There’s a leather-bound calendar I take with me from job to job, errand to errand, project to project. During my diligent spells, I carve out time to write the best part of my day, a simple gesture of gratitude meant to push me toward the positive side of life. More often than not, those notable moments revolve around my best friend, my Julep.
Whether it’s the way she dives into the skate bowl to retrieve a ball, plays fetch with herself on a hill, curls into bed for snuggles, lovingly cleans her oversized plush twin, or the way she scooches across the floor in pursuit of a treat, my fur baby fills me with more smiles than I ever thought possible. She is my compass, and her needle always points me toward happiness.
Julep makes a few other appearances in my leather-bound calendar- most notably on Earth Day, April 22nd, which marks my fur baby’s birthday. It’s fitting that my little pup entered the world on the one day we designate for Mother Nature. Julep’s love for running has often pushed me to appreciate the woods, open expanses and even gray, snowy winter days. The way she nestles into the first sun rays of spring also reminds me to appreciate the seasons and simple pleasures.
Birthdays in my world are cause for celebration, and as Julia Child famously said, “A party without cake is just a meeting,” so Julep’s Earth Day birthday required cake- a dog appropriate cake.
My deep love for my four-legged kitchen companion has had me researching all sorts of recipes and dog food schools of thought. There’s no short answer when it comes to what’s the best way to feed her, but I’ve seen how simply adding meats, veggies and the occasional grain to Julep’s kibble has improved her coat and kept her teeth looking pearly. My goal is to move away from kibble completely, so her fourth birthday was a good excuse to experiment with baking for my best girl.
… and she looooved it!
Nutrient-dense beef liver, breath-freshening parsley, sunflower seeds and whole grains meant this cake was for Julep only (think dense meatloaf, and have a slice if you insist), but she didn’t seem too keen on sharing anyway.
Dogs are a HUGE responsibility and finding the right dog is important, as is spoiling that special one when he or she comes along. They fill our lives with such pure, unconditional love, so we owe it to them to put extra care into what we feed them, especially on birthdays. Here’s to many, many, many more birthdays with my special one!
p.s: I don’t want the Urban Farmer to feel left out. He brings me a lot of happiness too, especially when he paints portraits of Julep!
Savory Liver & Parsley Birthday Cake for Dogs
About this Recipe: Organ meats are nutrient dense, so while you could use a ground chicken, turkey, or beef to make this recipe come together more easily, beef liver is a wholesome choice. Parsley helps with bad breath, and honey helps dogs combat spring allergies just like humans.
3/4 cup beef liver, chopped in 1-inch chunks (from local free-range cows)
1 cup organic sprouted spelt flour (recommended: One Degree Organic Foods)
1/2 cup organic oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup organic greek yogurt
2 eggs, beaten (organic/non-gmo/cage-free)
8 oz organic cream cheese
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon local honey
1-2 Tablespoons organic heavy cream
Extra flat-leaf parsley for garnish, optional
Minty dog bone for garnish, optional
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch springform pan with coconut oil.
Combine the liver chunks, spelt flour, oats, sunflower seeds, and yogurt in a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter to work the liver into the mixture.
Add the eggs, and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before frosting.
For the Frosting
Combine the cream cheese, chopped parsley, honey and cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high until combined and slightly fluffy.
Frost the cake, and garnish with parsley and a bone.
To serve, cut off a piece and break into chunks for your dog. Don’t let them dive in, since the parsley might be difficult to chew. The loose parsley and bone are for garnish only. The bone can be a treat for a later time.
Disclaimer: This recipe is based on research I have done into homemade dog food diets, but I’m not a vet or a veterinary nutritionist, so consult your vet before adding homemade recipes to your dog’s diet.