Fabulous Football Desserts

by Melinda Helton-Cromer

Well, believe it or not... Fall is just about here. It doesn't seem possible, though, considering that it truly seems that just a few days ago, we were celebrating the long awaited start of the year 2000. Whether we want tot admit it or not, another year has flown by and it's time for us to start concentrating on all of the great fall and winter moments that will bring back memories for many years to come.

If you are, or a loved one is, a football player or fan, you will undoubtedly spend much of your time in the next few months either playing or watching this favorite fall-time sport. Of course, when football season arrives, so does many excuses for an informal "watch-the-game" get together. It also becomes a time for bake sales to raise money for team uniforms, etc. So with all of this, let this fall also be a time to show off your baking skills and creativity.

Here are a couple of great ideas to get you started. A football or a helmet-shaped "cupcake-cake" sporting your favorite team's name and/or logo will be the perfect addition to any football celebration.

Begin with:

  • One package of cake mix
  • One batch of homemade chocolate (recommended for the brown color of the football) or buttercreme icing or at least one container of store bought icing
  • A foil covered cake board
  • Muffin/cupcake pan and cupcake liners
  • Star shaped decorating tips
  • Round shaped decorating tips (DT0001-DT0012)
  • Paste colors or food coloring
  • Parchment paper or pastry bags
  • Couplers , if using a pastry bag

Bake a batch of cupcakes as per package instructions. Most mixes will produce approximately 24 cupcakes. Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, arrange them in the shape of a football or a helmet. Regardless of which shape you choose, once you have determined the placement, you should "anchor" your cupcakes to the foil covered cake board with a tiny dot of icing. This will prevent them from sliding out of place while decorating, and definitely will help prevent the finished cake from sliding during any kind of transport.

When you have the cupcakes anchored into place, you may wish to cover the entire surface area with a thinned version of the icing you have chosen to use. This will help give you a more even surface to work with, in addition to filling in any small "gaps" between cupcakes.

Use a star shaped tip to cover the entire cake with whatever color icing you have chosen. (I recommend using chocolate icing for any brown that you wish to use.) After you have completed this step, you will now need to "accent" your cake. For the football, using white icing and a round shaped tip, begin at the edge of the cupcake that I have labeled as #3 and pipe a straight line that runs down tot he very edge of the cupcake that I have labeled as #2. Repeat this at the other end of the football using #14 and #13. Then, begin at cupcake #5 and pipe a thin line that runs across #8 and #11. Now you can place a "lace" at each end of this line and then pipe additional laces evenly in between the two end laces. (Remember, for a more realistic look, that the laces should be slightly thinner than the two lines that you placed on the ends of the football.) If you wish, you can also write something like, "Go Team" on the football with the same round tip.

This particular cupcake-cake only requires approximately 15 cupcakes to create if you have leftover cupcakes, you could ice them in your favorite teams colors and possibly write the name of each guest on them. Or create pom-poms to surround the football, again using team colors, but also adding a touch of white to create a more realistic looking pom-pom. To do this , simply pipe long strands of icing on top of each leftover cupcake with the grass tip. This is a perfect idea for end of season banquets or a get together where there are not only football players, but also cheerleaders present.

If you have chosen to create the football helmet cupcake-cake, ice the entire cake with a thinned version of icing, paying special attention to the area of cupcakes numbered 9, 13, 14, 17 and 18. Parts of those cupcakes will not be part of the actual helmet. You can either ice this area smooth in a white or blue icing and leave as such, or you may choose to ice it in a skin colored icing and turn it into a "face" once you have completed the helmet. Use a round tip to outline the helmet area, using the provided template as a guide. For the time being, this will be used as a guideline only, therefore, does not need to be nice and neat. Once you have completed the outlining, use the same color you are outlining with, and the round tip and pipe a circle area as shown on the template. You can wet your fingertip slightly and tap the icing down for a smoother look. Next, fill in the helmet area using a star tip with icing in the color you have chosen. Then, again using a star tip, fill in the "face mask" area that you have outlined with white or gray colored icing. Now that you have completely filled in the helmet and face-mask area with the star tip, you will need to re-outline them with the round tip. I prefer black icing for outlining, but just about any contracting color will work fine. You can now add any other details that you wish. For example, add facial features to the smoothed icing area of the cake or add your favorite players name or number to the helmet area, or any other writing you may choose to put on the cake.

This particular cupcake-cake requires approximately 20 cupcakes to create. Again, if you have any left over cupcakes that you manage to keep out of your family's grasp, use them to accent your helmet by adding names to them, or turning them into pom-poms.

There are many other football based designs that you can play around with and create. A football jersey, or a goal post with an extra cupcake decorated as a football going between the goal posts are a few ideas. The best way to come up with a wonderfully unique idea is to bake your cupcakes, and once they are cooled, arrange and re-arrange them on the cake board to form the shape you are looking for. Sometimes, some of the best ideas come right in the middle of a project!