Here's a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, mix-in-one-bowl cake that can be enjoyed by all the members of your pack - canine and human.

Here's a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, mix-in-one-bowl cake that can be enjoyed by all the members of your pack - canine and human.

Now before you turn your snout up at the idea, let's talk a little bit about all the non-nutritional benefits of this cooking project.

I'm an author (and dog lover) and in writing an expanded edition of my dog care and training book, "MY DOG! A Kids' Guide to Keeping a Happy & Healthy Pet," I covered all the basics - pre-pet preparation, reward-based training, housetraining, healthy feeding and so forth. But I also focused on creating novel, fun and engaging projects so that young children can take pride and pleasure in their pet companionship - so that kids will want to spend more time - and less frustrating time - with their dog.

Parents often complain, "My kids begged to get a dog, but who ended up taking care of the dog?" First of all, let's be frank, parents: Part of parenting is helping kids appreciate responsibility. But it's also true: Building that appreciation requires recognizing that a dog's needs center around repetition and routine, and that a kid's needs - especially kids who are stimulated with busy schedules and multi-media devices - aren't exactly centered at all!

A kid's desire for surprise and novelty often can be at odds with the daily "duties" of feeding, exercising and training a dog. A cooking project that feeds everyone is a great way to break through some of those attention obstacles!

And what's the real training incentive for your dog? Is it the treat? Is it simply avoiding those corrections? Not really. What motivates a dog to behave well is more time with your family, more of the good life that can be shared. As pack animals, both dogs and humans need companionship. And when everyone in the family - kids and grown-ups - can predict the dog's actions and prevent undesirable actions, there are more places, adventures, activities and occasions where the dog can be safe, well behaved and readily welcomed.

This peanut-butter carrot cake is perfect for a winter treat, but it's also healthy enough to share whenever there's a chance to say, "Who's been a very good dog? You!"

MATERIALS NEEDED *one 8-inch round cake pan or cupcake/muffin tin
*2 cups whole wheat flour
*2 teaspoons baking soda
*1/2 cup peanut butter (a salt-free and sugar-free brand is best )
*1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
*2 cups shredded carrots (depending on the age of the children helping, steady the grater, and watch them shred the first few inches, so that their hands aren't near the sharp edges, or the whole carrot-or just let them watch you do the grating)
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*2/3 cup honey
*2 large eggs INSTRUCTIONS 1. Grown-up: Preheat the oven to 350°F and move one rack to the middle shelf.
2. Kid: Lightly coat or mist a cake pan or muffin tin with oil.
3. Kid and Grown-Up: Mix the flour and baking soda together in a large bowl. Then, add the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Kid: Pour the batter into the prepared pan or tin.
5. Grown-up: Slide the cake into the oven and remove it after 30 minutes (for the cake) or 20 minutes (for the cupcakes). Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean. Feel free to cook a bit longer to give the cake a crisper texture. (That crustier part is extra delicious; save it for yourself!)
6. Kid: Once cooled, you can "ice" the cake or cupcakes with more peanut butter. And you can decorate the top and the sides, too, with carrot-shred "sprinkles." Just remember - the "decorating" won't really matter to your dog, but it can make the photos of your party more festive. (Unfortunately, pictures don't matter to dogs, either!)