Our middle child, Annika, turned 6 earlier this month.
Yikes! How did that happen?
Although she had given me numerous ideas for what kind of cake she wanted, I knew there was really only one choice. A Pug Cake. Annika has adored pugs ever since she watched "Milo and Otis" a couple of years ago. Her favorite birthday gift last year was a Webkinz pug, whom she named Otis, and he's her most cherished stuffed animals (of many).
So I didn't want to make a fondant covered cake or just draw a picture of a pug, although the latter did cross my mind. Nope, when I saw this cake, I knew it was the one I had to try. I don't think mine turned out as cute, to be quite honest, but it's all good.
So here's the breakdown.
2 9" round cakes
1 8"square cake
*2 cups butter, softened
*8 cups powdered sugar
*1/4-1/2 cup cream or milk
*1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 tsp. almond extract
*Cocoa powder and food coloring (I use Wilton)
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar gradually. Mix in
1/4 cup cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add additional cream
or milk to achieve desired piping consistency.
Separate into bowls and tint as desired.
I tinted most of mine tan with a little bit of sifted cocoa powder. A small part I added a lot more cocoa
powder (plus a little more cream) to make the dark mouth area, and added some black food coloring
to part of that to make the ears, eyes, and nose.
I always freeze my cakes so they're easier to carve without falling apart. I used 1-1/3 of this recipe to make my cakes. It's a delicious and moist cake that is also fairly sturdy and doesn't crumble too easily.
So here's how you cut it.
Take one of the round cakes and carve out sections to shape ears and the face.
From your square cake, carve out a niche for the head to rest into. Cut a little off the corners to make rounded shoulders.
Use the other round cake to carve out the legs and paws. I didn't do perfectly with that and ended up having to stick some scraps to the cake to make the shape I wanted....but when it was frosted, nobody was the wiser.
I just used a basic star tip (Wilton # 17, I think) to pipe all over the cake. I didn't even bother with a crumb coat. I used a small round tip to pipe the outlines of the legs with the dark brown frosting.
For the nose area, I piped lots of extra frosting to mount it up more 3D like - it's kind of hard to tell from the photo.
Sooooo......onto the rest of the party.
I made a double batch of Puppy Chow and saved part for the party, but packaged the rest up in little cellophane bags to put in the goody bags for the guests. Annika cut out some little bones and we stapled them onto the bags. Cute!
In the goody bags, I also included some Sugar Cookie Dog Houses (there were Dog bones as seen above in the cake photo for eating at the party), a ball, and some random candies that Annika picked out.
I dressed up some white paper bags with a little bit of dog paw scrapbook paper before writing their names on them.
Probably the funnest activity of the party was the Treasure Hunt. I wrote little riddle clues and printed them out on dog paw graphics and hid them in their proper places around the yard (under a picnic table, behind the grill, in the playhouse, in the mailbox, etc). Each clue led them to the next one - and the final clue led them back inside to find their goody bags hidden under the dining table. :) The girls LOVED it.
I found this Photo Collage Banner idea from this blog - and absolutely adored it. She gave perfect instructions on how to do it - I'll be making more for my other kids' birthdays. I wish I had taken a picture of Annika's face when she came downstairs and saw this on the wall - she was soooooo delighted.
The cake table - also decorated with dog bones that we used for a "Musical Bones" (instead of musical chairs) game. I taped them on the floor and when the music stopped, the girls had to get on a bone. Nobody got eliminated, but as I removed the bones each time, the girls had to cram onto the remaining bones. It got pretty funny by the end when there was only 1 bone left. :)
Annika got baby pug (Otis Jr) that morning before the party - and she decorated a box for his doghouse and set both of her pups on the table with some of the bone cookies. So cute!
Happy Birthday to our sweet girl!