Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pug Cake

Our housemate and sister-in-law (well, Allen's sister-in-law, my brother-in-law's wife, whatever) Alishia has a pug named Dink.  Ruby LOVES Dink, or Dinky as she calls her.  I decided that for Ruby's birthday  day cake (as opposed to birthday party with friends on Saturday cake) I would make her a pug cake.  Here's how it turned out:

In case you would like to replicate this adorable monstrosity, here's how I did it.
You will need:
*a box of cake mix of your choice (but chocolate worked well to be the color of the muzzle) and its sundry ingredients
*vanilla frosting
*peanut butter (or caramel or brown food coloring, something to tint the vanilla frosting tan)
*a pyrex mixing bowl (pyrex is oven safe)
*A red gummy candy for the tongue (if your store has a bulk bin section, look there)
*Chocolate covered cranberries (or raisins, almonds, etc.) for the eyes and nose (ditto on the bulk bin advice)
*2 tortilla chips for ears
*chocolate frosting 
*wooden skewer (for testing doneness and also making forehead wrinkles)

1. Preheat oven to whatever the cake mix requires
2.  Grease the pyrex mixing bowl well; make the cake according to the directions and pour batter into the pyrex bowl.
3. Bake the cake.  It will probably take a longer than normal time because of the depth of the cake in the bowl.  You can test doneness by poking the wooden skewer down into the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, it's done.
4.  Carefully remove cake from bowl and let it cool--in dome position--on a rack.  I recommend letting it cool overnight and/or in a fridge.  The stiffer the cake, the easier it is to frost.
After it has cooled completely...
5. Whip together vanilla frosting (half a can will probably do) with enough peanut butter or other colorant until the frosting is a nice tan color, like on a fawn pug.  Warning: too much peanut butter will affect the ability of the frosting to stick to the cake properly, as it will cause the vanilla frosting to coagulate somewhat.
6. Carefully spread on the tan frosting, leaving a lower semicircle "blank" for a muzzle (or, you could use chocolate frosting to create the muzzle, if you like)
7. Pick two tortilla chips that look like folded over pug ears and frost them with chocolate frosting; affix them where ears should go.
8.  Place chocolate-covered cranberries in place for eyes and nose.  
9.  Use skewer to draw a little smile line and make a small opening for a tongue.  Place the gummy candy for the tongue.  
10.  Use skewer to add wrinkles to the "forehead" of the cake.  

As I said in my Facebook post, I'm really terrible at icing cakes.  If my life depending on me creating a smooth and crumb-free frosted cake, well, I'd probably be a dead woman.  But thankfully, pugs are very wrinkly and mottled creatures, so even the most crumb-y and ruffled frosting application will not be out of place here!  I'm not sure I'm ready for Cake Boss, but I feel proud of this birthday cake!
The sad irony of it all: Ruby hasn't had any yet! She just got too weepy and exhausted before we sang "Happy Birthday" or cut the cake and she was actually asking to go to bed and read stories.  Oh well. I'm sure next year she'll be more aware of the whole birthday phenomenon.  She may even be old enough to request some kind of cake concoction from me.  I mentioned earlier that she's having a birthday party with friends on Saturday: I'm planning to make a horse cake for that occasion.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I am not liberated by technology sometimes.  You know how in the olden days, when phones were connected to your house, you would "sit by the phone" waiting for that important call?  Nowadays it's obsessively checking your email inbox every few minutes to see if you got that important email, or panicking if your cell phone is in another room and you perhaps missed the important call.
I've applied for a few jobs for next year that look good and so far haven't heard back.  Kind of discouraging.  I don't know if my position at MRA will be renewed, so I'm keeping my eyes on Craigslist a lot.  Too much, probably.  I just have to remind myself that God's got this and He has a good plan for what is next...I'm just not privy to it at this moment.  Uncertainty is a pain like that.
Okay, time to liberate my daughter from her room where she was supposed to be napping but has instead been playing.  At least she's been playing happily and has allowed me to get some work done and let Max snooze in his swing.  I can't believe I'm headed back to work time off has gone by very fast!  Max is 5 weeks old already.  I know, I'm behind on posting pictures.  I'll get on that...