Pupcakes are the perfect treat to celebrate your pooch! They are made with bacon, cheese, applesauce and zucchini and feature a cream cheese frosting.
Pixel the Border Collie
Today we’re celebrating Pixel’s first birthday with pupcakes! She turned one last Wednesday and I thought it was a great opportunity to bake her something special.
Our first year with Pixel has been the BEST! She’s super smart, loving, hard working, playful and eager to please. It’s been a blur, but I can’t imagine braving 2020 without her. Her playfulness keeps us positive and constantly moving. So much so, we started her an Instagram page to document our adventures together.
Here is my girl sitting on the porch on her birthday. Gosh, I love her so much my heart could burst! I’ve always wanted a border collie, so I can say that my year with her has been a dream come true.
Let’s take a look back. This is our little fluff ball at 8 weeks old. I could hold her with one hand! Don’t you just wanna say awwwwww? Little angel. They grow up too fast!
Pixel’s a big girl now. Her special skills include cat herding and prop assisting. She is also a frisbee athlete, nighttime head warmer, alarm clock, customer service agent, dog model, neighborhood greeter, treasure hunter and trail blazer.
Pixel works hard and plays hard so this good girl deserves her birthday treats!!!!
I call these funfetti pupcakes because there’s grated zucchini, cheddar and bacon in the batter so they look like they have sprinkles inside them. And they are sugar free because I want her teeth to stay pearly white.
Pixel sampled some of my early test batches, but I didn’t “frost” any of them until her birthday. She couldn’t decide which pupcake to lick first! So she started by licking all of them! Finally she laid into one.
Once Kevin pulled off the wrapper, she devoured it in seconds. “I HAZ CUPCAKE!”
Do you see those eyes! I wish I could post all the pictures because it was so funny. It was joy overload!
This is her “can I have another” look. We let her eat two. Then we went to the dog park to see her friends. It was a fun birthday for our perfect Pixel!
How to make dog cupcakes
Making pupcakes is like making muffins. You can make the “cake” with just a bowl and a spatula. Pretty standard stuff here, just a bowl of dry ingredients that you add the the wet ingredients. It’s super easy to mix by hand and then use a disher to scoop into cupcake liners.
The pooches will love anything you bake for them, but just like cake a muffins you want to be careful to not over mix the batter or it might tunnel or get tough. Just fold until most of the flour is mixed into the batter.
For the cream cheese “frosting” I did use a mixer to make it fluffy and then piped it onto the cakes. Put a dog treat on top and they are super pretty!
But softened cream cheese is also easy to frost by hand with an offset spatula. Dogs don’t care what they look like! They can smell the BACON!!!!!
Ingredients and Substitutions
I used ingredients that are dog friendly to make these pupcakes. If you make any substitutions be sure to check ingredient labels. Many things that are safe for humans like xylitol, walnuts and garlic are poisonous to dogs.
Flour → I typically buy dog treats without flour, but these are celebration pupcakes. I have not tried these with other flours.
Eggs → Eggs are healthy for dogs. Lots of good protein to balance out the richness of the bacon.
Applesauce → I used unsweetened applesauce as a sugar replacement because dogs don’t need sweeteners. Do not replace this ingredient with artificial sweeteners..they are TOXIC to dogs.
Buttermilk → Buttermilk is a magic baking ingredient. It makes cakes more tender and moist. Sour cream and unsweetened yogurt are other 1 to 1 options. But you could use milk instead and skip the baking soda in the recipe.
Butter → Butter makes everything taste better. Dogs know this too! If you’d like to use vegetable or canola instead, I’d use 7 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon of water since butter is 80% fat and 20% water.
Zucchini → The zucchini is adding moisture to the pupcakes. But you can use any variety of summer squash. Grated carrot would be good too.
Bacon → Dogs LOVE bacon. But you could also use ham or cooked ground beef or chicken.
Cheddar cheese → Any melty cheese like monterey jack, swiss, or mozzarella would be good in the recipe.
Cream cheese → This is the “frosting” component. If you’re concerned about fat, you could substitute mashed potatoes.
Cheese powder → I used the cheese powder to make the frosting more fluffy. It’s totally optional. If you have a microplane you could also grate more cheddar to add to the cream cheese like I did with this cheese ball.
Dog Treats → These are just for decoration. But they do make the pupcakes super cute!
Bacon Cheddar Pupcakes Recipe
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs
- ⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup salted butter , melted
- 1 cup zucchini , grated
- ¾ cup cooked bacon, finely chopped
- 1½ cups cheddar , grated
Cream cheese frosting
- 16 ounces cream cheese , softened
- ¼ cup powdered cheddar (optional)
- 18 dog treats
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped bacon
- Preheat oven to 350F and line your muffin pans with 18 liners.
- In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix well.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, applesauce and buttermilk. Then add the melted butter and zucchini and mix again.
- Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula, doing about 5-6 folds.
- When the flour is about halfway incorporated, add the bacon and cheddar and fold gently until the the flour is just incorporated.
- Scoop batter into muffin pans and bake for about 18-20 minutes. Pupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.
Cream cheese frosting
- Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until smooth.
- If using add cheddar powder and mix until light and fluffy.
- Frost pupcakes with an offset spatula or a piping bag, then top with bacon and dog treats.
- These cupcakes are tasty for humans too! They are like an egg-y muffin.
- I used Hoosier Hill Farm white cheddar powder for the frosting. It adds some cheesy flavor and acts a bit like powdered sugar, helping the cream cheese frosting to get a little stiffer. Leftover cheddar powder is great on popcorn or in homemade crackers.
- If you’d like to make a cupcake for the humans at your pup’s party, our maple bacon cupcakes use bacon fat, so it’s a great pairing.
Love these pup treats? You might like our human recipes too!