Happy Birthday Otto

Otto is my best friend, he's also my dog. Ever since I can remember, I've had a strong love for dogs, sometimes I really like dogs more than people. My first word was WOOF... just to give you an idea.

When I was one year old, my dad took me to pick out a dog. I chose a Golden Retriever and we named him Brighton. We did everything together. We played dress up by wearing beaded necklaces and high heels (yes, Brighty wore both well), we went roller blading together (even if he pulled me so fast I fell and scraped both my knees), and we ate dog biscuits together (yes I ate them too sometimes). Brighton lived a wonderful long life of fifteen years. I was sixteen when we said goodbye, and I never thought I'd have a best friend like that again - until I met Otto. 

When we found Otto I was casually looking at puppies - that's a thing right? I thought I'd always get a Golden Retriever for my next dog, however we lived in a small duplex by the beach and we had no yard or room for a big dog. So, when a friend of mine had a French Bulldog and another one a Puggle, I found myself falling in love with smoosh faced dogs. When I found Otto online one day, it was only a matter of an hour before Delaney and I had gone to the ATM, taken out cash, and drove to Temecula to "just look at him". We had never seen a 3/4 Pug and 1/4 Basset Hound before, but that's what he is. We met both his parents and the dog breeders, and we fell in love immediately. We took him home that day with no preparations at all. We left him in Delaney's car while we ran into the pet store to buy "stuff". We weren't even exactly sure what we were buying. When we came back to the car and found him sitting next to his own poop, all we could do was laugh. That was only a preview for all the laughter this small dog would bring us.

I always said I was going to name my first kid Otto. It is my dad's middle name, and his Dad's name. However, when we brought Otto home, he just looked so much like an Otto. We tried to think of a different name for him but we just couldn't find one. So, Otto stuck. My dad was happy because he doesn't really like the name, and didn't want me to name my kid that anyways. Now that I'm pretty sure I'm not having kids, I'm so glad I went with the name because I love it, and it just fits him perfectly. 

When I looked at Otto's birth certificate from the breeders and saw April 24th, I knew it was really meant to be. April 24th was Brighty's birthday too. Now, I've been saying this since I've had Otto - that maybe he's Brighton's soul reincarnated into this adorable little Pughound and he's come back to be my best friend again. You may think that sounds crazy, but isn't there a movie that just came out about exactly that - A Dog's Purpose? Just saying... I've been a crazy dog girl my whole life and it's only gone to a whole new level since I've had Otto.

So, today is Otto's 10th birthday! And I have made him plenty of cakes in his life. When we lived in Huntington Beach I used to make a big cake and have a party at Dog Beach every year. Delaney would even design an invite for it and we'd hand them out to our friends with dogs. But since Otto is 10 today, I wanted to share this extra special cake and celebrate him. He's been my best friend for 10 years and I love spending every second of my free time with him. You can make this Dog Cake and Cupcakes by following the recipe below, it makes a 6-inch cake and a dozen cupcakes. Perfect for any dog party and your dog will love it! 

Dog Cake & Cupcakes

Makes 3 Layer 6-inch Cake and 12 Cupcakes (or Pupcakes, as we call them)


142 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) organic honey

340 grams (scant 1 1/4 cups) organic peanut butter

425 grams (15 ounce can) organic pumpkin

4 organic large eggs

284 (2 1/4 cups) grams organic all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting & Topping

organic peanut butter

organic strawberries for topping

Method Preheat oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the honey, peanut butter, pumpkin and eggs. Mix on low until combined.

Add the flour to mixing bowl and sprinkle the baking soda on top of the flour. Mix on low until combined.

Line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Weigh cake batter into each pan, about 284 grams each. Spread evenly.

Line a cupcake pan with liners and scoop remaining batter into each cupcake liner, fill three-quarters full.

Bake the cupcakes and cake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the cake pans. If your cake domed a little, you can trim it so it’s flat (that’s what I did).

Place the first cake layer on a cake stand and spread peanut butter evenly, top with second cake layer and repeat.

Once peanut butter is spread on the top of the cake, top with a cut strawberry.

Frost the cupcakes with peanut butter and top with a slice of strawberry.

Now it’s time to have a sweet dog party!

Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Gluten Free - Replace the organic flour for 284 grams (1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) of an organic gluten free flour blend

High Altitude - Bake at 350°F for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.