Sculpted Cakes Dog

A short introduction to Sculpted Cakes

We love sculpted cakes here. We really do! Both Anne and I get excited for unusual orders, and we were jumping up and down over this recent Rhino cake.


Dog cakes are also a constant pleasure:


But I feel there is a lot more to sculpted cakes than going straight for the most extreme item. Actually, that can be a very frustrating place to start! It's smarter to start with a simple shaped cake, in order to get used to the idea of planning and creating templates. Templates are a helpful technique for any project. An example is this Doll House themed topper we created for a client. A lot of the details had to be created ahead of time so they could dry. The dormers that sit on the roof were very much dependent on the angle of the top of the cake, which left very little room for error.


I used 1/4” foam core to build a model of the house before it was iced. I build all the gum paste components on the model and let them dry. When it came time to carve and ice the cake we used the sides of the model as templates. When it came time to assemble and decorate it was easy going. 

The dogs require a little more skill but less planning. While you might well want to have a structure for support depending on size, it can certainly be done just as you would a tiered cake. Stack your cakes asymmetrically to one side (the front of the dog) doweling as you go. While our cakes normally have a masonite board as the base, for the dogs we use cardboard cake discs so we can carve through them along with the cake.


I like to shape the body first and then sculpt the cereal treat “skull.” There is a better chance of it being proportionate this way. Also, you want to gear the skull much smaller than you think it should be. By the time you are done layering sugar on it, it will expand all around by at least an inch.


I coat the cereal treat skull with white chocolate. I have some reasons for using white chocolate rather than dark. First, of course is that it shows through light colored fondant less, but it’s also easier to handle. Once it starts to set up, it can be smoothed with a gloved hand as it is much softer and melts at a lower temperature than dark. Because the cereal treat is malleable until coated with chocolate, I sometimes run skewers through to keep the shape while I’m working on it. Much like doweling a cake, if someone wishes to eat the head, you simply cut around the supports.


Once the chocolate is set (I use the freezer to speed this along) I can attach the head to the body with a dowel. This is when we are going to make final adjustments before we fondant. If the face needs reshaping I’ll carve it here, once it’s covered with fondant it’s much harder to adjust.

Sculpted Dog Cake

Tip: I roll the fondant thick so I can use a detail tool to stroke it into something that looks like the grain of a dog’s fur.



Unless the dog is a dark color with little variation, I’ll do the entire piece in white or ivory and paint using a mix of air brush and petal dust to achieve realistic coloring effects.


Other details such as noses, tongues and teeth (or bow ties!) come later.


More Info!Want to really learn sculpted cakes? Check out Mike McCarey’s two fantastic classes on Craftsy including his car cake class which I reviewed last month.

We also recommend Elisa Strauss's Sculpted Dog Class and Handbag class for even more information on sculpting!

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Anna Puchalski

Anna Puchalski

Anna is a classically trained sculptor and illustrator who started her career in cake decorating with Ron Ben Israel in 2000. Since then she has worked for a number of well known cake studios in the New York area doing complex sugar work and design. Her specialties include freehand painting,...

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