Blackberry Cupcakes and Homemade Dog Biscuits for a Doggy Birthday Picnic


Cole's parents' dog (Hoot) and Mark & Vale's dog (Booker) just turned 12!  They are lovable, well-behaved chocolate lab brothers that judiciously tolerate my bossy puppy-child, Georgia.

Vale and Cole's dad, Jim, planned a special little birthday party at Lake Anza in Tilden Park, their favorite spot.  I made the birthday boys some "Homemade Dog Biscuits" using a recipe from Flour.

dog biscuits - flour bakery

Because I didn't have a dog bone cookie cutter, I just made circles and squares.  I added a tablespoon or two of bacon/sausage drippings to the dough for some extra doggie appeal.  I'm quite interested in making more dog treats in the future...


Dog tested, dog approved.  They also work great for bribing your dogs to sit still for a picture.


For the humans, I had a vision.  Perhaps it was the recent warm weather or the idea of a picnic, but I was insistent on some kind of dessert that included berries.  I shuffled through Tartine and combined a few different recipes to come up with a fresh, flavorful, and compact dessert.


The final product **which still needs a good name** is a Chiffon Cupcake sliced in half and a filling of Blackberry-Caramel Sauce, Fresh Blackberries, and Pastry Cream.  I topped it off with a swirl of Whipped Cream (Straus Cream-Top Whipping Cream is the way to go here, cute glass pint is just an added bonus) and sprinkled it with White Chocolate Vermicelli.  I used Nut & Party Cups instead of cupcake liners, which were perfect for how I assembled these.  You could probably also core the cupcake, but I didn't want to take out any of that perfect cake or limit the amount of filling I could use.

Cole thought they looked like soft, fluffy clouds.


There always seems to be a small time frame between finishing the final product and getting on with the party where I hope to photograph the food, flawlessly.  Finding natural light, props, and a clean background need to be worked in there too.  Luckily, I get to shift this job over to my personal color consultant, taste-tester, fondant-spotter,  late-night-"oh shoot I'm out of butter, honey"-come-to-the-rescue-er (?), and food photographer, Cole.  What I love about the following series of photos is the abrupt, charming realness of our lil' life.

Observe the still-life, pristine food photography.  Almost "Gawker-esque", no?


Now, observe the subtle change in the background...


Hmm.  That's peculiar.  What ever could it be?




At this point, I just wanted to see what that lil' munchkin niece-to-be of mine was gonna do next.  I quietly observed while Cole just clicked away.

lucy does it

What Lucy Said:  "BAAAA!"

What Lucy Meant: "So, if you guys are just gonna sit there pointing that big toy at that nim nim, I'm just gonna go ahead and eat it...mmk?"

lucy cupcake

And, on with the party...

picnic anza

In the end, it's all about the dogs.  And many more, Booker & Hoot!