As I wind down my animal cake series, I knew I needed to make a puppy! To mix things up, I decided to make Pete with maple cake layers, and a maple buttercream. I also used some fondant accents to create his face, and a touch of cocoa to shade some of his fur. The recipe can be found below:
Maple Cake Batter:
- 3.25 cup flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
- 1.5 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. maple extract (optional)
- 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1.5 tsp. maple extract
- pink fondant
- white fondant
- black fondant
- grass piping tip
- small paint brush
- cocoa powder
- parchment paper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 8″ round pans.
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated.
Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.
While the layers bake, make the fondant cake decorations. I used just a touch of pink fondant to make a small tongue, and shaped an oval out of black fondant for the nose. I also used some circle cookie cutters for Pete’s eyes. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.
Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
To assemble the cake, frost each cake layer with yellow buttercream, and apply a thin crumb coat. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Make a small mound in the center of the cake for the puppy’s snout, and add two oblong mounts onto opposite sides of the cake for the puppies ears .
Place remaining frosting into a piping bag with a grass tip, and pipe “fur” onto the entire cake. Add fondant accents (eyes, nose, and tongue onto the cake. Place cake into the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the buttercream to firm. I also added a bit of cocoa to the tips of the ears and the snout using a small, clean paint brush.