 monkeys):
Milo chiffon cake (20-24 egg shells + 7x7" layer cake)
3 egg yolks
10g caster sugar
42g vegetable/canola oil
42g hot water
30g Milo powder
50g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda (cocoa powder in Milo is not Dutch processed so this ingredient is necessary)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
45g caster sugar

Light brown layer cake for body parts (one 10x10" tray)
1 egg yolk
8g caster sugar
21g vegetable oil
21g water/milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/10 tsp Dutch processed cocoa powder (or cocoa powder and a pinch of baking soda)
30g cake flour
A pinch of salt

2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
20g caster sugar

1. Prepare egg shells in advance for the monkey heads and bodies. Create a hole at the pointy end for the body and a hole in the middle of the flatter sides of the shell for the heads. Empty the egg shells and wash thoroughly, removing the inner membrane carefully. Air dry thoroughly before use.

2. Dissolve Milo in hot water. Set aside to cool. Prepare a tray of water at base of oven (optional but your cake will be more soft and moist). Line baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160°C. Set oven rack to second lowest position.

3. Steps for making chiffon is the same so I won't repeat for both colours. Briefly, prepare the egg yolk batter, prepare the meringue, fold the meringue into egg yolk batter in three additions quickly but gently. Carefully spoon the batter into the egg shells until 1/2-2/3 full or pour into baking trays. Tap trays on table to release trapped air bubbles. Bake and unmould eggshells when cool (gently please to avoid tearing the cakes), remove layer cakes immediately and cool with baking sheet over it.

Egg yolk batter
Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil gradually and whisk until well combined. Add water/Milo and vanilla extract, whisk until well combined. Gradually add in sifted cake flour, and salt (and cocoa powder for light brown/ baking soda for dark brown). Whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until firm/stiff peaks form, adding sugar in gradually when the egg whites are reaching soft peak stage.

Baking time
Egg shells: 160°C for 9-10 minutes followed by 135°C for 12-15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
Layer cakes: 160°C for 9-10 minutes.
Note that baking time may vary as each oven is different.

I apologise for the lack of photos as I was rushing to complete. Remember I had 30 other cupcakes to make at the same time :p.

1. Place the body in a cupcake case and attach the head by using a cakepop stick.

2. Cut out strips for the arms from layer cake and attach on using melted marshmellow with a sprinkle of water. You may do mini swiss rolls for the arms if you prefer but I was going for a quick and simple design that still looks good enough.

3. Use a combination of round cookie cutters and a knife to carve out the face and ears.

4. Dissolve Dutch processed cocoa powder in a bit of hot water to make a paste. Paint on the facial features using toothpick.

5. Stick the various parts on using marshmellow glue. You may want to reinforce the connection between ears and head with short segments of toothpicks (or uncooked sphagetti if you are afraid of accidental ingestion). Add on pink bow for the girl and bits of hair for the boy if you wish :).

6. Brush the surface of the cupcakes with vanilla flavoured syrup (Dissolve 10g white sugar in 25ml hot water. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract). Store in airtight container in the fridge up to a few days.

My kids got to eat the monkeys :). They had much fun eating them part by part and both of them loved the soft, moist chiffon that is full of Milo goodness! The kids and teachers at the party that I baked for loved the cupcakes that I made too because it's really yummy, with some kids asking for second helpings.

Have a blessed year of the Monkey ahead!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing