Alien Dog Cake for Peo

Last February I got to volunteer in Mike McCarey’s (aka the Cake God, even though he doesn’t like it when we call him that, thus proving how much more deserving he is of the title) classes after the Austin cake show. In one of them, he showed how to make various sturdy stands, including one for a dog cake. At the end, he didn’t want to have to travel back home with assembled wooden frames with pointy bits (because Mike is also sensible enough to not provoke the TSA), so he gave me the sample stands from the class. Also, because he is awesome and super-nice.

When I came home with the stands and showed them to my daughter, she asked, “Can the dog one be an alien dog cake?”

I said, “Absolutely.”

She asked, “Can it be for my birthday?”

I said, “Sure.”

In the ensuing months, her entire party ended up based around a space theme. Her teacher from last year hooked us up with a real astronomer who came and spoke to the kids with some amazingly awesome visual aids (he put planet stickers on a streamer roll to indicate distance scale, had markers for colours of planets on foam balls, plus a big telescope!). And there was, of course, Alien Dog cake.

I’ve been making this cake all week plus doing other party prep, so I’m exhausted. I’ll post some pics quickly below but not go into too much detail, or else I’ll never get to finishing the post before I crash out! But I did post here about how the scales were made, including a video, and that’s a really easy method that yields great results, so go check it out. Other than that, it’s a huskier version of Mike’s dog cake but more or less follows his methodology except for the colour, plus the seven gummy eyes and the seven tails holding birthday candles (both at Peo’s request).

Dog Cake - In Progress - Frame

The cake carved and buttercreamed on the frame.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Modelling Chocolate 1

Modelling chocolate features added. The dark fondant was just to keep the head from sinking into the cake.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Modelling Chocolate 2

More modelling chocolate features.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Modelling Chocolate 3

Detail of the modelling chocolate head.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Adding Fondant

Fondant over one side, but not the head yet. Mike can do this all in one go, or even an entire half including the head. I am not that good.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Fondant Covered 1

Completely covered in fondant.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Fondant Covered 2

Fondant work from the front.

Dog Cake - In Progress - Fondant Covered 3

Fondant covering from the back. I just did a rough seam up between the two fondant halves, because I knew I’d be covering it with scales, but in not bothering to make it smooth I realized I’d accidentally learned how to make a doggy spine. I mean…I totally meant to do that. Yes. I absolutely intended to make it a nice spine even though I was covering it. Yes. Move along and pay no mind to my shifty eyes…

Dog Cake - In Progress - Airbrushed 1

Airbrushed, and this was my second airbrushing of a cake ever, my first time with my own at home. Peo even helped and learned how to stand back and take her time with it. It’s far from a perfect job but not bad for some newbies!

Dog Cake - In Progress - Head Detail

I added disco dust to the nose because I had some, and hey, shouldn’t alien dog noses sparkle?

Dog Cake - In Progress - Back

Again, I totally meant to make that spine look so spiney. Yup. Expert. * shifty eyes *

Dog Cake - In Progress - Airbrushed Side

So much of an expert that I failed to wipe the water off of the airbrush after changing colours and it dripped on the dog’s shoulder, so I had to re-go over that bit and it left a scar mark anyway. I mean…no…I meant to do that too, because this dog is a heroic Space Alien Dog who has been through battle. Yes. * eyes shifting so hard that I appear quite mad *

Dog Cake - Scales

Originally Peo wanted scales all over the dog, but then later said she wanted more skin exposed. So I just did three lines of scales down the back, rotating them to create waves of the gradient colour.

Dog Cake - Face Detail

Here’s the finished face, including a fondant tongue and seven gummy eyes (three red and four black, just as the birthday girl requested). I normally attach gummy with piping gel, which makes for a good wetness barrier, but mine had gone mouldy so I tried just attaching them while very tired and forgot that fresh gummy is too wet and eats its way through fondant. So when I discovered a half hour later that the eyes were weeping (heh), I took them off, cleaned up the face, re-airbrushed, and left the gummies off until morning. Then I applied them with buttercream, which worked well enough.

Dog Cake - Complete

The completed cake. I added some little plunger-cut stars to the cake board, which I’d let get black withe the airbrush to hide other various stains that had gotten on it during construction, so adding little stars seemed like a good way to emphasize the space thing.

Dog Cake - Park 1

The cake at the park where we had the party. The second cake was a request to use some Luck’s images and pre-made shapes I had been given from another event. We pretended it was the dog’s dish. I’d have done a better buttercream job on it except that I was making it in the wee hours of the morning and decided nobody would care what that looked like relative to the dog. And I was right…they didn’t.

Dog Cake - Park 2

The dog and his dish. Oh, and that fancy glass cake stand? That’s a martini glass I got at Goodwill, turned upside-down and silicone glued to an 8″ microwave turntable I also found at Goodwill.

Dog Cake - Park 3

Woof bloody woof. (That’s a very nerdy joke. If you know the reference, you’re one of us…)

Dog Cake - Cutting

Peo cuts the dog cake with a bit of help from me while some anonymized friends look on.

Dog Cake - No More

The cake removed from the frame. Some of the kids remarked that it was the best dog they’d ever tasted. When I pointed out that I’d cut from the bottom first so most of them were eating dog butt, they were all too happy to shout, “Ewwww!” but keep eating.

I also made cake balls to go to Peo’s class on Friday:

Meteor Cake Balls

Everything that got cut off the cake during carving was reserved and then turned into cake balls, covered in real white chocolate melted and mixed with enough semi-sweet plus some blue colour to make a gray paste. I then added other random sprinkles, coloured sugar, and chocolate chunks to make it lumpy and variable, and then did my usual terrible job of covering cake balls except this time the lumpiness was a feature! Woot for playing your weaknesses as strengths! I then sprinkled crushed gingerbread men sprinkles and chopped chocolate chunks on top.

So there you have it. This post is more rambly and unedited than usual because I’m falling asleep over here…nap time!

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This entry was posted in Cake Decorating, Experimental Techniques, Fancy cakes, General Freakishness, Severe Nerdery, Working With Kids. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Alien Dog Cake for Peo

  1. GinevraCat says:

    Yay! It's a phenomenal cake! I am so in awe!

  2. Bunny Roberts says:

    Personally, I think you deserve a "Mother of The Year". Award. The cake is great!!!! Thank you for generously sharing your talents with us.

  3. The_L says:

    Space theme? Sounds like the best 7th birthday party ever! 🙂

    The dog cake is wonderful, too. When I have kids, this website is off-limits. I don’t want to have to live up to your wonderful-but-time-consuming cake ideas!

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