If it's your puppy's birthday and you want to mark the occasion with a cake and celebration, you're not alone. Celebrities Rachel Ray and Cesar Millan both offer ideas for celebrating a doggy's special day, so there must be a market for it. You truly are in the majority.
Check your local craft store for bone-shaped cake pans, or make a dog-faced cake yourself by using a round pan and two cupcakes for the ears. You can also use cookie cutters to cut out designs in the frosting, or to use as guides for adding toppings. Cupcakes are always handy, as each canine party guest will have his very own cake.
Basic Cake Recipe
For a basic doggy birthday cake, simply mix together 1 cup flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, an egg, 1/4 cup cooking oil and 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin. Blend until smooth, put in a greased and floured pan and pop it in a pre-heated 350-degree F oven for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before frosting. Feel free to add carrots, apples, bananas or most any other fruit (other than peaches, plums, grapes and raisins). See Resources for a full list of human foods dogs should not eat.
Think outside the cake mix box when planning your dog's birthday cake. While people favor flavors like chocolate, vanilla and spices, dogs are happy with a whole lot more, so the sky's the limit. With the exception of a few items of people food, you can make your dog's cake with just about anything. Mix in some pureed broccoli with peanut butter and pumpkin. While you may crave something sweet in a birthday cake, dogs just don't have that expectation. In fact, the canine ability to taste sweet is not nearly as acute as humans'. So think about ingredients that are easy to add to a basic cake recipe, and add them in for flavor, texture and fragrance.
You have a virtual smorgasbord of food products you can use for frosting your dog's birthday cake. Plain, white yogurt or cottage cheese is easy to spread and can be thickened with just a little cornstarch. Peanut butter, smooth or crunchy, spread thin is also a favorite of dogs. Egg yolks, beaten and spread on the cake prior to baking make a nice, shiny glazed finish. Cream cheese, mashed potatoes or canned pumpkin all make for spreadable and healthy dog cake icing.
Topping off your pup's birthday cake is the best part because all the hard work is done and now you just get to be creative and have fun with it. Colored, fruity kids' cereals make great sprinkles on the cake. Carob chips sprinkled on a white icing present an elegant design. Crumbled colored dog biscuits, tiny colorful cat treats, shredded carrots, coconut or yams can all be pressed into service as festive toppings for your dog's birthday cake. Don't be boxed in by what humans think of as ingredients for cake; your dog will love whatever you bake for him, because you made it with love.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.