puppies, not ponies: time for another birthday cake

My youngest daughter, she of last year’s pony birthday cake, is set to turn a year older. Which means I have an excuse to go all out with another cake. Her chosen party theme for turning 8 is “puppies,” so I’m on the hook to make a cake look like a doggie. Wish me luck.

What excites me most, though, is the hunt for the cake itself. When I saw a recipe for Butter Cake from a favorite cookbook (Miette, the same book that offers up my favorite marshmallow recipe), I knew I had what I needed. True, 10 egg yolks and just shy of two sticks of butter seem over-the-top, but it’s a birthday cake and “over-the-top” is mandatory. My youngest loves her some butter, so this cake was The One.

Calling for only a handful of ingredients (outside of the 10 yolks), the batter went together quickly. While I can’t yet cut myself a slice, I did manage to snag a bit of crumb that stuck to the bottom of a pan and can tell you this will be the best yellow cake in the history of yellow cakes. Rich, tender, and even a bit salty (in a good way), it will go over very well.

oh, this is going to be good!

oh, this is going to be good!

My next step is figuring out the puppy part, so if you have suggestions, am begging you (like a puppy!) to please send them on. Am counting on google to get me where I need to go, though we all know my cakes never turn out quite as planned. Stay tuned for final pictures.

Since I’ve been less chatty than usual today, I’ll also offer up two recent posts–one for Minnesota Soybean (lemon cream pie!) along with a Funny Names tale about a man and his bananas. Would be honored to have you click over for reads.

Butter Cake (from Miette-Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop by Meg Ray)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
10 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 300ºF. Butter and flour two 6-inch round pans (though I used one 6-inch and one 9-inch).

In bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar; beat on medium speed 10 to 12 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add yolks in three additions, beating  2 minutes between each addition, stopping mixer and scraping side of bowl as needed. Increase speed to high; beat 30 seconds longer.

In small bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Between additions, beat only until combined before adding next addition. Remove bowl from mixer; scrape down side and fold into batter.

Divide batter evenly between pans, leveling flat with spatula (didn’t do this as it seemed to level well enough by pouring); bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cakes are light brown and toothpick inserted in middle of each comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Insert straight knife between cake and pan to loosen. Turn cakes out onto wire rack. Cool cakes completely before filling and frosting.


43 thoughts on “puppies, not ponies: time for another birthday cake

    • Thanks for the link! Thinking puppies as it’s occurring to me that the one cake won’t be enough for all guests, so will also need cupcakes. Which could be individual puppies OR a part of one big dog. Need to get it all sorted in the next 24 hours or so. All part of the adventure 🙂 Appreciate your comment very much.

    • Ha, thanks, Kerry. But have you seen my cakes here before? They’re pretty bad–but they taste amazing and that’s the part that matters. Appreciate your enthusiasm very much 🙂

  1. Sinful Liz – absolutely sinful! Of course that means I’m going to make it (but first I think I should lose a couple of pounds to offset the couple I will undoubtedly gain!)…I’m looking forward to pics of the final puppy product an Happy Birthday to your soon-to-be 8year old!!

    • bahaha–“sinful” is rich coming from someone whose Christmas Elf name is Cinnamon Hot Pants 😉 (or something like that)

      I don’t have the headstart on this one that I want, so need to get crackalackin’ Wish me luck! and lol, the extra pounds. Just read another article about weight gain as women age. Very depressing, all of it. So, yes, will focus on my crazy-and-lovely 8-year-old. She’s full of good vibes.

    • Thanks, Beth 🙂 So the cake calls for 14 tablespoons butter, which leaves 2 Tbsp of one stick unused. I won’t ask where it went if it can’t be found when the project is over 😉 Realizing now I should make cupcakes, too, so there’s enough for everyone. Off I go to separate 10 more eggs… egg white omelets for supper!

  2. Excited to see how it turns out. There must be a bajillion different ways to do a puppy cake, none of which I know about. At least you’ve got the yellow cake nailed. I saw wiener dog and Snoopy ones online, but I wouldn’t try to master the fur part. And don’t put anything red inside–I saw one like that and it looked like slicing into blood.

    • Kerbey, Kerbey, Kerbey! Thanks for coming by. Would you mind popping over to my email again? liz@deLiziousfood.com (I can’t find your address–must have emptied trash since our messages.) I bring you a message from the BoFN founder.

      Did a google and pinterest search on the puppy cake and my daughter’s comment summed it up: “mom, those are all too complicated for you.” She wasn’t being mean–she’s just an extremely bright child 😉

      But I do know this after reading your comment: no weiner dogs, no Snoopy, no fur (though the pinterest pictures make it SO cute), and under no circumstances red. Ewwww. Good call on that.

    • ah ha, good call on the butter. Thanks for the good-luck wishes. Will need. I’ll post, promise. Just not sure if it’s going to be a “look at what I did!” kind of thing or a “look what I did :-(”

      One year I tried to make one of those princess cakes with a Barbie doll in the middle. Barbie was a bit too tall, so somehow used a coffee can, cut in half horizontally and wrapped in foil, to raise the cake/dress up. It was a chocolate cake, so when the back side of the cake started crumbling off, it looked like Barbie was taking a dump (sorry for image–usually don’t go gross here). That just seems to be my history with bday cakes. Best of intentions, but something always goes awry.

  3. This butter cake sounds so rich and decadent!! Unfortunately I have no experience with carving cakes, so I can’t help you with the puppy part =\ I need to start learning though, so I’m interested in what you find. I’m sure your final product will look great! 😀

    • Thanks, Ada. Carving cakes–wow, now it sounds even more complicated 😉 Another cake fail story for me is a lamb cake I made one year where the cakes were made in ovensafe mixing bowls and the smaller of the two cakes was skewered to the larger one with chopsticks, turning into a “head” on a “body.” I was testing the recipe for a client, and each morning I went into their test kitchens, the head had rolled off. I called it Lamb Cake preceded by another word that rhymes with lamb. Cake carving, so not my thing.

      Appreciate your interest! And. Want to hear about your wedding cake as those plans fall into place. 😀

    • Thanks, Amanda. Figured you’d appreciate this one what with the baking and it also being a bit of an adventure.

      I saw a food show once where they profiled different lifestyles and they were following a fruititarian around that episode. For her birthday: A cantaloupe with a candle. Wha’? That doesn’t sound fun at all.

    • Suzanne! If you can’t help me here, I’m lost 0-: Are you telling me you never made a cake that looks like your puggies? 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your good wishes. I’m really on the hook for this now, aren’t I?

  4. First of all, I don’t know how I missed reading this before today. I thought it was weird I hadn’t seen your post yet. Had to find you the old fashioned way.

    Onto the puppy cake challenge, I love that you take these on. You are the epitome of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” And I admire you for your fearlessness in the cake arena.

    I know what ever you come up with will be appreciated by your daughter, and I can’t wait to see the results!

    • weird, yes, Fannie. I lose “follows” for blogs often–and sometimes incoming messages from WP are spammed. No idea how and why. But I appreciate you coming over regardless. I try to stick with Wed, just like you 🙂

      Wouldn’t say my cake decorating is up there with bungee jumping (which I would never do–would you?), but it gives me a sense of adventure in that I don’t know what’s coming out the other end. Trying to be positive and hoping the Cake Decorating Universe rewards my confidence. We’ll soon find out!

      Hope all is well on your end. Thinking I’m behind in Fannie’s world, too, so will circle over now.

      • Yes, it is weird. Good thing we’re persistent. 🙂

        Regarding bungee jumping, that’s “way off my radar,” I’d much rather challenge myself in less adrenaline filled ways.

        Have a wonderful time. Yes, all is well on my end.

    • Thanks, Shanna. Overkill absolutely what with all the cholesterol. But to your sentiment, there’s no sense not celebrating and indulging when the time is right (which is pretty much always, haha) 😀 Just posted the cake on deLiz facebook. Might have stood a chance, but Anna put her puppy figurine smack dab in the middle of its forehead, so it has a third eye of sorts. Also reminded me of one of the muppet characters–Rolf, I think. Was he a puppy? Figured it was Anna’s cake, so let her direct me 🙂

    • Thanks, CCU! Just put it up on deLiz facebook. Didn’t turn out much like I had planned, but that’s ok as it was up to the birthday girl. She enjoyed it and it tasted delish 🙂

    • Thank you, Anna! (which happens to be the birthday girls’ name, too 🙂 ) Love your link–perfect to cut the ears from the second layer and lay it all on a rectangular base. Unfortunately, it did not go down that way (just posted on deLiz facebook–if you’re on fb, please follow the link on my page here and Like so you can see 🙂 ) as I gave the 8-year-old final decorating say. It has a disturbing “third eye” as she plopped a puppy figurine in the middle of its head. (if you can’t catch it on fb, I’ll be posting it here later in the week) But all that matters in the end is that it was a deliciously rich cake frosted with loads of caramel buttercream. Hoo boy! Thanks much for coming over.

      • Oh, wow! It seems the name “Anna” is very common. I checked it out and “like” your page using my personal Facebook. I have yet to create “Anna’s Cuisine” page. 😀 Anyway, the most important thing is that you made her a cake and it was delicious and you are right, that’s all that matters. A delicious cake decorated with love is much memorable than how it looks. 🙂

  5. You’re right! Only a handful of ingredients, but you must have BIG hands to hold 10 eggs! I can only imagine how wonderful this cake must be. I can’t wait to see it too! So cute she wants puppies as a theme…adorable.

    • haha, thanks, Seana. It was going to be circus-themed until my mom, whose tradition is to take the birthday girl shopping for party decorations, couldn’t find anything circusy in the stores. Puppies it was, then. And the egg thing was a bit overwhelming, though easier to go with yolks so not so much worry about contaminating with the white. I’ll be posting this week–just a quick picture as the result wasn’t all that amazing. But I love it because it was her vision.

  6. Pingback: the cake! the cake! and marshallows, too | food for fun


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