My youngest daughter Olivia turned 3 this past weekend. She is my very charming, opinionated, loving and spunky one. She also loves all things pink, or rather is obsessed with all things pink. Olivia also loves puppies. So when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday cake, she requested a pink puppy, or rather a toy pink puppy.
Alright then, cue internet searches for puppy cakes! I searched but wasn’t super inspired by anything I saw. Then I remembered that my friend Lindsey had made a puppy cake for her daughter’s birthday in the spring, so I messaged her to find out what her technique had been. Well, lucky day, I found out that Lindsey had a blog that I didn’t even know about, and had blogged about her cake making, PERFECT! I was also excited to discover her blog, she mostly posts about books there, and I’m always looking for a good new book to check out 🙂 I encourage you to check out her blog too!
Once I was armed with a plan of attack, it was time to start baking, I mixed up THIS chocolate cake recipe. It makes a big batch of cake, plenty for the whole puppy. I baked it in a loaf pan, a 10 inch round pan and a 6 inch round pan. The key here is to check each cake as they are baking, they will finish at different times since they are different sizes. Once my cakes were baked, I let them cool in the fridge overnight. A cool cake is much easier to cut, it doesn’t crumble.
Saturday morning I was up bright and early, I cut both round cakes in half, and the loaf pan into 4 pieces. The larger round cake also had a 1″ slice taken from each side. The large round halves became the puppies body, the small round halves were the head, the loaf pieces were the legs and the 1″ slice was the ears and tail.
I laid all the pieces out on a big cutting board (I need a big rectangular cake stand!), and coated everything in a layer of icing, a crumb coat. I put it back in the fridge to set and headed out for a nice long trail run…
Saturday afternoon, I mixed up a nice big batch of pink icing (with half butter, half shortening – the best mix for piping icing IMO), and set to work. I used my wilton grass tip for the fur, I’ve used it for quite a few cakes, and it’s pretty easy to use but gives an impressive result. It’s especially easy for fur, when you want to have a natural, messy look. I went fast and let the icing fall however it went and worked my way over the cake. I iced everything but the ears in light pink, and then made some darker pink for the ears. The hardest part was getting the icing in the tight spaces between the legs and the body. It was a bit messy in those spaces, but I figured nobody was going to be inspecting it that closely so I let it be.
I had iced right over the spaces for the eyes and nose. That night I made up a batch of marshmallow fondant. I have never made fondant, I’ve bought the premade stuff and used it, but was surprised how easy it was to make with marshmallows. Perfect for fall when camping season is over 😉 The next morning I warmed up the fondant in the microwave for a few seconds, got a small hunk of it for the nose, and put a bit of black cream food coloring in it. I worked the food coloring in with my hands, and it turned a surprisingly dark black color. I shaped it by hand into the shape of a dogs nose (just like molding playdough). I rolled out some white and cut it into eye shapes, and drew some round eyeball shapes onto them. For the tongue I worked some red coloring onto a small piece and molded it into a tongue shape. I pressed each of these into the right place in the icing I had done yesterday. If I was doing this cake again, I’d probably put the eyes and nose on the cake before icing the fur. It would give a more realistic look with the fur overlapping over the eyes and nose. I had a ton of fondant, so used some of the leftover to make a bone for the puppy.
I’m really happy with how this cake turned out. I think it might be my favorite one so far!