food music

Monkey business

Hard to believe it’s been a whole year since this little guy first joined us. Especially when I think back to the teeny tiny fragile little bundle who arrived so early – compared to one-year-old Louis, who seems fatter each time I see him. His teeth are coming through at the moment, so his smile looks a little different every few days. It’s a smile that gets a lot of use. This kid knows how to work a crowd. It was pretty tough trying to squeeze in a birthday cuddle with him today, all his doting grandparents and aunties and uncles did not want to give him up!

If I knew any other babies to buy presents for, I would totally rip off the amazing book Louis’ auntie Carol found for him: M is for Metal. It’s an alphabet book of Dr Seussian rhymes, with the common theme of hairy hard rock. From Akka Dakka to Zeppelin, via Gene’s tongue and groupies, this book is genius. And it’s Aussie! Created by music writer Barry Divola and artist Paul McNeil, you can have a sneak peek flip-through here. My favourite was:

S is for Stones
That just keep on rolling
Most of their fans
Have now switched to
Lawn bowling

Anyway, being unemployed I had little money for presents but lots of time on my hands, so I made the birthday cake. Regular readers will know of my obsession with kids’ birthday cakes of the old Women’s Weekly stable, but believe it or not they’ve never done a monkey (Louis’ spirit animal).

Luckily all my time spent procrastinating on recipe blogs paid off and I remembered Smitten Kitchen’s monkey cake. Deb made a delicious two-layer banana cake with chocolate and buttercream frosting. I didn’t really tweak the recipe, except to use half a cup less sugar in the cake and to add some gratuitous smarties. As my friend Reboot wisely said, “Smarties are a must for any one-year-old’s cake! Just because they might choke on them doesn’t mean we can’t pick them off and eat them! Also don’t be afraid to cover it with 30-something candles – always a good challenge for the blower regardless of age!”

Meanwhile I have a whole book of Party Animals, cakes decorated like various adorable wildlife, and there are at least six I am dying to try. Starting with the ice-cream cake echidna, with TeeVee Snack spines and a coat of Ice-Magic. So if you know of any little kids with birthdays coming up, or even big kids, who might be up for some novelty cake action: holla!