Monkey Business with Coconut Chocolate Ganache

Monkey Business with Coconut Chocolate Ganache

I ain´t seen the sun since I don´t know when /The freaks come out at nine/And it´s twenty to ten/What´s this funk/That you call junk/To me it´s just monkey business – Skid Row

Monkey Business is an unexpected offspring of the mother of all invention: Necessity. It has two of my most favourite ingredients: peanuts (in the butter form) and coconut (in the canned-coconut-milk-but-it’s-almost-like-single-cream form). I wanted something with both ingredients and this was the result. The coconut is low key and in the background, kinda like a rhythm section of a band. You don’t necessarily consciously notice it but you still end up moving in time to it. It’s the peanut butter that’s the real star and steals the show, kinda like a lead singer, complete with the swagger.

In terms of the peanut butter, this is the place where the slightly oilier and cheaper peanut butter is the best. This isn’t the place for the healthier, less oily, peanut butters – the consistency of the batter will be too dry and the result will be disappointing (I learnt this lesson the hard way!)

These cakes have a real fragile consistency once baked, helped in part by the use of canned coconut milk. They get a little less fragile the next day. So be warned: eaten straight away they’ll crumble, so having a plate at hand to catch the crumbs is recommended. The cornflour gives them an almost crunchy top (though once ganache-d the crunch diminishes).

Finally, you will see from the pictures, that in terms of ganache I prefer a less-is-more approach. Generally speaking I’m not a fan of overly decorated cupcakes. However if your preference is for more-is-more then consider increasing the quantities given for the ganache.

Monkey Business with Coconut Chocolate Ganache
Makes 12 cupcakes
Suggested listening: Skid Row: Monkey Business (Slave to the Grind)


1/2 C non-dairy milk (I used coconut, but whatever you prefer)
1/4 C canned coconut milk (with the consistency of single cream)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C oil
1/3 C peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, budget is best)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 C + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and prep the cupcake tin.

2. In a large bowl combine the milk, cream, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for at least 5 minutes so that it curdles (curdling = a good thing).

3. In a separate bowl measure out the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.

4. Add to the milk mixture the sugar, oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla essence. Whisk to combine, I like to whisk for a good minute or two to help dissolve the sugar.

5. Sift the dry ingredients into the combined wet ingredients. Fold to combine, checking the consistency of the batter, if it is looking too dry add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time. The batter should be like thickish double cream. It is important to not over-mix the batter as over-mixing = unsexy cupcakes. I don’t do unsexy, you don’t need to do it either. Long live the sexy in food.

6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin so that each liner is about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on oven).

7. Once cooked, let the cakes cool in the tin for five minutes. Then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Once cooled, top with Coconut-Chocolate Ganache

Coconut-Chocolate Ganache
Covers 12 cupcakes


40g dark chocolate, broken in pieces like a single heart on Valentines’ Day
1 ½ T canned coconut milk
1 T maple syrup


1. In a bain marie over medium heat melt all the ingredients, stirring constantly. I personally remove it from the heat just before the chocolate is completely melted and continue to stir so that it finishes melting off the heat.

2. Spoon a teaspoonful of the mixture (as in the kind of teaspoon you use to make a cuppa tea) over each cooled cake and spread over the top in a loving way. It will set once it cools.