♫ Listening to: I Want You Back by The School ♫
I promise that no dog food was used in this 2-layer 8” or 9” round chocolate puppy chow birthday cake. I recommend spending 2 days to make this cake, rather than trying to do it all in the same day. You’ll thank me later. (On day 1: I baked the cakes and made the puppy chow. On day 2, I made the filling, the frosting, and decorated it). You can also assemble the cake with a crumb coat and freeze it for up to a week. Then you can decorate it the day you need it. That saves a ton of time on party days when you’re already busy.
If you like chocolate cake, you might also like my chocolate ombré cake.
Vegan Puppy Chow Ingredients
- a 12 ounce bag of vegan chocolate chips (around 2 cups)
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups vegan powdered sugar
- 12 ounces (around 9 cups) of vegan chex-like cereal (I used exactly half a box of the Barbara’s multigrain spoonfuls cereal because they had a cute shape)
Vegan Puppy Chow Directions
Heat the vegan chocolate chips and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat until completely smooth and melted.
Pour the 12 ounces of cereal into the largest bowl you have.
Pour the melted peanut butter chocolate over the cereal and mix until all the cereal is completely coated.
Fill a clean produce or ziplock bag with a cup of powdered sugar.
Transfer half the coated cereal to the bag.
Close the bag, and shake it really well until all the cereal is coated.
Spread the puppy chow on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cutting board, or whatever else you have so that it can dry before you put it away in air tight containers.
Add another cup of powdered sugar to the bag and repeat with the rest of the coated cereal.
Vegan Chocolate Cake Ingredients
- 2 cups soymilk (or use any nondairy milk)*
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
- 2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅔ cup sunflower oil (or sub any vegetable oil)
- 1 ½ cups vegan, organic, or raw sugar*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vegan Chocolate Cake Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Coat two 8" round cake pans with any vegetable oil (or vegan nonstick spray).
Combine vinegar and soymilk and let sit.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder , baking soda, and baking powder into another bowl.
Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla to the soymilk mixture, and stir well.
Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet, mixing continuously. Stop mixing when you can no longer see any dry ingredients.
Pour half of the batter into each cake pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until when you insert a toothpick into the center of one, it comes out clean. Don’t open the oven door until you’re ready to test the cake for doneness; opening the oven door too soon could cause your cake to sink.
Set 8" round cake pans on cooling rack to cool in the pans for at least 10-15 minutes before flipping them over onto the cooling racks. I always use the same method for removing my cakes from their pans: shimmy a silicone spatula down the sides of the pan so they curl under the cake. Do this all the way around the perimeter of the cake.
Vegan Peanut Butter Filling Ingredients
- ½ cup vegan butter or margarine (if you avoid soy, buy the soy-free earth balance; otherwise buy the organic whipped earth balance)*
- ¼ cup organic palm shortening (I use spectrum)*
- ½ cup peanut butter (I like the whole foods brand organic one)
- ¼ cup of nondairy milk (I’ve used almond and soymilk, and they both work well)
- 2 cups organic powdered sugar*
Vegan Peanut Butter Filling Directions
Prep time: 20 minutes
Sift in powdered sugar, a cup at a time, adding plant-based milk when it gets too thick.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large tip (or no tip) and set aside until the cakes have cooled completely.
Pipe the peanut butter filling on top of one of the 2 cake layers. If the cakes aren’t flat on top, use a bread knife to slice the hump off the tops of both cakes first, and put the cut side towards the bottom.
Press puppy chow into the peanut butter filling before topping with the second layer of cake.
Frost the entire outside of the cake by piping the remaining filling all over the outside of the cake and then spreading with an offset spatula .
Chill the cake for at least the time it takes you to prepare the frosting.
Vegan Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- ¾ cup vegan butter or margarine (if you avoid soy, buy the soy-free earth balance; otherwise buy the organic whipped earth balance)*
- ¾ cup organic palm shortening (I use spectrum)*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 cups organic powdered sugar*
- vegan food coloring (I used blue, purple, green, and white)
Vegan Buttercream Frosting Directions
prep time: 20 minutes; frosting time: 10 minutes; total time: 30 minutes
Leave the vegan butter at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before starting, if you have time. This isn’t mandatory, but it helps the consistency.
Whisk the spectrum sustainable organic palm shortening , vegan butter, and vanilla for 1 minute using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides, and mix again until light and fluffy.
Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing for at least minute between each addition. Start the mixer on the lowest setting so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly everywhere and then gradually increase the speed to high. After mixing in the third and fifth cups, scrape the sides with a silicone spatula, and mix again.
Divide the frosting into 4 separate bowls.
Frost the entire outside of the cake.
Spin the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth out the frosting.
Vegan White Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
- 6 ounces vegan white chocolate
- 2 ounces canned coconut milk
- vegan pink food coloring
Vegan White Chocolate Ganache Directions
Heat the coconut milk on the stove until it starts to simmer.
Add the vegan white chocolate and then remove from heat, cover the pot, and swirl it around.
Wait for 5 minutes before uncovering and whisking the ganache until smooth and melted.
Add the wilton pink gel color and mix well.
Cool the ganache for around 15 minutes before decorating cake.
Decorating the Vegan Puppy Chow Cake
Spoon ganache around the perimeter of the cake at one-inch intervals to get the perfect size drips to start falling down the sides of your cake. Check out the tutorial on my grasshopper cake to see how I do my ganache.
Fill the top of the cake once you have all the drips on the sides. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the ganache on the top. You can also tap the entire cake on the counter to get the spatula lines to settle.
Chill the cake while you prepare the decorations. If you want sprinkles on top of your ganache, add them before you chill the cake.
Fill a piping bag with the remaining frosting.
Gather sprinkles or any other decorative treats you plan to use.
Remove the cake from the fridge.
Pipe frosting on top of the cake using a Wilton star tip 1M and around the perimeter of the cake as you choose. I did a waterfall effect with mine.
Decorate with sprinkles and puppy chow.
Here’s a (very long) video of me and Kimmy live streaming while decorating it.
* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook, but I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to purchase all organic ingredients. Therefore, I only specify organic on the ingredients that really matter - when buying the organic version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.