Make a Pup Cake for your Furry Friend’s Birthday – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Dog Friendly

Pup Cakes - Dog Friendly Birthday Cakes

What do you get the dog who already has everything?

He has more tennis balls than he knows what to do with, plenty of tug-of-war ropes, as well as a few bones buried in the backyard, where Nellie can’t find them… you make him a cake, of course.

You might remember the last birthday cake we made Bailey. They definitely enjoyed it but I wanted to make this year’s cake a little healthier.

These cakes are nutritious, dog-friendly and pretty tasty, too – when you make the “human-friendly” alterations; before that, they are understandably bland, as dogs’ stomachs can be upset by human food and they shouldn’t really have salt or red wine… poor things.

Speaking of “poor things,” Bails is having surgery today to remove a lipoma in his right groin region, so maybe I’ll have to make him some get-well-soon pup cakes this weekend. He won’t be able to do his usual off leash walk, so we’ll have to bribe him to stay still, somehow. I’m dreading the next week… a bored Bailey is a force to be reckoned with and they always feel better before they are safe to run and jump again.


  1. According to my own research, all the ingredients are dog-friendly.
  2. Carrot and zucchini are low FODMAP.
  3. Celery contains polyols, if they bother you in the amount required, omit them and replace with green leek tips (not dog friendly).
  4. Sweet potato contains mannitol, if you can’t handle 2 tbsp. of mash, swap it out for mashed potatoes or yams.

Pup Cakes

Makes 12.


  • 800 g lean mince beef
  • 4 rashers of bacon, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced celery
  • 3/4 – 1 cup rice flour (or dog friendly flour of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup onion free/fructose friendly chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • Optional (if you’re cooking this for yourself) – use garlic infused oil, swap the chicken stock for red wine, and add 1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 1 tsp. dried chili flakes.


  • 400 g of sweet potato, pureed (tinned or fresh)

Prepare, then saute, the bacon, carrot, celery and zucchini in the olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes, adding in the chicken stock about halfway through, until most of the fluid has cooked out. Remove it from the heat and then let it cool.


Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease a 12 hole muffin pan. Once the veggies have cooled, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together and divide the mixture between the muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes and then let sit for another 20 minutes, before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

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To make the icing, roughly dice and boil 400 g of sweet potato until it’s fork tender – about 15 minutes. Drain the water, then blitz it with your immersion blender until smooth. Spread it on top of all the pup cakes before serving to the lucky dogs (or humans!).


Poor Bailey, he had to pose for photos before he got to eat his birthday cake last month.


Going, going… gone. Bailey and Nellie thoroughly enjoyed their cake and had left overs for the next few days, as well. Spoilt rotten!



Fruit Free Paleo Muesli Bars – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free


After getting fed up with the lack of fructose friendly and healthy options for scroggin (trail mix for you non-Aussies) and muesli bars, I decided to look into making my own. I didn’t know that “candy” even went into trail mix until I moved to Seattle and all of a sudden M&Ms etc. were in the bags as well! Delicious but really only necessary for LONG hikes.

I find muesli bars to be preferable to a pack of trail mix for a couple of reasons:

  1. They are easier to eat and you’re much less likely to split the bag of trail mix and lose it all over the forest floor.
  2. I find it easier to portion them, so I don’t end up scoffing too much too soon. They are also more filling for me, for some reason. I’m not sure why.

The problem is, most muesli bar recipes floating around the net use honey or agave syrup and lots and lots of dried fruits. Which is great if you don’t have FM… not so good if you do. I can’t think of anything worse than getting “fructosed” on a long hike and reacting – we don’t need more info, do we? – half way up a mountain with nothing but trees to hide behind. It would be, to say the least, “unpleasant.”

Would you want to get stuck up here after being fructosed? I wouldn't! The nearest drop toilet was almost 10km away.

Bails and me above Snow Lake in WA, USA. Would you want to get stuck up here after being fructosed? I wouldn’t! The nearest “restroom,” if you could call it that, was almost 10km away.

I decided that the following recipe would be grain free, because even though a little blood sugar spike while exercising isn’t the end of the world – compared to, say, if you were just sitting on your behind watching the telly – it is always better to have a nice, even supply of blood glucose, which is easier to provide with lower GI foods. There will be some syrup involved here for flavour – as I said, exercise will control the potential blood sugar spike – but it’s only 1/2 cup spread out over the entire recipe, rather than the syrup and over a cup of grains. Plus, I know a lot of you also eat gluten free and hey, I aim to please.


  1. I found it hard to find solid information on pumpkin and sunflower seeds – I never want to tell you guys anything that might make you sick – but I finally found dry roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds on the USDA’s nutrition website and the Monash App states that both pumpkin and dry roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds are safe.
  2. Sunflower seeds are a great source of nutrition: linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), dietary fibre, vitamins E/B group, phytosterols (to lower cholesterol) and protein. Protein is important, especially right after exercising, to help repair muscle damage caused by exertion. You can eat the hulls if you wish but they are “roughage,” so don’t eat too much. There is only a quarter cup in this entire recipe so it shouldn’t cause any issues if you leave the hulls on but you can buy a hulled version and use those instead if you wish.
  3. As far as almonds are concerned, the USDA’s website states that they have a glucose concentration of 0.17g/100g and a fructose concentration of 0.11g/100g – and sucrose present in a concentration of 3.95g/100g. However, they do appear to contain oligosaccharides – fructans or GOS’s aren’t specified – but a serving of > 20 almonds might become problematic. Each bar shouldn’t contain more than that but if you know you are sensitive to almonds then sub in a different flour or meal in its place. Rice flour or corn meal would work well but they are not Paleo, if that matters to you.
  4. Make sure you use pure maple syrup, which doesn’t have any other sugars or sweeteners added in, which will both cook differently and potentially cause a reaction. Again, reactions are not good when you’re over 10km from the nearest loo and there isn’t much in the way of safe space to the side of the trail.
  5. I know that real maple syrup can be very expensive in Australia – lucky me, living 3 hours from the border with Canada! Golden syrup – made from cane sugar, so f=g – would replicate the flavours and texture best but rice syrup might also work. If you can, add in a drop of maple syrup. Also, I’m assuming rice syrup would make it un-paleo.
  6. Nuts are bad for dogs, so please don’t share these with your four-legged hiking buddies.

Fruit Free Paleo “Muesli” Bars

Makes 15 bars, at approximately 215 calories each.

  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut – shredded
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds – hulled or unhulled is your choice, see above
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts – or almonds, pecans etc
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup almond/peanut/coconut butter – or some sort of lipid-based ingredient; the amount will depend on which you choose but start small
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Line a square, oven safe dish with baking paper. I use my 9″ x 9″ cake tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F.

Combine the almond meal, desiccated coconut shreds, baking powder, nut butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.


Next, add in the chunkier ingredients – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chopped walnuts – and mix until well combined. The mixture should be moist enough to retain a hand print but not dripping with syrup. You will most likely need to get your hands dirty here to mix the seeds through thoroughly – it’s like making mud pies for adults… that are edible.

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Pour the mixture into your lined baking dish and press it into the corners until its level is even across its surface. Wet your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to you like glue. Flatten out the surface with the back of a spoon or spatula that you ran under water for a second – again to stop sticking.


Bake for 20 minutes at 180 C, then turn the oven off and leave them in for a further 5-10 minutes. Remove them, then let cool completely – for a few hours – before you slice it or it might crumble. I sliced it into 15 bars but you could do more or less if you wanted.


These would also be great as a breakfast bar for busy weekday mornings, or school lunches for both little and big kids; they are sweet enough to taste the flavour from the maple syrup but without giving you a sugar headache. Wack some plain yoghurt on the plate next to it and a fructose friendly fruit serving and voila – nutrition with a low GI.


They passed the hand-held test, so you can walk and eat if necessary without these tasty bars crumbling everywhere.


They look like they’re made for hiking. Well, they kind of were! Pity I don’t have a back yard to take some “hiking” photos in.


My next muesli bar attempt – who knows if it will be successful – will aim to use white rice flour in place of almonds, for those of you who can’t tolerate them. I will probably add some dried cranberries into this one, as well.