Monday, July 27, 2015

Hank Turns Four...ish!

I am an animal lover, but more specifically, I am a dog person. You have a dog that hates everyone? It will love me. On a 1-10 scale of being obsessed with my dogs, I'm Paris Hilton. If my house was burning down and I could only grab two things, well, I'd go up in flames because my dogs hide under the bed when the smoke detector goes off. I even refuse to work full-time because I don't want to only be able to be a part-time dog mom..  need plenty of time for those 3.5 mile walks after I teach class in the morning...between cuddle fetch sessions, of course. My dogs are both rescues, and here's the thing about that--rescue dogs know you saved their lives, and the amount of loyalty and love they give to you is simply unparalleled. Hank and Freyja were dealt really crappy hands for the first year of their lives, and it is my job to make sure they get treated like the extremely valuable pack members that they are and want for nothing for the rest of their adorable, short-legged, furry days. Needless to say, very important doggies get very important doggy birthday cakes. Unfortunately, we do not know either pooches actual birthday, so we have designated birthdays for them, and Hank is now approaching his fourth year(ish). Hank, much like his mother, loves cake. I mean, he loves just about anything if it comes on a plate (also like his mother), so pleasing him in the dessert department is pretty easy.
"Dear God, Mother, hurry up and give me a piece." -Hank Spartacus Fox
I could do nothing but bake doggy birthday cakes, pupcakes, and dog treats for the rest of my days and be the happiest person on the face of the planet. I'll have to hope our next duty station has a dog bakery somewhere because I take the term "crazy dog lady" to a whole new level. I've made a variety of pupcakes for Hank and other dogs, but I have never made a full-on cake safe for doggy consumption. I did a lot of research, and found a recipe for a peanut butter banana cake here and made some slight changes. The whole process from start to finishing decoration took all of two hours, and if you love your dogs half as much as I love mine (congratulations, you're normal!), you should definitely make your canine companions a sweet birthday treat like this.
You will have a captive audience in the kitchen, too.
The ingredients are super simple, and you probably have most of these things already sitting around:
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 TBS honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cups of wheat flour
  • 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal (mine is the quick cook stuff)
  • 1 cup of JIF...because if you really care about your dogs, and your real children, too, I suppose, you won't feed them Skippy.
Start by preheating the oven to 350 and greasing a pan. I used an 8x11 pan, but you could get away with an 8" round if you want a plain cake. I had other ideas. Smash the two bananas and place into a stand mixer and mix with 3 TBS of honey, the egg, and the water. Mix on low as this is pretty slushtacular. Simply add in the flour, baking power, and oatmeal to this wet mix and blend well. Pour into your greased pan.If baking in an 8x11 pan, bake for 45 minutes. A smaller pan will require longer time, as this is a super dense cake.
This...doesn't look that bad actually. I'd eat it. OK, I ate it.
Not gonna lie, I tried a little of the batter before it went in to the oven because I live dangerously and don't care about salmonella or admitting to the public I ate dog treats. It was like a bland oat or granola bar, really. I'd add sugar if it was for me, but it wasn't, so I suppose I will stay focused on this blog's true star, Hank's birthday cake.  Once the cake is done, let it set in the pan on top of a cooling rack for a half an hour before turning out to cool on the rack completely (only takes 15 minutes in the freezer).
I was dead set on making this cake look like a giant milk bone, so I cut out a milk bone shape on a piece of paper and cut around my cooled cake.
I placed it on a cake round and marveled at my creativity. As talented as he is, Hank can't actually pat me on the back for this, so I did it for myself.

Everything's better with JIF!
Making the frosting for the cake is extremely easy. Mix the cup of peanut butter with the remaining tablespoon of honey, and use a small angled spatula to frost the cake. I smoothed things out with my larger spatula before realizing Hank wouldn't care if the frosting wasn't perfect (but I would). I took the remaining frosting and mixed with some black gel icing. I placed this into a piping bag and snipped off the tip before writing Hank's name in the middle of the cake with it:
I finished things off by adding a kibble border around the side and top of the cake.
 I suppose you're wondering if the dogs liked the cake...Is the sun hot? Is fall the undisputed champion of seasons? Of course. I mean, the second I get out the jar of JIF and the dogs see the bottle with the red cap, they go crazy. I thought they might stage a coup while I was taking my time frosting the cake, or at least find someway to just so happen to end up on the counter top right next to it. Hank has managed to do this before to eat a bowl of pumpkin candies, so I put nothing past what his love of food can drive him to do.
As witnessed here where he is licking the bowl clean after cake. Yes, his eyes are closed as he is the one dog in the world that has figured out this will help him savor his meal. I may have accidentally taught him this, but it's adorable either way.
 There is nothing in this world I wouldn't do for my dogs, including sleeping in less than one cubic foot of space so they can cuddle with me every night and waking at the crack of dawn to walk them before it gets too hot out. You might think I am crazy and that I love my dogs too much, and I'd say you're right on both accounts. But dogs are not items to be thrown in the backyard and forgotten. Dogs are family members. Dogs are best friends. Dogs are furry little children. You're the one in charge of the pack, and if you guide and love your dogs just right, they'll have your back no matter what. You'll know if you've mastered this balance the moment your dogs start standing watch by you while you're just trying to go pee in peace in your own bathroom. They can't leave their Alpha alone with their pants around their ankles, after all...literally. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Happy Birthday to my soulmutt, Hank. After all these years together, I'm quite certain you're really the one who rescued me.


  1. Did you just use gel icing from the store for regular cakes?

    1. Simply mix the cup of peanut butter with the remaining tablespoon of honey to make the frosting. Reserve a little of the frosting and use food safe dye to turn it whatever color you'd like. Place it in a ziplock bag, snip the end, and pipe away! Alternatively, you can use a piping bag and small round tip like I did.

  2. Did you just use gel icing from the store for regular cakes?


Leave me some love, some advice, tell me the meaning of life...whatever you fancy! You don't have to have a Blogger account, you can leave a comment by clicking "Anonymous" in the "Comment As" box..but if you're not a troll, leave me your name after your comment so I know who said what!