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
*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
*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!