How to make Monkey Cupcakes

Making Cute Cupcakes with Zero Baking Skills

Even if you have no baking skills at all, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make cute monkey cupcakes for your next celebration!


For the Cupcakes:

  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Bananas
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • Paper Baking Cups
  • 2 12-muffin baking tins

For the Frosting:

Buy one can of Chocolate frosting


  • One stick butter
  • One Can Evaporated Milk
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Powdered/Confectioners Sugar
  • Hand Mixer

For the Decorations:

  • Box Chocolate Cheerios
  • Small Tube of Pink Decorating Frosting
  • Small Tube of White Decorating Frosting
  • Bag Mini M&M's
  • Container of Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Box Nerds

Adapting Boxed Cake Mix

Using a boxed cake mix eliminates the need for baking skills. You can simply follow the packaging instructions, or you can customize the cake mix to meet your cupcaking needs. The rule is, add one extra egg to the batter to give cupcakes a firmer texture, and exchange the required water for 3/4 cup of buttermilk. Otherwise, follow the directions on the box.

To make the cupcakes into banana-flavored cupcakes, simply add 3 pureed bananas to the batter when it is in the liquid stage, before the mix has been added.

Pouring the mixed batter into the cupcake liners can be tricky. You can just use a ladle and a bowl. Another technique is to put the batter into a large Ziploc-style storage bag and cut off a corner, squeezing the batter into the liners in large spirals. Only fill the liners about 60-70%, as the batter will rise when you bake. You'll bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and the cake mix.

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

Canned frosting will be more adaptable for decorating; however, I prefer the flavor of homemade.  I personally dislike that trademark synthetic flavor of the processed hydrogenated oils.  I figure I'll take my chances with buttercream!

Here is a delicious basic chocolate frosting recipe:


  • 2 and 3/4 Cups powdered or confectioners' sugar
  • 6 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 5 TBSP evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS: Leave the butter out for about 30 minutes to soften.  Sift together cocoa and powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Beat the butter until it's smooth, and add in small amounts of evaporated milk alternately with small amounts of cocoa-sugar until totally combined.  Refrigerate.


  • After waiting until the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them using a small butter or palette knife. Use more than you think you need in order to create enough "glue" for your decorations.
  • While the frosting is still malleable, roll one edge into the container of sprinkles for "hair."
  • Using the pink tube of frosting, squirt a small amount onto the bottom-center of the cupcake in the shape of a circle to make the monkey's muzzle.
  • Using the white tube of frosting, squirt two smaller half-circles onto the top of the pink muzzle to make eyes.
  • Using either your fingers or a pair of tweezers, drop two same-colored mini M&M's onto the white semi-circles as eye irises.
  • Using the white tube of frosting, squirt and lift a very small amount onto the left edges of the mini-M&M's for light in the eyes.
  • Choose two elongated purple Nerds candies for nostrils, and drop them onto the top of the muzzle with fingers or tweezers.
  • Choose two long chocolate sprinkles to drop above the Mini-M&M's for eyebrows. Tilt them upward in the middle.
  • Choose three matching Chocolate Cheerios for ears and a mouth. Drop them on using fingers or tweezers.


The majority of this creation, aside from the frosting, is adapted from Hello Cupcake, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I created the monkey decoration based on their "Under the Bigtop" monkey cupcake style, and I adjusted their banana chocolate cake recipe to make it a yellow cake recipe, adding buttermilk and subtracting oil. This is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it!

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