How to make a Basketball Cake when you have next to zero time...
Another co-worker request – post cancellation by another baker, she needed a basketball cake for her son’s birthday! I had the day available for an order….but 2 12-hour shifts in the meantime and less than 48 hours total to to work with!
A few more elaborate ideas off the table because of the timeframe….this one was super easy and I thought it turned out pretty cute! Recipe+links+video below!
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I've recently changed 'favorite chocolate cake' recipes - I borrowed, doubled, and slightly modified one from @thescranline, and it's *amazing.* Also a tad less labor-intensive than my prior favorite. Score! Check out Nick's site and his Instagram feed if you haven't already; he does some incredible work!
Of note...you'll need either a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams OR - you can use this fancy ‘grams to cups converter’. Or just use the conversions I ballparked for you. You’re welcome.
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ c)
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
350ml buttermilk (about 1 ½ ; buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 t vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible.
Next, add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Orange gel food color (feel free to add later if you’d rather use less food color & fill the cake with white frosting!) I used Americolor orange
(Save and use later - ) Black gel food color (I used Americolor Super black)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined. Add gel food color until desired color is reached – if you have time, making your frosting a day or so ahead and letting it sit overnight to let the color deepen lets you get away with less gel color!
Remove aboout ¼ cup of frosting from the bowl and add Black gel food color (I used Americolor Super black) until a dark consistency is reached. You can also add a bit of cocoa powder to deepen the color without using so much gel color!
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles) or an 8” acrylic cake disc (I started using these so I wouldn’t waste so many cake circles!)
- Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites! If you’d like to buy just the tip the one I used it pretty similar to Ateco 44 or 45
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting.
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
Now you’re ready to decorate! Transfer your black frosting to a piping bag fitted with a flat/oblong nozzle (see links above) and (see video for help with this part) pipe first a ‘+’ over the top of the cake and down the sides. Add two curved lines to the top - )( - and follow the lines down the sides of the cake.
And you’re done! Super easy!