Birthday Bake-Off

Birthday Bake-Off

Shortly before Christmas, our little cub celebrated his first birthday with a party at the village hall with his little pals. After looking at far too many first birthday cakes on Pinterest and having had a glass or two of wine, I decided that my husband and I should take on the challenge of baking Henry’s cake. After all, I was of the era whereby it was compulsory to take a technology subject at GCSE and my ‘A’ grade in Food Tech (which saw me spend two years decorating novelty cakes) would surely see me qualified for such a task! (I blame the wine as I definitely over-judged my skill set here).

We decided to create a cake in the shape of a dog, as our little boy’s most favouritest toy in the whole world, who he beams at and chats away to in his cute little way is ‘Dog’. Dog was once a super soft, fluffy light brown pup who sat watching over our little baby in the first precious days after he was born. However after 12 months of cuddles and drool he has an unmistakable, unwashable smell which only a baby can love!

In searching for a recipe, I was surprised at the results thrown out by google after searching for ‘dog birthday cake’. I know we are a nation of dog lovers … but a full on birthday cake for our canine friends? Crikey! After refining my search I came across a cake that fitted the bill and with recipe in hand, and ingredients laid out, we were off!

It was about two thirds of the way through cracking the dozen eggs into the mixing bowl that my husband, a Chemist, piped up that he didn’t realise eggs were an ingredient in cakes. After shooting him an ‘are you even human’ look, it crossed my mind that perhaps a Colin Caterpillar cake would have perhaps been the better option.  

We poured ourselves a well earned glass of wine as the cakes bubbled away in the oven. Feeling the pressure only a Bake-Off finalist can feel, we tentatively opened the oven door as the timer went off and to our delight, all looked ok!

The next evening I declined watching the final of Strictly to face my nemesis - icing dog. In our angst, we overdid the brown food colouring and the buttercream ended up more of a 90% cocoa chocolate brown, rather than the Farrow & Ball inspired ‘London Stone’ which I had in mind.

As I was prepping the icing bag, I caught sight of Rob taking our largest kitchen knife to the cake. After shouting some expletives at him, it turned out he was ‘giving dog’s jaw some more definition’. It was at that point that I was reminded again that he is definitely my lobster ;).

With just dog’s ears left to ice our piping bag did the unthinkable and split. With sticky, buttery chocolate icing literally up to our armpits, we persevered and managed to freestyle the remaining ear and a half. With a few last minute final creative additions of eyes, mouth and nose, our masterpiece was done.

As we stood back and admired our cake creation, with our kitchen looking and smelling like a scene out of Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory, it struck me that our dog cake had in fact turned out as a rather good bear.

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