A dog-shaped birthday cake is a unique and memorable way to celebrate an animal lover's special day. Decorators of all levels can also show off and hone their skills with dog cakes, because different designs offer a wide range of complexity and detail. Check out a variety of cake images before you start to get ideas and spur the process of brainstorming your own designs.
Dog Lover's Birthday Cake Designs
Detailed, sculpture-like designs are usually the most impressive, but it's important to choose a cake that aligns with your skill level. As you gain more experience, try new challenges and build gradually more complex cakes.
Simple Round Cake
A round dog cake is easy for even beginning decorators to complete, and it's ideal for kids' birthday parties or casual gatherings.
- Bake a two layer, eight or nine inch round cake. Let the layers cool.
- Apply frosting or filling on top of one of the layers, and stack the second layer.
- Cover the top and sides of the double layer cake with a thin crumb coat of buttercream frosting.
- Refrigerate the cake briefly until the frosting firms.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and cover it with a thicker layer of buttercream frosting or with rolled fondant. The frosting should be the same color of the dog's "fur." For example, if you want to depict a chocolate Lab on the cake, use brown frosting.
- Let the cake sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for several minutes until the new layer of frosting firms.
- Use candies or buttercream frosting in a pastry bag with a thin round tip to add facial details to the dog. Put on eyes, a nose, a mouth, and ears.
- Add any finishing touches, such as spots on the dog's fur, before serving the cake.
Dog Sheet Cake
Form a dog-shaped birthday cake from a rectangular sheet cake. It may be a bit of a challenge for beginning decorators, as the steps are more complex and it takes more time to decorate than a round cake. This cake is a good choice for intermediate decorators.
- Bake a single or double layer 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. Let the cake cool completely.
- Wrap the cake tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, and freeze it for 20 to 30 minutes so that it begins to firm.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and unwrap it. Use a sharp serrated knife to round the four corners of the cake, making the front corners slightly narrower. Use the discarded pieces of cake to form front legs, back paws, and a tail for the dog. Your goal is to carve the cake into a dog shape.
- Secure paws, arms, legs, and tail to the cake with dabs of buttercream frosting.
- Cover the dog with a layer of buttercream frosting in the "fur" color.
- Add texture to the "fur" by applying more frosting with a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
- Use candies or more buttercream in different colors to apply a mouth, nose, eyes, claws, paw details, and a collar to the cake.
Fondant Sculpture Cake
The toughest dog cake to make is a customized sculpture cake. In many cases, such cakes utilize hand-colored fondant frosting, fondant cutting tools, edible paint, and other specialty equipment. It takes many hours to make a detailed shaped cake, even for advanced and professional decorators, but they are a fun challenge and always successful at capturing attention and appreciation.
Planning the Perfect Cake
Having a good idea of your own skills, decorating strengths, and stash of equipment will help you design a successful shaped cake. Sketch out a few different designs, color them in, and narrow down your choices. When you finally make a design decision, gather your supplies ahead of time so that you won't have to run out and get any more equipment in the process of decorating. Finally, leave yourself plenty of time to carve and shape your dog cake and add all the necessary details.