Sunday, 28 September 2014

Puppy party

The final party of birthday season in our family is for our little boy who turned 2 in June. 

My little boy's favourite animal is puppy dogs. He has one that he takes to bed, and he has recently taken a liking to my middle daughter's Scooby Doo toys. So it was pretty easy to decide on a puppy dog theme for his second birthday.

I had found some pictures of puppy cakes online last year (this one, this one and my favourite - this one) when I was desperately searching for a plush puppy dog the same as, or similar to, his bedtime puppy. He had been given a plush puppy as a gift from my mum when he was born, but being his favourite one, I wanted to find a backup one just in case the original one went missing or needed a wash. This wasn't an easy task though because he had sucked on the tag so much that we couldn't read the writing to find a brand, and my mum couldn't remember where she had bought it. After searching Google, ebay, and heaps of other websites for weeks on end without finding anything remotely the same, I just happened to see an identical puppy (although with pink ears rather than blue) at a friends house and fortunately the writing on the tag was still clear. So I contacted the supplier and within a few days they had sent me two extra puppies - one to use in rotation with the original one, and a spare just in case one of the others went missing. When I gave one of the puppies to my little boy the day it arrived, he cuddled it briefly and then looked at it as if thinking "well it looks like my puppy but it doesn't smell or feel like my puppy". After a spin in the washing machine, the new puppy was readily accepted.

So, getting back to my original cake story, I already had an idea of what sort of puppy cake I wanted to make from pictures I had found during the great puppy quest. The pictures I had found mostly used white fondant to cover the whole cake, and brown or blue fondant for the ears, tail, eyes, spots and nose, plus white fondant for the paws. I love making cake decorations out of fondant but I'm not really a fan of eating fondant as a cake icing. So instead, I decided to cover the head and body in vanilla buttercream. After I had spread the icing over the head and body (which I had baked in two small round pudding bowls of different sizes), I used the tip of my palette knife to create the fur effect. I used some chocolate buttercream for the spots, again using the palette knife to make it look furry, and I used fondant to make the other body parts. I put a toothpick into the base of the tail so it had something to hold onto the cake with but the other fondant pieces were just stuck to the buttercream. 

For the paws, I made the first one to the size I wanted it, and then I weighed it on my digital scales so I could make the other three paws the same size using the same weight of fondant. I used the back of a butter knife to score the paws to look like toes. 

The nose and eyes were just rolled by hand, and for the ears I cut one freehand out of a rolled out sheet of chocolate fondant, using a knife, and checked to see that it was a good size for the cake, and then I used that as a template to cut out the second ear. 

The cake itself was a gluten free caramel mud cake. I used a recipe from the Nestle Baker's Corner website, but wanted to make it a little bit special inside like the strawberry ombré cake and rainbow white choc mud cake I had made for my daughters' birthdays, so I in half of the mixture I substituted some of the flour for cocoa to make a darker brown, and used the same technique as the rainbow cake to create a striped effect inside the cake. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the inside of the cake though.

I thought that this little guy turned out pretty cute:

For the party food, I made jelly cups using blue lemonade jelly and added some small and large white choc buttons to make paw prints in the top of each one (these were added when the jelly was almost set so that they sat on top rather than dropping to the bottom, but stuck to the jelly a little bit so they didn't move around during transport):

I also had some Scooby Snack biscuits that I bought from the supermarket:

As the party was the day after my little boy's actual birthday I also made cupcakes for morning tea on the actual birthday using choc melts and choc bits to make paw prints like in the jelly cups:

And for daycare that week I made some mini cupcakes with chocolate paw prints on top. These ones used a choc bit for the centre of the paw, and 4 mini choc bits for the toes:

Birthday season is over for anther year! But my girls have already started talking about their birthdays next year ...

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