Friday, September 14, 2012

Dog Party!

A couple of weeks ago, my little [dog]brothers had a birthday! Naturally, I decided to throw a birthday party, complete with decorations, homemade treats, and favors for the guests (yes, I realize I have too much time on my hands!). Since it was Labor Day weekend, my brother and his family were coming down anyway and they brought their dogs so we were able to have a legitimate birthday bash.

I found the decorations at Party City and was really excited that I wasn't the only one throwing parties for dogs. There must be a market out there!

I used this Peanut Butter Delight dog birthday cake recipe, but used it to make "pup"cakes and topped them with the cinnamon frosting recipe (on the same page as the above link).

For the human guests, I made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels, and a delicious cream cheese pound cake with homemade caramel frosting.

*This frosting recipe tastes amazing, but looks like crap if you don't get it spread quickly enough. It hardens really fast and once it does, it will no longer spread properly.

Here is the recipe (from Anne Byrn's book, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns):

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Vegetable oil spray, for misting pans
Flour, for dusting pans
1 package plain yellow or vanilla cake mix (I used vanilla)
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened (I used nonfat)
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

1. Make the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, cream cheese, water, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the batter is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

3. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Let the layers cool while you make the frosting.

Caramel Frosting
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place the butter and brown sugars in a heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the milk, stir, and let the mixture return to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat.

3. Add about 1 1/4 cups of the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla. Beat with a whisk until the frosting is smooth. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, but not so much so that it thickens and hardens.

4. Ladle the frosting over the cake layers while it is still warm. If you are frosting cupcakes, spoon the frosting on top while it is warm and it will set.

The last little detail were the doggie bags I made using brown paper bags and a dog paw rubber stamp. I filled the human guest favor bags with candy and cookies. The dogs got a stuffed toy and a bag filled with dog treats.

The party was a big hit! All of the guests were worn out!

Have you ever thrown a party for your pet(s)? It's fun!