Home Run Cake for Jake

Baking date: May 26, 2017

I’ve made so many home run cakes over the years, I can’t keep count. This year on my son’s travel team, only one player hit a home run.

Technically, he hit two home runs. But one of them came after May 31 and I have been out of the baking game since then, when I had surgery to repair/rebuild a rupture in my Achilles. Recovery required 6 weeks completely off of my foot, so the the kitchen has been shut down while I was on the mend.

Jake requested a vanilla cake, so I used a French vanilla box mix — always add that extra tablespoon of vanilla when mixing to make it seem a bit more homemade.

The frosting was white. I dyed some red for the baseball stitches and some green for the grass around the base, piped on with a #233 tip. I also used some of the white for piping his name and date of the home run on the star candies. The large red star candies were for his name; the small star candies for the date of the home run. Home run was spelled out using royal blue candy melts (only the number mold is shown on the site, but they have an alphabet mold also).

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Finally, I added turtle crunch sprinkles around the base of the cake on the grass to simulate dirt. It’s been my go-to for sports cakes that require dirt, but I fear the product has been discontinued. It’s no longer on the Wilton site, and every place that does show it says it’s out of stock with no anticipated available date. Guess I’ll have to buy Heath bars or Butterfingers and pulse them in the blender if I need “dirt”. *sigh*

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Turtle Crunch sprinkles – the perfect “dirt”

Congrats on your home run, Jake — and welcome to the cake club!

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Chocolate-on-chocolate Home Run Cake

Baking date: May 13, 2017

As my oldest son has gotten grown up, I haven’t had the opportunity to make as many home run cakes for his baseball teammates. Those fences have gotten farther away as they have become teenagers, and it’s become tougher to crank it out.

So, when an opportunity comes along to make a home run cake for someone I know, I jump on it. Such an opportunity presented itself in May when my youngest son’s football coach posted this:

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I texted Coach and asked what kind of cake Cam liked so I could make him a home run cake. He asked and Cam said “chocolate with chocolate frosting”. OK…makes it more of a challenge, since my typical home run cake has white frosting.

I made a one bowl chocolate cake with easy chocolate ganache frosting. It was a two-layer, 9″ round cake.

I decided to decorate the cake with round bright white candy melts for the baseballs. I used a basic round mold. I use bright white candy melts for anything I want really white, because I feel like the white candy melts are more ivory. I had some leftover white frosting that I was going to use to pipe on red seams, once I dyed the frosting. But I was out of red icing coloring. Yikes – quick trip to grocery store to get emergency supplies. since my craft store go-tos (AC Moore or JoAnn) are on the other side of town and I was on a tight time line to finish!)

Red icing

I made star candy melts using the Starry Mix candy mold with red candy melts to spell out Cameron’s name and date of the home run. I used white icing to pipe on the name and numbers.

I used white candy melts to spell out home run with Make ‘n Mold Bakerella letter candy molds — the only molds listed on the website are the numbers, but they have letters also. You can really see the difference between white and bright white candy melts in this photo of all the candy melt decorations for the cake:

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Here is the cake all put together and decorated from the top and side:

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Cam was delighted with the treat…

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And his dad was very appreciative…

Facebook thank you

Even though I don’t make as many home run cakes for the kids on my son’s baseball team as I used to, you can always find a way to pay it forward, if you are tuned in to your community!

Bullseye Cake

Baking date: June 24, 2016

During the year-end league tournament for my son Alex’s team, one of the players was hit by pitches three times. Someone joked that he should be wearing a target on his uniform. And someone else looked at me and said, he needs a target cake.

I made the cake from my go-to box recipe – triple chocolate fudge mix. Baker’s note: I always add a tablespoon of vanilla to any box mix for a more “homemade” taste.

I used the Wilton Easy Layers 6 inch cake pan set.  Baker’s note: be sure to level off each layer or you may end up with the leaning tower of cake!

Using buttercream icing in royal blue, I outlined a coffee cup for the outer layer of the bulls-eye and a shot glass for the center. I then filled in the blue areas, and using classic white canned frosting, filled in the alternate ring of the target, as well as the sides. I had also used the classic white in between the layers. Finally, I added bursts along the bottom edge in the royal blue buttercream.

I wanted to add a special message on the cake, so using white and royal blue candy melts, I spelled out HIT ME HERE and placed the letters on the top of the cake.

Here’s the cake from the top:IMG_1454

And from the side:

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I started to make the ME in royal blue candy melts, but had to scrap that because it wouldn’t have stood out against the royal blue icing. The H’s were a pain – I went through a number of attempts before I got two of them out of the mold without breaking:

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Ultimately, the cake was a big hit. No pun intended, Brett!

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Fathers Day Sugar Cookies

Baking date: June 18, 2016

This year on Fathers Day — as has been the case in many years — my son Alex’s baseball team was playing in a tournament. The tournament was for the league his team is part of. We were going up against a team in the championship game that we had split our regular season games with.

I’ll spare you the suspense — we lost in the bottom of the 7th, after coming back to tie the game in the top of the 7th. Tough loss, but we were also down a player who didn’t show, one player in a cast due to a torn ligament, and one player who took a wicked foul ball off his forehead in the semi-final game, just 45 minutes prior to the championship game. We had just enough boys to field a team as long as no one (else) got hurt. Well, one of our players was covering first and got spiked on the top of his foot by the metal cleats the base runner was wearing, but he gutted it out and finished the game. Way to hang tough, Drew!

It has been tradition recently (2015 Fathers Day cookies, 2013 Fathers Day cupcakes, and 2012 Fathers Day cupcakes) for me to make special treats for the dads. I didn’t do it in 2014 because we were in Myrtle Beach for a tournament and didn’t have access to a kitchen.

This year, it was star-shaped sugar cookies, with buttercream frosting (leftover from a previous baking effort two days earlier).  I made white candy-melt square shaped bases. I covered the sugar cookies in the golden yellow buttercream frosting. I then placed a “base” on the cookie and piped a players number on the base along with the word ‘DAD’ with a #2 tip. Using a #42 tip, I double-outlined the edge of the star in royal blue buttercream (more leftover frosting from the cupcakes the day before).

Here are all of the cookies decorated, and one extra big star with a few royal blue mini-M&Ms:

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And here’s one up close:

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Of course, there was plenty of cookie dough left over for regular and mini-stars for the families and fans who showed up to cheer the boys on.  Some had buttercream frosting, mini-M&Ms, and others had sprinkles:

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And since we had a semi-final game before the championship game, I had made Rolo-stuffed chocolate cookies (I use mini-Rolos and dip the top in sea salt instead of nuts, before baking) to make sure there were plenty of goodies for both games.

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Even though we didn’t end up being the county league champions, I have to say, with all the dads opting to spend their special day cheering on their boys through two games in the hot Summer sun, it was a win.

Thanks to all the dads out there, who make sure their kids know how special they are. Especially my husband.

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Middle School Graduation Cupcakes

Baking date: June 18, 2016

As a special treat for all the 8th graders on my son Alex’s baseball team, I decided to make graduation cupcakes. I had done the same thing last year for a few of the boys on the team who were heading off to high school in the Fall. This year, it was the rest of the team’s turn.

The cupcakes were from a triple chocolate fudge cake mix in a baseball baking cup. To make the graduation toppers, I used square molds with light cocoa (milk chocolate) candy melts. Each mortar board was placed on top of an inverted mini-Reese’s cup and secured with buttercream frosting. I then added a mini-M&M in royal blue (secured with a dab of buttercream) and piped the tassels on with buttercream frosting dyed royal blue, along with each players name.

Here are the cupcakes:

In this picture, you can see a few of the mini-Reese’s poking out under the mortar board:IMG_5476

I made extra cupcakes for the rest of the players and coaches, using the royal blue and golden yellow butter cream. Both were leftovers from high school graduation party cupcakes.

The blue cupcakes had white sugar pearls and the yellow cupcakes had blue sugar pearls on top. Here’s one of the yellow cupcakes up close:

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Congrats to all the graduates — and on to high school baseball next year!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Baking date: June 11, 2016

As is the case with many parents in multi-kid families who are involved in sports, you split your time between games because different team schedules often overlap. That was the case for one of our travel baseball team coaches — one son was playing a doubleheader in Martinsburg, West Virginia for the team he helps to coach, and an older son was playing a tournament in Richmond, Virginia on a Sunday, which also happened to be his birthday this year.

His wife would be making the trek to Richmond, so she had asked a me and another mom to make her husband something special for the day — his favorite chocolate chip cookies. Not an imposition at all, since I make goodies for every weekend game for my son’s baseball team.

The other mom made chocolate chip cookies and I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chip cookie dough frosting. This was a recipe I found on Pinterest and saved to my Recipes – Frosting board.

The chocolate cupcakes were from a Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix.  I spread the frosting on the cupcakes generously. Here are the two trays of cupcakes:

And here’s one of the cupcakes up close:

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The cupcakes were a big hit.

There was so much frosting left over, that I brought the leftovers with me to a game we had during the week so that the mom could taste it. She brought plastic spoons and paper bowls so all the moms could have a bit of a taste test.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I look forward to making it again and perhaps using it to frost a cake at some point.

Happy Birthday, Coach Clegg! Included below are a few pictures with his son James.

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Baseball Diamond Cupcakes Cake

Baking date: June 2, 2016

This is part 2 of a request by a friend of mine. The first was for her daughter’s 16th birthday party. This was for her son’s 8th grade graduation.

Her son and my son played baseball on the same travel/All Star team for a number of years (he has since moved to another team), have played football together, and basketball through recreational leagues. He goes to a local Catholic school and will be attending the public high school with many of his non-Catholic school friends next year.

I’ve made cakes for him before – about four home run cakes and a grand slam cupcake cake when he played baseball with my son. For his graduation,  he had requested another baseball diamond cupcake cake and he wanted it to be butterscotch.

I went to Pinterest to find a butterscotch cupcake recipe. The recipe I selected included a butterscotch frosting as well. I used white/blue/green cupcake wrappers that I found at the local grocery store because those are his school colors.

I set up the cupcakes on the board:

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And then I pulled up the photo of the last time I made this, so I could see where the “dirt” and the grass portions of the decorating should go:

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To frost the cupcakes, I used a wedding cupcake buttercream – it works just fine on regular cakes also. I then dipped the infield “dirt” portions in turtle brownie crunch. For the grass portions, I used vibrant green vanilla frosting and a #233 tip to pipe it on. The trick with the grass is to fill in the holes between the cupcakes. I start from the edge of the cupcakes and stretch the grass to the next cupcake. I build on that network, but inevitably, you’ll find that some of the icing sinks between the cupcakes.

I used some of the buttercream to pipe on the foul lines and the batters boxes.

I used bright white candy melts that I piped onto wax paper in the shape of bases and home plate to finish up the infield. The bright white candy melts were also used to make the large and small star shapes, with green frosting used to write letters on the stars.

I used two of the cupcakes to hold bright white candy melt baseballs. I used red sparkle gel to add the seams on the baseballs, but the sparkle gel is a little too runny for this. I’m slowly eliminating it from my supplies, as it tends to get runny after opening and it takes forever to dry (if it ever does completely dry).

Here’s the final design:

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Of course, I see the spots I missed with icing — no grass on the back end of cupcake with the pitcher’s mound. I wasn’t consistent with the placement of the grass along the foul lines in the outfield. And getting straight foul lines on all the cupcakes from home plate to the outfield was a bit of a challenge.

Here’s a view from the side:

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In spite of the flaws I saw, the graduate was thrilled. Congrats Mickey – can’t wait for you to join Lions Nation next year for high school.

Mikey