As a general rule of thumb, I’m not to be trusted in the kitchen. However, I’m slightly better with the oven. I sporadically bake cake and cookies and the like (you can count on it around my birthday), and it usually turns out kind of tasty. In “Spasmodic Baking”, I share recipes I’ve done.
Due to my ties with food science and thus, baking (thanks Science Olympiad!), I try to keep my skills reasonably sharp. Thus, it’s become a tradition for me to bake something for my birthday. Around a month before my birthday happens, I keep an eye out for recipes.
This year, I saw a tweet from Food Network for a monkey bread recipe. The description sounded too delectable not to try, and it was nowhere near complicated. I was able to create this sugar-cakeish-thing in about 1.5 hours the day before my birthday.
Monkey bread is called so because it is made of small morsels which can be pulled off with your fingers. This one is coated in cinnasugar (cinnamon and sugar) and boils down some caramel too after baking. The point is to be very sweet (not overwhelming, of course), so if in doubt, lean on the more sugary side.
This was very quick and easy to make; I did it as ungracefully as a non-baker can, but if you’re cooler than me, you don’t have to resort to microwaves and the like. If you’re especially talented with the oven and have more time than I do, you may be able to create your own dough instead of getting canned stuff.
What you need:
- 2 16oz cans of biscuit dough (I used buttermilk; if they’re out of the regular kind, honey is fine)
- a generous 1.5 sticks of unsalted butter (12 tbsp)
- a generous 2 cups of sugar
- a generous 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
- a 10-inch Bundt pan (I don’t own one, but I was able to borrow one. One of your acquaintances probably has one if you don’t)
The oven goes at 350 degrees. Preheat it whenever you feel moved to do so; every time I’ve baked in my life, I never started the oven when a recipe directs me to, since I’m slower at prepping than the recipe expects. The rack can just be in the middle-ish of the oven.
- Melt the butter in a medium-size bowl, using a microwave. Some tips: go slowly, use low heat settings and plenty of patience.
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon thoroughly in another bowl.
- Coat the inside of the pan with a thin layer of melted butter.
- Pop open the biscuit dough and separate the biscuits. Cut each into quarters. Now you have all the little pieces that will constitute the cake.
- Coat each biscuit piece in melted butter, and then in sugar. I kept one hand in each bowl to minimize mess-making. As you finish coating each piece, add it to the Bundt pan. You don’t have to pack them in, but press them snugly into the crevices.
- When you’re done, the dough will fill around 3/4 of the pan. Cover it with foil and pop it into the oven for 35 minutes.
- Take it out and uncover the pan, and put it back in for 15 minutes more. When it’s done, loosen the cake and flip it out on to a plate.
It was a big hit. The friends I shared it with were quickly excited about the idea of eating it and immediately started making up jokes about the ‘monkey’ part of the name. It disappeared quickly and somebody even called it “dangerous[ly tasty]”. For something so simple, it wasn’t bad. I usually don’t reuse recipes, due to me always wanting to try a new recipe (the infinite amount of them out there!) but if I ever decide to repeat something, I definitely will do this one again.