Chocolate Birthday Cake and Basketball Cupcakes

Baking date: February 21, 2015

My son Alex turned 13 years old on February 21. His birthday fell on a Saturday and he asked for a chocolate cake. I found a recipe on Food Network for Beatty’s Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten that I decided to make.

A few baking notes about this cake: it is super moist and stuck to the cooling rack, even after I left it in the pan for the first 30 minutes to cool. It took a bit longer than the recipe called for to bake, but I used 9″ pans instead of the 8″ pans the recipe called for.

My son did not want chocolate icing, so I used a can of vanilla frosting. Even though I used Spray-N-Seal crumb sealing spray, it looked like I had sprinkled crushed Oreos on top. The cake was just so moist there were lots of crumbs – even with the spray.

Of course, the appearance didn’t affect the taste. It got three thumbs up (husband and both boys), and my youngest son asked for the same cake on his birthday. Except he wants the chocolate frosting, so I’ll be reporting on the whole recipe in May when he celebrates his 12th birthday.

Here’s a look at the cake:

A moist cake will lead to crumbs (in spite of spray!)

A moist cake will lead to crumbs (in spite of spray!)

I also made goodies for his 7th grade basketball team, who played the day after his birthday. A couple of special notes about that —

  • My college roommate’s son Kendall was born the day before Alex, and it just so happened the team we were playing that day was Kendall’s team. This is the third year in a row Alex and Kendall have played against one another during basketball season:
  • Alex’s and his best buddy (his classmate and our neighbor) Ty share the same birthday. Ty plays up on the 8th grade basketball team, who play their games right after Alex’s team.

    Ty, Nick, and another friend Andrew at a high school football game. I'm sure Alex was at the concession stand in this picture.

    Left to right: Ty, Nick, and another friend Andrew at a high school football game. I’m sure Alex was at the concession stand when this picture was taken.

I decided to make cupcakes for Alex’s team. Alex requested chocolate cupcakes, so I just used a box mix for that. I then iced them with vanilla frosting. To top them, I created basketball-shaped candy melts, and drew the lines of the basketball using black sparkle gel. I then made their uniform numbers with candy molds in royal blue and gold, which are the team colors. There are many alphabet candy molds on the market – I wasn’t able to find a link to the exact one I used.


Basketball cupcakes – the two without numbers are for the coaches

Alex's number 44

Alex’s number 44

For the extra cupcakes, I frosted them in vanilla, and then dipped them in orange sugar sprinkles. I added lines in black sparkle gel frosting to create the look of basketballs.

Basketball cupcakes

Basketball cupcakes

You’ll see that two cupcakes are missing from the tray. That’s because I created two special cupcakes:

One was for Alex’s classmate and birthday buddy Ty:

Ty's cupcake with his uniform number

Ty’s cupcake with his uniform number

The other was for my roommate’s son Kendall, with his uniform number. The number was created in his uniform colors black and red:

Kendall's birthday cupcake

Kendall’s birthday cupcake

How sweet it is to turn 13!


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