A different kind of birthday cake—Peanut Butter Pup recipe

Pictured here is the writer’s dog Gus, looking wistful at the prospect of tasting another homemade cake for his birthday. He happens to share our passion for peanut butter./ Courtesy of Aidan Zola

The first time I ever saw my dog Gus, he was snoring peacefully in my mom’s lap. He only weighed about eight pounds and his little head fit perfectly in the crook of her arm. While his brothers and sisters trundled around adventurously, pawing the occasional dead leaf or speck of dirt, he was content with napping. I fell in love with him.

Almost a decade later, Gus is still a huge part of my life. He’s been my pillow, and he recently earned his therapy license so he can comfort even more people! In May, he’ll be turning eight, and I want to help him ring in his senior status and celebrate his achievements in the best way possible: making a birthday cake.

I know that making a cake for a dog is a bit ridiculous, but I think most of us can admit that we spoil our pets at one point or another. So, if you’ve got a couple of overripe bananas on hand and you’re not embarrassed to throw a birthday party for your dog, why not put together this Peanut Butter Pup recipe?

First, figure out how much your dog can have of this cake since it’s not exactly a one-to-one match for the average Milk-Bone. If you’ve got a pooch as big as Gus, for example, you can probably get away with making this entire recipe and have no issue. However, if your full-grown dog weighs less than 10 pounds, you may want to consider scaling down to cupcake size.

Start with a cup of whole-wheat flour (if your dog is a health nut just like you, maybe try a grain-free substitute like chickpea or coconut flour). Next, add one teaspoon of baking soda.

After you’ve combined the dry ingredients, it’s time to crack open what your dog has been waiting for: the peanut butter. In a separate bowl, mix together a quarter cup of the nut butter with a quarter cup of vegetable oil. For some texture, add a cup of shredded carrots—not to mention that this is the only way most dogs will happily eat their vegetables. For the rest of the wet ingredients, beat in a third cup of honey, one egg and one teaspoon vanilla.

Make sure to combine the dry and wet mixtures, and pour the batter into an appropriately sized pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for around 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. While it’s baking, prepare the frosting.

In a medium-sized bowl, whip together eight ounces of cream cheese, one or two ripe mashed bananas and one teaspoon of cinnamon. At this point, if your dog hasn’t come to investigate for floor crumbs or peanut butter, they’ll probably come to at least poke a snout around the corner. After all, it’s not every day that your pet gets to lick the frosting spoon.

Once the cake is done baking, let it stand in the pan for about five minutes and then pop it onto a cooling rack. If you’re really going all out and having the neighbors over for the party, you can start decorating now while you wait for the cake to cool down! Not saying I’ve ever bought party hats specifically made for dogs (I have), or draped streamers around for Gus’s big day (I have), but you can definitely get creative with this part. Your dog will at least be interested in the colorful trinkets and banners.

When you decide the cake has cooled enough, you can either cut it into funky shapes or leave it as is—your dog won’t care either way! Spread the frosting evenly with a flat-edged spatula, and add whatever toppings your pet loves best.

Finally, gather the guests and birthday pup around, and watch your masterpiece disappear. After many years of hearing us sing “Happy Birthday,” Gus knows to come running whenever he even thinks he hears the melody. Once your dog gets a taste of this treat, they’ll probably feel the same way!

 

Ingredients

 

Cake:

1 cup of whole-wheat flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1 cup of shredded carrots

1/4 cup of peanut butter

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

1/3 cup of honey

1 egg

1 tsp of honey

 

Frosting:

8 oz of cream cheese

1-2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp of cinnamon

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