Sports-Themed Birthday Cake

I apologize for my lack of posting recently! May was a busy month for me and I was away from my kitchen quite a bit, so I haven’t had a chance to bake as much as usual. Hopefully that will change in the coming months, but let’s be real: it’s summertime! Time to enjoy the outdoors, travel, and in my case, keep looking for a job so I can put my newly acquired Masters degree to use.

But enough about summertime. Back to baking! I was asked to make a birthday cake for my friend’s son, Kylin. He turned 3 years old about a week ago and he LOVES all things basketball! I thought I would do a bit more than just a basketball cake, so I expanded the design to include a variety of different sports. Kylin’s favorite color is orange, so the cake also incorporated quite a bit of orange — I even dyed the white cake orange as a special surprise.

Sports-Themed Birthday Cake
Print Recipe

– 1 box white cake mix (for the cake)
– 1 box chocolate cake mix (for the cupcakes)
– Eggs and vegetable oil for the cake mixes
– Ingredients for White Buttercream Frosting, as listed on my icing page. I made a double batch of frosting because this cake requires quite a bit.
– Brown or black cupcake liners (you can use another color if you’d like)
– Food colorings: orange, yellow, green, red, and black
– Fondant: brown (for the footballs) and any color of your choosing for the lettering
– Set of alphabet fondant cutters (sold at Hobby Lobby or
– Black M&Ms (for the soccer balls)
– Sprinkles: orange, yellow, green
– Basketball pressed sugars (I found mine at Vanilla Bean, here in Madison)
– Piping bags and small round tips
– Cake board (cardboard, plastic, it’s up to you!) that can accomodate at least 14″

I made the cakes according to box directions, though I dyed my batter orange. I made 9″ cakes, but 8″ would also work. Cool the cakes completely before frosting them! The rest is pretty self-explanitory: assemble and frost cake on a large round cake board; add embellishments, like fondant lettering or pressed sugars.

All of the cupcakes are chocolate, made by following box directions. I made 4 cupcakes for each sport. Here’s what I did to make the basketballs, baseballs, tennis balls, footballs, and soccer balls.

– Tint about 1 cup of buttercream frosting orange. Frost 4 cupcakes with orange frosting and dip into orange sugar. Tint a small amount frosting black and pipe lines onto each basketball cupcake.

– Frost 4 cupcakes with white frosting. Tint a small amount of frosting red and pipe stitching onto each baseball cupcake.

Tennis ball:
– Frost about 1 cup of buttercream frosting yellow. Frost 4 cupcakes with yellow frosting and dip into yellow sugar. Pipe white frosting onto each tennis ball cupcake.

– Tint about 1 cup of buttercream frosting green. Frost 4 cupcakes with green frosting and dip into green sugar — or use a Wilton Tip 233 to make the frosting look like grass. I used the Wilton tip effect. Roll out a packet of brown pre-made fondant (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby) and cut into small football shapes with a knife. I don’t have a template for this, as I did mine by hand. Place each fondant football on top of the “grass” and pipe white laces onto each.

Soccer ball:
– Frost 4 cupcakes with white frosting. Place black M&Ms on each cupcake to resemble a soccer ball. Tint a small amount of frosting black and pipe lines connecting each M&M.

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