Lake Forest Mom Creates Commemorative Cake

To celebrate its 7th anniversary, the Hungry Monkey Baking Company introduces new Cinnamon Apple Streusel Cake at Sunset Foods.

From Hungry Monkey: It took Hungry Monkey’s founder and Lake Forest resident, Cindy Kienzle, 30 years to start her baking company. Almost everything good in her life came late – she married her husband Tom, at 47, had a baby just days before her 49th birthday and started Hungry Monkey at 51. The “Hungry Monkey” name was inspired by her now 9 year old daughter, Lily. Unable to say more than a few words until she was nearly 4 years old, Lily, busy like a monkey, would sign “more” for her mom’s signature Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Known for their small batch, big flavor tea cakes & breads, they decided to commemorate their 7th anniversary by creating a new cake, a Cinnamon Apple Streusel Cake, chocked full of chunks of apples tossed in cinnamon sugar and folded into a rich cream cheese and butter vanilla batter. “It’s the perfect addition to our product line,” Kienzle said, adding “we use a fruit or vegetable in every cake we make!” Kienzle’s Cinnamon Apple Streusel cake is debuting exclusively at all five Sunset Foods this Wednesday, August 29th. It’ll taste even sweeter since it’s on sale for $4.99 ($1.00 off through September 5th).

Brooke Edwards, Bakery Director for Sunset Foods, said “Hungry Monkey’s Cinnamon Streusel Apple Cake is a delightfully tender cake packed with apples, and topped with sweet, crumbly cinnamon streusel. Perfect for the fall and holiday season.”

In 1987 Kienzle created a chocolate chip banana bread that everyone loved, but since she had a secure marketing career, she kept dreaming…”someday.” The Hungry Monkey Baking Company started in 2010, almost by accident. Another Lake Forest Mom encouraged her to bake her banana bread for the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff LDA’s Spring Marche; it sold out both days and people didn’t stop calling to order. Their sweets became an instant hit; three months later Sunset Foods asked to carry her cakes. A month later, ABC 7’s The Hungry Hound featured Hungry Monkey in their weekly news segment. This, along with other local press, catapulted Hungry Monkey to the next level. A month later, The Hungry Monkey Baking Company, LLC® was born at a local farmers market. She sold out weekly while building her brand. Kids, moms and dads, along with local press, continued to spread the word. In the early days, friends, family – and even customers – would come to help her wrap, box and deliver product, sometimes into the early morning hours. For the first two years Cindy would deliver to stores in her Mom mini-van, jockeying with the dairy and meat trucks, often with Lily, then 2, in tow. Hungry Monkey is now delivered by Norman Distribution to more than 25 Chicagoland stores, including Sunset Foods, Woodman’s, Potash Foods and more. Fresh Picks also delivers Hungry Monkey to homes along with their farm to home produce throughout Chicagoland and Milwaukee.

“I’m so grateful for Sunset Foods giving me my start,” Kienzle said. “They’ve been incredibly supportive and truly embrace our community and locally made products,” Kienzle added. Kienzle will be sampling her new apple creation at all five Sunset Foods’ stores, including Northbrook, Wednesday throughout the Labor Day weekend. For more detailed information on dates and times you can taste, visit Hungry Monkey’s Facebook page at

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Hungry Monkey at Northwestern University’s #SugarAndSpiceSummit

Hungry Monkey is thrilled to be part of Northwestern University’s #SugarAndSpiceSummit showcasing women in the food industry on April 1st! Hungry Monkey will have a pop-up bakery with tastings from 2 PM – 3 PM. Do you know a Northwestern Student interested in learning more about the food industry? This is an awesome opportunity to hear from some of the most influential women in the industry — from journalism (Marissa Conrad, Deputy Food Editor, Chicago Tribune) to restauranteurs (Mindy Segal, Hot Chocolate and Rachel Angulo from La Cocinita Restaurant) to cookbook authors & TV Personalities (Gale Gand) and Aarti Sequeira (Food Network Star) – and many more! Northwestern University student tickets are available for $13 (there are also a limited amount of non-Northwestern student tickets available for $30). Hope to see you there!

“A Cake Buffet….oh, and Dinner, too!”

Friends Cindy Kienzle, Owner, The Hungry Monkey Baking Company, LLC., and James Beard Award-Winning Chef Sarah Stegner (co-owner of Prairie Grass Cafe) joined forces for “A CAKE BUFFET….OH, AND DINNER, TOO!” special event. You can read more about it in “Better Than Ramen’s” awesome review below:

Semi-Finalist in the “Peapod’s Next BEST”

In February, 2016, Hungry Monkey Baking’s Signature Chocolate Chip Banana Bread was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the “Peapod’s Next BEST” on ABC’s Windy City Live talk show. Judges Ina Pinkney (cookbook author, restaurateur), Kevin Pang (James Beard Award-Winning food writer and filmaker) and Alpana Singh (Emmy Award-Winning TV Host) all praised Hungry Monkey. Alpana said: “This may sound funny because it’s a banana bread, but it has an extremely banana-ey taste; and I love how moist it is”! Kevin Pang said “I’m looking at the nutrition label and it’s really pretty healthy for cake; how did you do that?!” Ina Pinkney added “I love the dense, moist cake; and it has great banana flavor.”

Hungry Monkey makes a video for Shark Tank

The Sharks didn’t bite, but here’s the video Shark Tank on ABC asked us to send them!

Click here to view.

Hungry Monkey on Grub Street

Click here to read an article on Hungry Monkey in Grub Street.

Watch Hungry Monkey on NBC 5 Chicago!

Watch the Hungry Monkey Making the Perfect Summer Treat: Frosty S’mores on NBC 5 Chicago!

Hungry Monkey as the Food Find of the Week

In August, 2011, Barbara Rolek featured Hungry Monkey as the Food Find of the Week on (a New York Times company).

Click here to read the review. We feel so fortunate to have Barbara reviewing our sweets; her background includes being a food editor, food writer, restaurant critic, executive chef and pastry chef!

Hungry Monkey featured in Chicago Sun-Times Pioneer Press

Hungry Monkey featured in Chicago Sun-Times Pioneer Press, July 27, 2011!

Click here to view.

Oprah inspired me to start Hungry Monkey

Click here to view HLN’s “Issues” Show with Jane Valez-Mitchell where she showcases the behind-the-scene at Oprah’s final shows at Chicago’s United Center.

Hear how Oprah inspired me to start Hungry Monkey (and get my bird’s eye view on the epic extravaganza with the biggest stars on the planet)!

Hungry Monkey on ABC 7 Chicago

Watch The Hungry Hound’s (ABC 7 News Chicago) segment on The Hungry Monkey Baking Company (aired October 27 & 31, 2010). Steve Dolinsky (The Hungry Hound) is a James Beard Award winning Food Reporter for ABC 7 Chicago, the #1 station in the city.

For additional information, contact Lauren Whalley, Media Coordinator, at