Doggy Cake Smash Day

Shoot Plan:

The plan for this shoot is to photograph a variety of dogs in the studio over a few days. The exciting part of this shoot is I am not only going to get portraits of the dogs, I plan on making some dog friendly "pupcakes" that we can give the dogs and capture all the fun and mess the dogs create. I am going to have to practice making the cakes in advance to work out roughly how long they will take to make and how many cakes the recipe can make. I decided to try and plan as many dogs to come on the same days with different time slots as each shoot will probably wont be very long as I predict the dogs will demolish the cakes pretty quickly so I should be able to fit multiple slots in one day. Another reason to try and do them close to each other is for consistency and I can keep everything set up in the same place so it is the same for each dog. I am really looking forward to doing this shoot, although I am not quite sure what to expect as it is a bit of an experiment.

  • Location - Studio - The Old House, Compton, Marldon, TQ3 3SY
  • Equipment: Canon 5D Mark iii, with Canon 24mm-105mm L Lens and Canon 85mm 1.8 Lens, Elinchrom RX4-D Lites, Octabox, Square 60cmx60cm Soft box, Sync Lead, Skyport, Laptop or Mac to tether to.
  • Models: Multiple dogs
  • Cake Stand (I ordered some new ones so that the same one is not used for both dogs and babies)


  • Cooper - Sprocker Collie Cross - 10 Months old
  • Cole - Kelpie - 7 years old
  • Nacra - Kelpie - 9 years old
  • Logan - Kelpie - 4 years ikd
  • Tank - Great Dane - 5 years old
  • Lu Lu - Unkown - 7 years old
  • GiGi - French Bulldog - 2 years old
  • Pippa - Sprocker Collie Cross - 10 months old

The Cakes

I looked online at multiple dog friendly recipes and finally decided to give the one I found on the Blue Cross youtube channel a try. The only thing that this recipe was missing, was how long you should leave them in the oven, therefore I based the timing on what was suggested in a similar recipe. I shall have to make sure that the release forms have details of all of the ingredients, so that the owners can double check and ensure that their isn't anything in it that they could be allergic too.


  • 165g of grated carrots
  • 165g of self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 60ml of honey
  • 280g of cream cheese (for the icing)
  • doggy treat bones for decoration

The first lot of cakes I made for my first test shoot were done in cupcake cases and cooked really well. Trying to get them out of the cupcake cases was very difficult, as a lot of the grated carrot stuck to the cases which would pull apart when you took them off leaving them very disfigured. I couldn't leave the cases on as the dogs would probably end up trying to eat the wrapper as well which could be a hazard. I decided if I were to do cupcake size again I would either have to grease the cases so they would peel off easily or put them directly into a greased cupcake baking tray. After doing my first test shoot I learnt that not only did the dogs love the cakes, but there just wasn't enough of it as they were gone almost instantly. I decided they definitely need to be bigger but although a cupcake was to small I also knew a sponge cake would be far too big and would be very unhealthy! I had a look online and managed to order a set of 3 miniature sponge cake tins which were 4inches (10cm).  As these tins are a lot bigger than the cupcakes it meant I had to multiple the ingredients quite a lot, but I finally managed to make enough cakes after doing a few batches. They took a long time to cook and ended up taking up the whole day before the shoot, as each cake was 2 tins worth sandwiched together with peanut butter and cream cheese in the middle and I could only bake 3 tins at a time. As GiGi is a french bulldog and is a lot smaller than the other dogs I used a big cookie cutter and removed the edges to reduce the size of the cake a little bit. I pipped cream cheese and peanut butter on the top and decorated with biscrok gravy bones treats for decoration. I had to leave peanut butter out of one of the cakes as Pippa may have an intolerance to it as it gives her an upset stomach.