Favorite Football Cake (for Kid Birthdays or a Big Game!)


If you have a kiddo who’s obsessed with sports or want to celebrate a big game, this Football Cake is a fun way to celebrate! It’s easy to make—no special pans needed—and is full of chocolate-y goodness!

football cake on white cutting board

Football Cake

My youngest child has been obsessed with footballs, soccer balls, and basketballs for the past year, so I decided to make him a cake for his second birthday to celebrate that love. (This cake would also be great for the Super Bowl.) I love that this cake is easy to make, is a little bit less sweet, and stores really well if you want to make it ahead of time.

ingredients in football cake

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe you need:

TIP: I like SACO or Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder in this recipe. (You can also do this with boxed cake mix as a shortcut!)

how to make football cake step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions to Make the Cake

Here’s a look at how to make this cake. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.

  1. Trace your pan onto parchment paper.
  2. Grease the pan and add the parchment paper round.
  3. Stir together the cake ingredients.
  4. Add to the greased pan and bake.
  5. Carefully invert onto a wire rack.
  6. Let cool.

TIP: You can bake the cake up to this point the day before you plan to serve it. Store it, once cooled, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container.

how to assemble football cake step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions to Frost

  1. Cut a strip from the center of the cake.
  2. Use frosting to secure the pieces together to form the football shape.
  3. Frost with Chocolate Frosting.
  4. Add white football laces with white frosting. (I use a zip top bag as a piping bag.)

TIP: Assemble your cake on the platter or surface on which you plan to serve it to keep things easy.

toddler with football cake and candle
What kind of pan do you need to make a football cake?

This cake works well in a 9-inch cake pan.

How do you ice a football cake?

You first cover the cake with chocolate frosting. Then, pipe on white frosting to make the laces. I use a plastic zip top bag as an easy piping bag.

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

You can make it up to a day ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost closer to serving if possible. (You can also make the whole thing, with frosting, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I would let it sit out at room temperature for an hour before serving if possible to allow the cake to soften a smidge.)

Best Tips for Success

  • You can make the Football Cake for the Super bowl or a kid’s birthday.
  • Use a 9-inch cake pan.
  • Use a serrated knife to slice out a center piece.
  • I prefer to use an offset or straight frosting spatula to frost the cake. (A butter knife will work if that’s all you have.)
  • You can make it up to a day ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost closer to serving if possible.
  • You can also make the whole thing, with frosting, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I would let it sit out at room temperature for an hour before serving if possible to allow the cake to soften a smidge.
  • Gluten-free: Use cup-for-cup gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
  • Use my Quick Chocolate Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. (I prefer the cream cheese frosting since it’s a little thicker but both work!)
  • Set aside a small amount of frosting into a zip top bag before adding the cocoa powder so you can make the laces.

Print

football cake on white cutting board

Description

The only thing to keep in mind when making this is that when you make either frosting, you’ll want to set aside a small amount of it before you add the cocoa powder so you have frosting to make the white laces.



Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a 9-inch cake pan on a piece of parchment paper and trace. Cut out just inside the traced line. Grease the pan very well on the bottom and sides with nonstick spray (I use classic Pam spray) and place the parchment round inside to lie flat.
  2. Add the ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk gently to combine. Add the batter to the prepared pan, shaking gently to evenly distribute it.
  3. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until the middle is firm to a light touch and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Try not to over bake.
  4. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully run a paring knife around the edges of the cake to loosen the cake if needed. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and flip over to invert the cake onto the rack. Lift off the pan and let the cake completely cool.  
  5. Add the yogurt and powdered sugar to a small bowl and stir together. Add to a zip top bag and seal.
  6. Prepare the desired Frosting with all ingredients except the cocoa powder. Transfer 1/4 cup white frosting to a zip top bag to make the laces. Add the cocoa powder to the rest of the frosting and beat to combine.
  7. Transfer cake to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to lightly press a line in the center of the cake. Cut about 3/4-inch to the left and right of the cake to remove a strip down the center of the cake. (You can sample this, or use as you like. It’s not needed for the cake.)
  8. Place one side of the cake on the platter or plate on which you plan to serve it. Apply chocolate frosting to the center and press in the other side to make the football shape. Cover the cake and sides with the frosting.
  9. To add the white laces, cut off one bottom corner of the bag of white frosting and pipe on a curve at both ends and laces up the middle.
  10. Serve.

Notes

Use a 9-inch cake pan.

Use a serrated knife to slice out a center piece.

I prefer to use an offset or straight frosting spatula to frost the cake. (A butter knife will work if that’s all you have.)

You can make it up to a day ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost closer to serving if possible.

You can also make the whole thing, with frosting, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I would let it sit out at room temperature for an hour before serving if possible to allow the cake to soften a smidge.

Gluten-free: Use cup-for-cup gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour.

Use my Quick Chocolate Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. (I prefer the cream cheese frosting since it’s a little thicker but both work! You may have a little frosting leftover.)

Set aside a small amount of frosting into a zip top bag before adding the cocoa powder so you can make the laces.


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