My daughter wanted a Dalmatian Puppy Cake for her 5th birthday. I couldn’t find any designs that I liked, so I created my own 3-D design.

Ingredients:

2 boxes cake mix (I used Devil’s Food in keeping with the black/white theme)

¾ c. shortening

¼ c. water

1/8 tsp. salt

4 c. powdered sugar

4 Twinkies

Chocolate chips

Red “Fruit by the Foot”

Thick rope-style black licorice (I used Darrell Lea brand)

Supplies:

Loaf pan (5” X 9”)

Oven-proof custard cup or bowl (I used a 2cup Pyrex dish about 4 ¾” in diameter)

Plastic eyes

Instructions:

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into loaf pan and custard cup coated with cooking spray. Use the extra batter to make some “bonus” cupcakes (frost them white and stud with chocolate chips to match the cake). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (the loaf pan takes quite a while).

To make frosting, whip together shortening, water, salt and powdered sugar. Use an electric mixer and let it whip until the frosting is fluffy. If you use butter instead of shortening, the white color will not be as bright.

To assemble cake, place the loaf-pan cake on a large platter upside-down (narrower part on top). Trim the Twinkies and place two as back legs and two as front legs. If you cut the ends at an angle they will lay flush against the cake. Place the custard-cup cake on the front of the loaf pan, using the Twinkie front legs to support its weight. If it needs more support, you could anchor with toothpicks, but I didn’t need to. Cover the entire cake in frosting.

Place the chocolate chips around for Dalmatian spots (put the tip of the chip in first to get perfect circles). Put a one-inch piece of licorice in the back for a tail. Using a rolling pin, flatten three other pieces of licorice and trim to appropriate shape for the ears and nose. Wrap a length of Fruit by the Foot for the dog collar and small piece for the tongue. Place the eyes in the center of the face.