Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pug Cake





My sister turned 30 on Tuesday and I'm still trying to process it. To me, she will always be a sulky teenager who's into Metallica and George Stroumboulopoulos.

On Sunday, the fam gathered at my mom's to celebrate the end of her youth and I knew I had to bake something special. It isn't every day your little sister becomes an adult (in age only).



When I asked her what she wanted me to make, I expected her to excitedly text me some suggestions. Instead, she said she didn't care. At first, I was like "Well then, she doesn't care? I'll make something shitty!" But, I realized that I shouldn't ruin my reputation as a baker just because my sister didn't give a shit about what I was making.



I mulled it over with my husband. Should I make a decadent cheesecake? A classic vanilla birthday cake with sprinkles? Chocolate cupcakes? Mike came up with the idea: of course, a pug cake!

Ever since I got our pug Rosie, my sister has taken to being an aunt. Her name is "Auntie Sweet." She loves Rosie, and therefore, loves pugs. So it made sense.



We turned to YouTube to see if we could find a recipe that was even remotely easy to make and lo and behold, we found one, courtesy of a brave, selfless woman who loves to make desserts shaped as adorable dogs.



Thank you, baker lady who refuses to show her face in her videos. We salute you.





Pug Cake

Adapted from this YouTube video.

Peanut butter icing recipe from here.

Note: we tweaked the original recipe to suit our needs and our limited supplies from our local No Frills.



Ingredients:

Cake:

- 1 box cake mix (I chose Betty Crocker marble)

Peanut Butter Icing:

- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tbsp milk, or as needed
- 2 cups confectioners sugar

Decorations:

- 2 biscuits for the ears. (These can be any biscuit that's not round like a graham cracker. I went with Papadopoulos biscuits)
- 1/2 container of Betty Crocker chocolate icing (or use whatever recipe for chocolate icing you want)
- 2 Oreos for the eyes
- White decorating/writing icing (or use your own vanilla icing)
- 2 round chocolate candies (like M&Ms, etc. Make sure they are brown) for the eyes
- Black writing icing
- Chocolate sprinkles
- 1 pink fruit chewy taffy (like a Starburst candy) for the tongue
- 2 edible white round sugar candies OR use white decorating icing, to create white spots on top of pupils

Tools:

- Piping bag
- Small piping tip
- Medium piping tip

Note: You can also find decorating icing in individual plastic bottles at Bulk Barn that allow you to pipe straight from them (which is what I did for the black and white decorating icing). If you buy these, don't forget to buy the piping tips and the white attachments that fit the tips onto the plastic bottles.


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease 20cm (8inch) round cake baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Make batter as directed on cake mix box. Pour batter into pan.


3. Bake 28 to 33 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed in centre. Turn cake out of pan onto cooling rack. Cool completely.


4. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate the milk one tbsp at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get fluffy.

5. Frost the cooled cake with a thin layer of peanut butter icing, refrigerate or freeze until set. Frost cake with second layer of peanut butter icing, making the surface as smooth as possible.


6. Trim the 2 biscuits so that they're in the shape of pug ears and apply a smooth layer of chocolate icing to both pieces. Press these into the chocolate sprinkles and then press them (angled) into the top portion of the cake so that they overhang the edge of the cake slightly. 


7. Cover one side of each of the 2 oreos with a layer of chocolate icing. Press them (icing sides up) into the cake just underneath the biscuit "ears." 
Use white decorating icing fitted with the round tip to pipe 2 mounds of white icing onto the cookie "eyes". Place chocolate candies into the white icing mounds.  Place round white candies OR pipe white icing into a small circle shape on the candies.

8. Pipe a rounded triangular shape (the mouth) onto the bottom third of cake with the chocolate icing. Fill in the outline with piped icing. Gently smooth the entire shape with an offset spatula or teaspoon. Use black icing to draw the nose and mouth. Using a spoon, fill in the drawn-on mouth with chocolate sprinkles.

9. Place pink chewy "starburst" in the microwave on high for about 7 seconds. On the counter, straighten the candy with a rolling pin and cut a teardrop tongue shape with kitchen scissors. Make an indentation with the side of spoon handle. Apply the pink candy to the mouth.


10. Store the cake loosely covered in the refrigerator. Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Makes 8-10 servings.



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