The Birthday Cake That Wasn’t [monkey bread]

I spent an eventful couple of days at my parents’ house in Pennsylvania this past weekend.  I got to enjoy my first baseball game of the season, some quality time with old friends, and I had to say Happy Easter/Happy Birthday/Goodbye to Brother Bear.

A week or two ago he flew out to California and landed a killer job with ngmoco:) (yes, the emoticon is an integral part of the name), a company that makes games for iPhones.   Fast forward to Sunday and it was his last day on the East Coast.  Proud sister that I am, I offered to cook him his birthday meal/the last supper.

His dinner wish?  Pepperoni Gravv, a worthy choice.  For dessert, he proceeded to rip my foodie-wannabe heart out when he asked for, “that cake with the sprinkles in it.”  Yes, that’s right, brother bear wanted Funfetti!

Sous Chef Lauren wondered if there was a smitten kitchen version out there, perhaps a recipe for homemade sprinkles that I could work into a yellow cake?  Rather than find out the answer to that question, I handed the task of cake-making over to mom, and found something else to make, something I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time.

I met monkey bread in college.  I had a friend with one of those moms who came to check up on you and left you with enough food to last until her next visit.  When her mom brought monkey bread, you could bet I would be living in her room until it was gone.

I had tried Paula’s Gorilla Bread before, and although the taste gave me exactly what I was looking for, the recipe didn’t come together in the end.  It’s high on my list of dishes to try again, but with a 10:15 a.m. departure time, it was not going to be today.  That ruled out Deb’s completely homemade (of course) version as well.

That brought me to Pastor Ryan’s recipe (which, in a shocking turn of events, uses more butter than The Lady’s).  Fifteen minutes and two sticks of melted butter later, this dish was in the oven.  I’m not sure I have the words to describe how wonderful it is to pull apart balls of dough that have been rolled in cinnamon sugar and drenched in melted butter.  I think that’s a process that speaks for itself.

If you haven’t tried making monkey bread yet, now is the time.  This would be a fun one to make with kids, too.  Lots of opportunities for little hands to get involved.

You will need:

  • 3 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky kind)
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 3 t cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter
  • ½ C brown sugar (light or dark)

*You will also need a plastic bag, and some sort of Bundt pan

Thwomp open the biscuit cans, and cut each biscuit into fourths.  Place the sugar and cinnamon in a gallon-size plastic bag, and mix evenly.  Add the biscuit quarters, and give everything a good shake until the dough is coated in cinnamon-y goodness.  You might have to do a little work to make sure the biscuits don’t stick together.  You want every square millimeter of dough coated.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar until combined.  Place the dough balls into a Bundt pan of your choice, pour the butter mixture overtop, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.  This is a great time to keep a cookie sheet under the pan, just in case some of the butter mixture bubbles over.

You have to let this cool for about 20-30 minutes before you invert it on a serving plate and start picking off the little dough balls.  Good luck!

5 thoughts on “The Birthday Cake That Wasn’t [monkey bread]

  1. Woah with the change of the design.
    I cannot believe you went all the way into college age without having had monkey bread! Thanks for reminding me of this classic yummy treat. Have you ever tried it with icing? It’s like cinnamon buns, but way better.

  2. Pingback: Sugar Rush « a glass of milk

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