Cake-less cake? With steak? Yes, please! This DIY dog birthday cake is a special birthday treat without any actual baked cake. It still looks great for a special party or celebration, but is simple to make and easily adjusted. You can change the size or ingredients to suit different dogs and diets without the usual baking worries of recipe substitutions. Here are the details on how to make our dog birthday steak cake, plus ideas and tips for ingredient and decoration swaps.
Humphrey's 7th Birthday Cake and Celebration
This cake was made for Humphrey’s 7th birthday celebration. It’s a tradition in our family to mark the milestones with cake. The dogs might not know it’s their birthday, but they do know that something extra special is happening. Especially when it’s dog cake baking time. Humphrey was particularly attentive to activity in the kitchen and at the grill during the preparation of this cake.
As shared in our introduction to making homemade birthday and celebration cakes for dogs, I enjoy making crazy cakes and the excitement our boys get from cake time, but special celebrations don’t require anything fancy. Just lots of love and whatever makes you and your pet happiest. The excitement factor is just part of the fun, and taste is definitely more important than looks for our taste-testers.
Inspiration for the Cake-Less Steak Cake
It started as a bit of a family joke about steak cake. But after many jokes, steak cake felt like a fun idea to make and share both with Humphrey and with our readers. We’ve shared many different types of dog cake ideas and recipes here on the blog with different ingredients, but this one is particularly easy for furfriends and their humans to adjust to suit different diets. There are no flours, grains, or other ingredients that are used to bake a conventional cake. There’s no baking required, ingredient functions like binding to worry about, or even any measurements to follow. This means that ingredients are very easily swapped or adjusted. And although Humphrey’s steak was lightly seared on the barbeque (a little less gory with the mashed potato), it could be raw for raw-fed pups.
Can there be such as thing as cake-less cake? Hmm… This steak cake looks like a cake, but fails the definition of a real cake. So I’m going with cake-less cake. And just cake for short. After all, the dogs won’t judge on names or looks. Just drool and yum factors.
Here in NZ we’re lucky to have relatively easy access to high-quality pasture-raised meat. Lean beef muscle meat is a yellow-purine food that we feed in moderation, usually as jerky in small quantity treats. A nibble of steak is a rare special indulgence, especially in Humphrey’s purine-moderated Dalmatian diet. He isn’t on a medically restricted diet or directed feeding protocol, but we still moderate his foods as a precaution. For more restrictive diets, the cake-less cake can be easily changed to another protein (more on that below). Humphrey enjoyed a special celebratory slice, and the rest was packed away for future enjoyment in small quantities.
As a note of caution for any Dalmatian pals with a history of stones or other dogs on restricted diets, steak may not be the right choice for your cake. It might also not be an option in some shopping budgets. In either case, not to worry. You can swap the meat with a similar prep, where suitable, or fully cook where required. I already have visions of a bacon wrapped round of chicken for a future cake. Haha! If your pup can’t have any muscle meats or fish, you could use a baked egg-based quiche instead if diet allows, or hop into our archives to look for some different cakes, treats, and recipe ideas. There are lots of alternatives.
Serving size for any food or treat depends on your dog and their usual diet. You can adjust the size of the cake you make or cut before serving to better suit your individual needs. There was no full-sized cake smash for the birthday boy here. Humphrey is on a bit of a doggy diet to maintain his weight, plus we limit his beef consumption as noted above. This cake was sliced into eight mini servings for a special birthday treat, with the remainder store for future small servings.
Decoration and Garnish
The steak cakes were decorated with mashed potato frosting and shredded carrot. Carrot is one of Humphrey’s favourite veggies. It adds extra colour for us silly humans, scent/flavour to the cake, and extra height to the thinnish steak cakes without overloading on potato. The mini celery sticks were freshly harvested from a baby plant in our home garden just for looks. Humphrey does eat celery, but isn’t keen on leafy tips. Although there was always a chance that they might be nibbled when served with yummy beef. This time they were licked and discarded, as were the strawberries, surprisingly. Humphrey is a berry hunter and I thought they’d be a tasty addition. These were defrosted from frozen as it’s mid-winter here, so perhaps they weren’t up to his discerning berry standards.
The cake was topped with a simple bone-shaped gummy treat. It’s from a birthday batch of simple stock gelatin gummy dog treats made using with diluted homemade chicken stock and turmeric powder. Humphrey loves gummies and they’re quick healthy treats. We always have some sort of homemade gummy dog treats on hand in the fridge.
Making the Dog Birthday Steak Cake
Cake-Less Dog Birthday Steak Cake with Mashed Potato Frosting
There is no recipe for this cake-less cake, but I’ve included the ingredient list as well as step-by-step photos with instructions that you can adapt for your own custom cake-less cake preparations. See above for ideas on ingredient swaps and adjustments.
- Steak or other lean meat (see above)
- Potato, mashed
- Carrot, grated
- Optional dog-friendly edible decorations or garnish.
Preparing the Cake:
- Cut your meat into cake-shaped rounds. Save those yummy offcuts for other cooking, for people or for pets.
- Lightly grill or sear to seal the meat. This is optional if you feed raw, but beware that your mashed potato frosting may discolour quickly if using raw steak. Humphrey’s steak cake was served rare, but different meats may require more thorough cooking for safety. Adjust if/as required.
- Cool prior to decoration. To avoid bleed-through into the mashed potato, it’s best to decorate the cake as close to your planned party and serving as possible.
- Construct your layer cake, applying mashed potato frosting between each layer. In the middle, I just a small quantity of mashed potato with the carrot to help hold the carrot and the cakes in place.
- Frost the exterior with additional mashed potato, garnish (optional) to decorate, and refrigerate until you are ready to display and serve. If chilled, pampered pooches might enjoy their slice of cake warmed slightly for extra smell and flavour.
Dog-Friendly Cake Making Tips and Tricks
- See our comprehensive post on homemade birthday and special occasion dog cakes for additional information on types of cakes, decorating ideas, storage, and more.
- Meat can be prepared in advance and stored refrigerated short term (or frozen longer term) and then decorated for the party. Leftovers can be cut into bite-sized snacks and refrigerated or frozen.
Recipe and Ingredient Tips and Tricks
- Not in the mood to mash? Instant mashed potato makes a very quick and easy option for frosting / icing dog cakes. It has a nice smooth consistency and can be easily adjusted to be thinner (additional liquid) or thicker (additional flakes).
- See our intro post on making birthday and special occasion dog cakes for different frosting and decorating ideas, or browse through the other DIY dog cakes and pupcakes for ideas.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our archives. You can also use the category and tag labels above/below this post to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.
Join the pawty at Humphrey’s 7th birthday celebration posts:
Looking for more celebration fun? Explore our milestone posts to grow up with the dogs and our blog over the years. You can also find all of our birthday-related content under the dog birthday party post category or explore the related topics below. Woofs!