When my sister told me that her daughter, who turned three last week, had requested three cakes for her birthday party, I immediately volunteered to bake one of them. I adore my niece and nephew and have had a blast getting to know them better since moving back from London, but I still see them rarely enough that any opportunity to impress them is worth jumping on. It only got better when my sister told me the only other request my niece had made: that the party be 'a monkey party'.
I remembered a cake I'd seen on Smitten Kitchen, years back, a monkey face that looked surprisingly easy to put together. A quick google confirmed my suspicions that this was something I could definitely handle, and I spent the rest of the day at work printing recipes, doubling and tripling ingredient lists, and blocking off the day before the party in my phone calendar. I was going to go all out this time.