For your favorite fans, a football cake so realistic they won't know whether to eat it or throw it!
Are you ready for some football ... cake?
Football has become a huge part of the fall season for my family. My nephew is on the varsity high school football team and our family spends Friday nights cheering his team on to victory. To celebrate the start of the season I created a three-dimensional football cake to serve to him and his teammates. The whole team was shocked to see how real the football looked, but were even more surprised when I cut into the cake to reveal little chocolate footballs hiding inside!
Whether you're hosting a Monday night football party or getting ready for tailgating, this cake is sure to score big. Just be sure to give yourself an entire day because you'll need to bake three cakes. This creation uses two devil's food cakes, a chocolate pound cake, milk chocolate frosting, and modeling chocolate. It takes some time, but everyone was amazed at how realistic it looked – and it tasted great too!
I started by baking a devil's food cake in a football-shaped pan.
The cake takes a little longer to bake than a normal 9x13-inch one. Allow between 50 and 55 minutes for the cake to bake through. Once that cake has cooled and you can remove it from the pan, wash the pan and bake your second cake. Once both cakes are cooled completely, level the backsides so they sit flat and then pop them in the freezer for at least two hours. I find carving a frozen cake is much easier than using a freshly baked cake. I actually froze mine overnight and had great results.
Since these two football cakes put together do not create a nice three-dimensional football shaped cake, I decided to bake another cake to sit in between the two. I wanted the middle one to be very firm because it would have a hole cut out of it in order to hold the candy. So I decided to use a Betty Crocker pound cake mix, but I doctored it up by making it a chocolate pound cake, then I baked it in a 9x13-inch pan. I knew that I wanted a well in the middle of the cake so I sprayed a metal oval shaped cookie cutter with baking spray and set it in the middle of the pan. This helped the cake bake very evenly.
The cake baked up perfectly. Once it was cooled I removed the cookie cutter, leveled the cake and popped it in the freezer.
In the morning, I pulled the cakes out of the freezer and got to work again. To get the general football shape for my pound cake I set one of the football cakes on top and cut around it.
Then I used a simple technique to make the two halves of my football cake. I realized that a football has natural seams, so I took advantage of this when making my cake. I decided to keep both halves of my cake separate and frost them and cover them individually in modeling chocolate. In order to do that, I needed to cut the middle pound cake into two thin layers so each layer could be attached to one of the football-shaped cakes.
I frosted each thin layer and put a football-shaped cake on top.
I then put the two halves together and carved them into a more realistic-looking football.
Once I had the shape I desired I took the cake apart and worked with each half. I decided I wanted to add a little bit more candy to the center so I used a spoon to dig a larger well in each cake. If you do this, don't scoop out any more than about a half an inch, otherwise the cake will no longer be structurally sound!
Each of my halves now needed to be frosted. I love this quick and easy technique: I heat the frosting up in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so, just until it's pourable. Then I simply pour it over the cake.
Then I smooth it out with a spatula and allow the frosting to set.
While the frosting was setting, I made my modeling chocolate using milk chocolate and rolled it out so that it was large enough to cover one half of the football cake. I really wanted the modeling chocolate to look like a real football, so I used a football texture sheet to create little dimples all over the modeling chocolate. The texture sheet unfortunately was very small, as it came from a cookie-cutter set, but with a little patience, it did the trick. I simply rubbed the texture sheet over the entire surface of the modeling chocolate to create the little dimples.
Then I covered one football cake half with the modeling chocolate and cut off the excess, leaving a 1/4-inch border all around the bottom edge, which I folded under the cake.
I did this a second time, re-rolling the modeling chocolate, adding the texture, and covering the second half of my cake. I decided which half looked best, and used that as my top cake. I turned the other cake upside down. You can see how I folded the modeling chocolate under the edge of the cake.
Then I filled the well in the cake with my chocolate footballs and added some frosting on the bottom half of the cake, being sure to leave for about a 1/2-inch of space between the edge of the frosting and the candy. I didn't want the candy to stick to the inside of the cake, and if frosting oozes into the well, that would get messy.
Then I stacked the two cakes on top of each other, creating my three-dimensional football. To really bring it to life I brushed cocoa powder over the modeling chocolate to add dimension to the dimples.
Now I just needed to add the finishing touches. I rolled out some white modeling chocolate, cut it into thin long strips and created the laces. I started by adding two long laces to the cake, which I attached using a small amount of water. I then created large dimples along the edge of the laces to put the shorter laces into.
Then I cut shorter pieces of the white modeling chocolate to create the cross laces.
I want to set my cake on a piece of artificial turf for the party, so I just cut a small cake board into a football shape to fit underneath for some support. I could then just lift up the cake and set it on the fake grass. I used another fondant tool to add the final details. I created the seam line down the center of the top of the cake and added a border around the laces.
I honestly couldn't believe how real it looked.
When I brought it to football practice and shared it with the team I was really excited to see the reaction from the kids. All my hard work had paid off!
Beth happily spends her days creating fun food and handmade chocolate and enjoys sharing step-by-step tutorials with her readers on her blog Hungry Happenings. Be sure to check out her profile to see all the other festive foods she's made for Tablespoon.com.