Saturday, June 13, 2009

Birthday cake for Gus!

Usually we talk about some sweet treat we've made for us to munch on over the weekend on Saturday's post. However, today is no ordinary day! Gus, our blue-eyed lovable pup, turns a whopping one year old today - woo!

Call me crazy, but we couldn't let this milestone go by without making a little extravagant treat for him (and Max too if Gus will share!). Jeff actually asked me a couple weeks ago if there was anything we could do, rather than the normal homemade treats I often prepare, and after giving it some thought, I made this Peanut Butter Pup Cake with Carob Frosting.

You could get away with using regular whole-wheat flour in this cake, but I opted for pastry flour just so the cake wouldn't end up too dense (yeah, I know, the pups won't care... but I do!). With a little baking powder for lift and nonfat dry milk powder for tenderness, the wet ingredients I used for the batter included honey, unsalted peanut butter, an egg white and a bit of water to thin it out. If milk powder isn't an ingredient you keep around, nonfat milk would work just fine... use it to replace the milk powder and water. To drill in a little extra peanut power, I also threw in a couple tablespoons worth of chopped peanuts.

To make this a layer cake, instead of baking the batter in one loaf pan, I divided it between two pans so I wouldn't have to bother torting the cake later. You could also bake this in a single 8" cake pan if you like, just add a few extra minutes to the baking time. Testing for doneness is the same as any other cake - it is ready when the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, the edges look like they are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan or a toothpick placed into the center comes out clean. After taking them out of the oven, give them a five minute rest before turning them out to cool completely.

Fine as is, if you know us, then you can imagine we had to dress it up with a little pizazz! Chocolate and peanut butter is a dreamy combo, but chocolate isn't safe for dogs. I didn't throw that idea away though as carob is safe and we could use the powder form (just like cocoa powder!) to make a dark cream cheese frosting! Just three ingredients - cream cheese, the carob powder and a splash of vanilla, just because. To assemble the cake, a couple spoonfuls smeared on top of one of the cakes worked as a good glue to adhere the other layer, which was topped off with more of the creamy frosting.

Since I was probably going overboard already, I just left the sides open and clean, rather than encasing the entire cake. Of course, I say that after I capped the cake off with a few finely chopped peanuts on top - oops!

Now, don't worry, we don't plan on letting the little guy pig out and eat the whole thing at once as we know weight can be an issue with dachshunds and their backs. We'll be cutting up most of it into cubes, freezing the pieces and bringing them out every so often as a special treat. Both of the pups were too busy licking their chops to let me know what they thought, but I think it was clear by their happy smiles and pointed tails, wagging like there's no tomorrow, that they enjoyed their piece of birthday cake. If you really wanted to up the cuteness factor, you could make a template to lay on top of the cake layers before assembly and use it as a guide to cut out a bone shaped cake... I was tempted, but I tried to use a little restraint this time!



  2. This is awesome!! Happy Birthday to Gus - he is lucky to have you guys!

  3. Cute cake! I can't believe he's already one...


  4. Happy Birthday Gus!

    This is so cute.

  5. Happy birthday to Gus! Love how his tongue is hanging out just seeing his cake! :)

  6. Happy Birthday, Gus!

    What a great idea Joe!

  7. You are a rockin' doggy owner! ;)
    Happy Birthday, Gus. Great cake!

  8. Happy birthday, Gus!

    Your birthday cake looks and sounds terrific!


  9. Wow, Gus is sure a lucky dog! The cake looks great. Happy Birthday Gus!

  10. cute! Happy birthday Gus!


  11. Cute cake,lucky dog! =)

  12. Gus sends his thanks! I think someone has been sneaking him extra pieces while I'm not looking though!