I did spend quite a long time mulling over what kind of cake to make for Lola this year. Should I make a meatloaf type cake (similar to what I had done in previous years) or should I just sear a fillet mignon and stick a candle in it?
In the end I went with the meatloaf birthday cake. Lola turned 4 today and we adopted her 2 years ago. When we first got her, I was slightly appalled that she had existed only on kibble previously. So since I love cooking (both for humans and all manner of creatures), I started to make food for her. Unfortunately that led to a crisis because we didn’t know that she had a lot of food allergies and over several weeks she started to have bloody stools and the vet confirmed that she had haemorrhagic colitis due to food allergies. So we had to go on an elimination diet and thankfully she could eat chicken and vegetables and we kept her faithfully on that for more than a year, then this year we started to gingerly let her try beef as well which has worked out quite well.
Of course the grand irony is that both my human kids had food allergies as babies and so I was not unfamiliar with the food elimination and avoidance process. Kid#1 was allergic to dairy, wheat, seafood and egg, and kid#2 was allergic to egg. And now kid#3 (a.k.a the dog) appears to be allergic to dairy and wheat as well.
Making Lola’s birthday cake has always been a bit of a challenge since I couldn’t use flour or eggs. So I used to make a kind of chicken meatloaf for her that always ended up rather dense in texture after baking (think of bowling balls…). But I had a bit of a brainwave and remembered that she could eat apples and this would not just be a great filler for her meat loaf but also the juice would make the meat loaf less dense and more moist.
The frosting was awesome because I found both purple and yellow sweet potatoes in the supermarket. The colours were so vibrant even after steaming and the blended sweet potatoes were easy to use as frosting and could even be piped onto the cake easily.
Lola really loved the cake but the funny thing was that the humans loved her cake too! Of course the ingredients are all human grade and it’s not surprising that the flavours were really natural and more than palatable even without seasoning. I think I can now set up a niche business of making healthy dog birthday cakes!
Doggy Birthday Cake
- 300g lean ground beef
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated
- 2 yellow medium-sized sweet potatoes (should weigh about 300-400g)
- 2 purple small-sized sweet potatoes (total 200g)
- 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
- Line 2 small cake tins (10-12 cm diameter)
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef and shredded apple together and fill up both tins with the meatloaf mixture. Tamp down the meat mixture firmly in the tins.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove for oven and allow it to cool.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks about 1-2 inches thick.
- Steam the sweet potatoes for 30 minutes. Carefully drain and blend the yellow and purple sweet potatoes separately.
- To assemble, remove the meatloaf cakes from the tins carefully and dab dry. Place the first patty on a serving plate and cover the upper surface with a 1 cm layer of yellow sweet potato.
- Put the other patty on top and continue to frost the whole cake with the yellow sweet potato. Pipe the purple sweet potato mash in florets in the edges of the cake. Before piping, make sure that the mash is not too thick. If not, you can thin it out with water or some of the fluid that you drained from steaming the sweet potatoes.
- Serve to your happy pup!