Get Well Soon Chocolate Cake

Baking date: January 13, 2018

One of the kids my son has played basketball, baseball and football with at various times had to have shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. The surgery meant that he would not be able to play varsity basketball or baseball in his junior year, and was hoping to be cleared in time to start back on the field for his senior year with football in the Fall of 2018.

I wanted to make him a get well soon treat. I asked his mom about a favorite flavor of cake, and it was chocolate. I made a one bowl chocolate cake recipe, and topped it with an easy chocolate ganache frosting.  I used red cookie icing to pipe on the get well message. I created a candy melt basketball, football and baseball, to represent the sports Elias plays and added them to the cake.


I delivered the cake to Elias and not long after, his mom posted this message on Facebook:


There’s nothing better than knowing I helped put a smile on this talented athlete’s face. Looking forward to seeing you back on the field soon, Elias!


Basketball Championship Cupcakes

Baking date: March 4, 2017

My younger son plays basketball (is there a sport we don’t play in this house?) and for the second year in a row, his dad was his team coach. My husband took his group of kids all the way to the championship game in their bracket.

After the game — win or lose — the team was going to celebrate with a late lunch at Pizza Hut. Of course, I had to make celebratory cupcakes.

I made an easy homemade chocolate cake recipe I had recently found.  For the frosting, I used a canned white frosting with a 2A tip to pipe on a small swirl. I added yellow sugar sprinkles and Wilton Short Stack Blue Nonpareils Sprinkles on top of the swirl, since the team colors are blue, gold and white.

For additional decorations, I used a round candy mold with orange candy melts. I then piped chocolate icing for the seams. I placed a basketball candy on each cupcake.

Here are the cupcakes:


A view from the side:


Congrats to the 13U Silver Bracket Champs Walkersville Lions. Especially that cute #13 and the incredibly handsome coach!

Father Son Win

Basketball Shortbread Cookies

Baking date: March 12, 2016

When you live in a small town, you get to know the families pretty well. Especially if you spend much of your free time with those families cheering on your kids who play on the same sports teams.

One of those families has a son who has played basketball and baseball with our oldest son. Their daughter Lana is a great basketball player, having led our high school team to the state semi-finals in 2014. She now plays on a local community college team — the Hagerstown Community College Hawks — that won the Region XX Division II Tournament Championship.


Winners! That’s Lana with the cut down net on her head.

The team qualified for and was headed to the NJCAA Championship Tournament in Overland Park, KS. So I decided to make the girls and their coaches a special treat for the plane ride to Kansas. A few of the girls had never flown before, so this was going to be quite an adventure.

I decided to make shortbread cutout cookies, just in case there were any egg allergies among the players and coaches. But then, in one of my less brilliant moves, I made royal icing with meringue powder (instead of corn syrup), so I made sure I gave the ingredient list to Lana to share with her teammates. Luckily, there were no allergies!

Before making the cookies, I made basketball-shaped candy melts in orange to use as decoration on the cookies. For the seams, I piped on black candy melts.

For the royal icing, I dyed the majority of it in moss green (school colors are green, white, and black). I left a small portion of the icing white for piping on names, numbers, and GO HAWKS.

I outlined the cookies in the moss green, and then thinned the green for flooding. When I was done flooding the cookie, I placed the basketball candy in the middle of the cookie. Once the basketball was placed, I piped on GO HAWKS across the top, the player name across the bottom, and the player number on one side. For the coaches, the cookie said HAWKS COACH, with the coach’s last name across the bottom.

Here is Lana’s cookie, up close:IMG_1015

Here are all the decorated cookies. But do you see my mistake?


Yep – I made two cookies that had the #32 on them. Whoops! Daysha’s number is actually 33. And I had already thrown out the leftover icing. To fix it, I carved out the 32 on Daysha’s cookie and flipped over the icing (not nearly as neat and easy as it sounds). Using white candy melt, I piped on the number 33. Here’s the ‘fixed’ cookie:


Lana’s parents, brother, and grandmother were also making the trip to Kansas, only they were driving. I made them a bag of gooey butter cookies for the trip, but also made them special cookies:


Each cookie for the players and coaches was placed in its own small treat box, for ease of travel.

So how did they do in the tournament? Well, the girls were eliminated from the tournament after two games. Even though that was tough, take a look at what Lana posted on Facebook about the experience:

LL FB Post

What a winning attitude, in spite of what the final scoreboard said.

Heart-shaped Basketball Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Baking date: February 13, 2016

My oldest son’s basketball team had a game on Valentine’s Day this year, so I decided to make cookies for the team and the fans (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.) who attended the game. I made heart-shaped cookies designed like basketballs.

I used two sizes of hearts. For the larger size heart, I decorated them like basketballs with each players’ number on the cookie. The smaller hearts were decorated like basketballs with no specific player information.

The cookie was a new go-to favorite recipe — chocolate sugar cookies. I used royal icing dyed in orange, royal blue (one of the team colors), and black to create the basketball design. For my royal icing recipe, I replace one of the tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of almond extract to give the icing some flavor (and the almond goes well with the chocolate cookies).

First I outlined all the cookies in orange so I could flood them. For the larger cookies, I made one for each player and the two coaches. Once I flooded the cookies with orange, and before they set, I piped on the black seams with a #2 tip. I piped on each players number in royal blue with a #1 tip. The last step was sprinkling orange colored sugar on top of the cookies. Here are the finished cookies for the players and coaches:


There were tons of the smaller heart-shaped cookies. Each was decorated the same way as the larger cookies, but without the number or Lion paw. Here’s an up close photo of the smaller cookies and the full container:

When I got to the end of the cookie dough, I took the last outline of a cutout cookie and made that into a reverse out heart with orange icing and dots of royal blue around the edge.


The cookies were a big hit. As I mentioned, the almond extract with the chocolate cookie flavor was a nice complement. It was a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with teenage boys who love sports.


French Silk Pie

Baking date: October 18, 2015

My husband is always complaining that I make so many things for other people, and nothing for him. He barked recently, “I can’t even get a chocolate pudding pie.”

So, for the man who complains because

  • I don’t put walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies,and
  • gooey butter cookies are gross, and
  • I put frosting on a perfectly good sugar cookie

I say up yours “here you go honey. I’ll see your chocolate pudding pie and give you one better – a French Silk Pie!”

The inspiration recipe was found on Martha Stewart’s website. Full disclosure – I used a store bought graham cracker crust that my husband picked out. None of that froo-froo homemade crust for him.

The pie itself was very easy to make. I offered to make the whipped cream also, but my husband is a fan of the kind you get to spray out of a can. Weirdo.

The pie turned out great – my son said it tasted like eating frosting (and what’s wrong with that?!).

Slice of French Silk Pie

Slice of French Silk Pie

I actually made two pies. The second I topped with Cool Whip dyed orange, and decorated to look like a basketball. It was for my oldest son Alex’s friend Jacob who broke his elbow just as basketball season has started. He’s in a cast and out a few weeks. I’m sure a yummy pie will help him heal faster!

Basketball French Silk Pie

Basketball French Silk Pie

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!

Basketball and Lion Paw Graduation Cakes

Baking Date: June 13, 2014

Our family was invited to a graduation party for two high school seniors – Lana and Sydney. Our son Alex plays baseball and basketball with Lana’s younger brother, and we’ve known the family for more than 5 years.

The families were hosting the party at one of their homes. There was great food, games, and music playing on a gorgeous Saturday evening. It was a really nice party.

The girls have been playing basketball together for years. Their high school team had made it to the semi-final game in the state tournament this year. I had made a cake for Lana to celebrate that feat.

There was a fabulous cake for the girls. But I never arrive at a party empty-handed, so I made a couple of special cakes to help celebrate Lana and Sydney’s basketball careers and the high school mascot, a Lion.

First was the similar basketball cake I had made Lana earlier. This time, I made it using a white cake mix. I separated out the batter into one half, one quarter, and one quarter. I colored one quarter royal blue, and one quarter golden yellow, which are the high school colors.  I then poured in the white cake batter and added the royal blue and golden yellow batter, swirling it around. This is what it looked like going into the oven:

Cake batter getting ready to head into the oven

Cake batter getting ready to head into the oven

Once the cake had cooled, I iced it using chocolate frosting, I then covered it with orange and black M&Ms to make the basketball. My husband said I should have used gold and blue M&Ms in the school colors — great idea for next time!

I also made candy melt lion paws in blue and gold. I used these as decoration around the cake. So here’s the final product:

At the party, the M&M cake was a big hit with the kids. It was gone pretty quick. I found someone who got a piece and asked if I could get a picture of the inside. Here’s how the swirling turned out:

Blue/gold/white swirls

Blue/gold/white swirls

The second cake was in the shape of a paw, using a special pan. I made a chocolate cake and decorated it with vanilla frosting as the base. The paw pads were decorated using a #17 tip with white icing dyed royal blue and golden yellow, with golden yellow icing trim around the base of the cake.

I made a candy melt basketball, with black sparkle gel frosting as the seams. I placed this on the center of the cake:

Lion Paw Basketball 2I used the remaining blue/gold candy melt paws around as additional decoration:

Lion Paw Basketball 3

Lion paw cake – view from the front

Lion Paw Basketball 5

Lion paw cake – view from the top

Sydney’s mom and her younger sister Riley came up to me at the party and asked if the basketball was edible. When I said yes, Riley got the biggest smile on her face and ran to get it.

Congrats Lana and Sydney!