High School Football Championship Cakes and Cookies

Baking date: January 6, 7 and 8, 2017

I’m going to cut to the chase here – my son’s high school varsity football team won the Class 2A Maryland state championship in 2016. He played on the JV team because he is a Freshman, but this accomplishment is no less exciting for all of us in the community. Last year, the team made it to the championship game but came up short by 1 point.

In January, the teams — both varsity and JV — held their awards banquet and meal. Of course, this was a perfect opportunity for me to bake and pay tribute to the players, coaches, and parents who were part of this amazing season.

First up was general cakes for all to enjoy. I made a large (16″) square cake.  I covered it in buttercream frosting, and piped on bursts in royal blue and golden yellow, with white sugar pearls on top of each burst. The item in the center of the cake is a buttercream icing transfer. The intricate letters were not that easy to pipe on and instead of peeling off the wax paper, I used an icing spatula to “slide” it off, which smeared the colors a bit. Finally, I made a giant Lion paw with yellow and royal blue candy melts.

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I also made a 1, a 4, and a 0 (Baker’s note: this is the new version of this pan. I have an older version that does not have angled edges). This team’s record was 14-0. I even made a dash with a mini bread pan. I used the motto “Small Town, Bigger Dreams” we had printed on tee shirts as buttercream transfers on these cakes. The buttercream frosting I made is really better designed for piping and not spreading. In the future, I may microwave it a few seconds to get better spreading consistency.

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Next up were some special cakes. First was the cake for the team mom. She manages all the communications and activities between coaches, players and parents for both varsity and JV. She received a football make with red velvet cake (her favorite) and a chocolate cream cheese frosting (sorry, can’t remember where I got the recipe!). She also got a big lion paw candy melt in yellow and royal blue.

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Next was a cake for the head coach, who received High School Coach of the Year honors in the state of Maryland from the Baltimore Ravens.

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His football cake was triple chocolate cake with the same chocolate cream cheese frosting. He also got a large Lion paw candy melt on his cake.

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And then there were the players. I got the roster from the team mom. I made football shaped sugar cookies with royal icing. I piped each players name and number on the cookies with a #1 Wilton tip. There were also cookies for the coaches, managers, statisticians and videographers. Extra cookies were decorated with either royal icing or chocolate jimmies.

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There was also a special larger football cookie for a team mom and photographer, decorated with royal blue and golden yellow buttercream bursts.

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Congrats to the coaches and players for bringing the win home to our community and for all the accolades and pride that came with it!

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Football Playoff Sugar Cookies

Baking date: October 28, 2016

My son Nick’s 8th grade football team made it to the playoffs this year. As has been my custom with football playoff games for my boys throughout the years, I make treats for the players, coaches, cheerleaders, and fans.  There would be three rounds of playoffs, quarterfinals, semi-finals, and the SuperBowl.

Originally, I was inspired by these cookies:

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but decided that those would be the cookies I would make if the team got all the way to the SuperBowl.

For this first round of playoffs, I decided to make sugar cookies in the shape of footballs that were personalized. I use a recipe for the sugar cookies that I found on Food Network. For the royal icing, I always substitute one of the tablespoons of water with a tablespoon of almond extract. I think it improves the taste of the royal icing.

Here are all the footballs with the brown tinted royal icing. I left a portion white for the football laces:

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I also tinted some of the icing golden yellow and royal blue, which are the team colors. I used these colors for piping on names, numbers and other decorations.

The players’ cookies had their name and number:

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The coaches’ cookies had their names:

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The cheerleaders and their coaches had their name and a blue “pom” (tip #233) on each end of the football. Not easy to do with royal icing that is more flooding consistency, so my poms looked more like blobs.

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There were also cookies for the water crew — younger brothers and sisters of players on the team. On the extra cookies, I piped on Lions:

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And last (but certainly not least!), I hand shaped a large football cookie for the team mom:

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Our team was up against the top ranked team…and I’ll spare you the suspense. Our boys did lose and our playoff run was over after only one game.

But the important thing is…even when it was very clear the game was out of hand, our boys continued to play hard until the end. And the other important thing? We had cookies to celebrate what great kids, coaches, and fans we have!

Good luck in high school, fellas!

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2016 GVAA Walkersville Varsity Lions

 

 

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking date: August 14, 2016

In the local sports association football program my boys have played in, they have weight limits for age groups. If you are over the designated top weight for your age group prior to the first game, you must either sit out games (and be re-weighed a few weeks later), or play up in the next age division.

Our oldest son was always close to the top of the weight each year. And his second-to-the-last year of playing, he was over and had to work real hard to make weight to play with his friends, rather than sit out or play up with older kids. Helping growing boys make weight – it’s awful. I even blogged about the experience.

When one of the young kids was faced with a similar battle this year, his mom asked for ways to help Jonny drop the weight in advance of the official weigh in. Many people chimed in with advice; parents and his teammates offered to run extra laps and work out with him more.

I offered inspiration as well – sharing some of the things we had Alex do that week before weigh-ins. I also offered this:

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I know it seems counter-intuitive to offer someone baked goods for losing weight. But so what – motivation comes in many forms!

After a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and self-discipline, Jonny made weight. His mom let me know he liked red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

I used a box cake for red velvet – I haven’t found a scratch recipe I like yet. For the icing, I used a classic cream cheese frosting recipe.  The recipe made plenty of frosting and I used the leftovers to frost some banana bread later.

To make the cake extra special, I added the letters WEIGH TO GO JONNY using royal blue candy melts. I included chocolate candy melt footballs, with some of the extra cream cheese frosting piped on for the laces. I also included royal and yellow Lion paw candy melts. Here is a view of the cake from the top:

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And from the side, because I piped bursts along the lower edge, and added in alternating blue and gold sugar pearls:img_1737

Let’s just say that Jonny thought all the work was worth the weight:

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Game-saving Interception Football Cake

Baking date: November 22, 2015

Many of my readers know that my boys are into sports. In the Winter, it’s basketball. In the Spring, the older one plays baseball and the younger plays lacrosse. In the Fall, both play football.

Next year, our oldest enters high school. He has been playing in the junior football league for six years and is looking forward to playing in high school. Each Friday, we go to the games and cheer on the high school team.

This year, our team has a strong group of sophomores — some of whom my son knows from their time in the junior football league. This year the team had a good year and in the final game – against a long-time county rival – they won and punched their ticket to the playoffs.

Our boys were the lowest seed in the first round against a #1 seed team. In a game that certainly stunned the #1 team, the Lions won and moved on to the regional championship.

In the regional championship game, our boys faced the #1 seed once again. With our boys leading 17-14 in the final minute and a half of the game, the opponent was moving the ball down the field toward a score. On a second down long pass, one of our boys made a game-saving interception and we won the game.

With that, the underdog Lions became 2A West Regional Champs!

And, of course, I would need to make a special cake for Ethan High who made the interception. Ethan’s younger brother had played baseball with our oldest for a number of years. And Ethan’s youngest brother played lacrosse with our youngest.

I asked Ethan’s dad what kind of cake he likes and his dad said “chocolate anything”. I started with a dark chocolate fudge cake mix and used the football cake pan.

For the icing, I also used dark chocolate fudge frosting to match the cake. It was a bit dark — milk chocolate frosting looks more football like. But I wanted the cake and frosting to be super chocolaty, so that’s what I used.

I used a #47 tip with classic white frosting to create the laces on top. I hand piped the letters onto wax paper using yellow candy melts (printed out the words/numbers reversed, so that the smooth side would be facing the correct way when they were on the cake. I taped the wax paper over the letters and then did the piping.). Note: In the future, I will make all caps block letters, as the lower case letters are tough to form freehand, especially with lots of curves and loops.

I texted his mom halfway through decorating to give her a sneak peek and to confirm a time to drop the cake off:

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I added two large paws in yellow and royal blue candy melts on each end of the football, with Ethan’s number 8 piped on in frosting dyed royal blue. I added bursts around the bottom edge of the cake, and placed a gold sugar pearl in the center of each burst.

Here is the cake all decorated:

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Ethan was truly surprised. His parents were having grandparents and aunts and uncles over for a family meal Sunday night, so the cake just added to the celebration.

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Way to go Ethan!

And congrats to the Walkersville Lions, who won the state semi-final game against another #1 seed the following Friday and are now on their way to the State Championship game this Saturday!

Halloween-Themed Playoff Cupcakes

Baking date: October 30, 2015

Both my boys’ junior league teams made the football playoffs this year. As is my tradition, I make goodies for the boys after each playoff game, with the hope that we make it to the SuperBowl.

I had hoped a couple of images I had created and posted on Facebook football groups would provide the players with additional inspiration:

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The first of the playoff games on the way to the SuperBowl fell on Halloween. Cupcakes are the easiest thing to make in terms of individual treats and I decided to decorate them in team colors (royal blue and gold), but with a spooky look.

First I made candy melt spider webs in yellow (one of the team colors). I also made extra cupcakes for the fans at the games and created vibrant green candy melt spider webs. I only made the “half web”, not the whole web.

As the spider webs were setting, I added sugar sprinkles in gold on top of the yellow ones.

The cupcakes were a simple yellow cake box mix. I dyed the icing using royal blue dye. I used a 1A tip to pipe on a “monster” and used sugar eyeballs. I then added on the spider webs I had created.

Here are the monster cupcakes in my fridge:

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But to me, they looked like a royal blue version of the poop emoji:

Right?

Right?

I thought, what 12 or 13 year old boy wouldn’t love a cupcake decorated to look like poop? Here are the two trays (there were exactly 24 players and coaches).

I posted an inspiration photo of the treats on the team’s Facebook group page:

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I also made additional cupcakes for the fans and families in attendance because I had a feeling this would be the last game for the JV team. They were up against the top seeded team. And I was right; they lost the game and their season came to an end.

Here are the extra cupcakes with the vibrant green candy melt spider webs. I didn’t swirl on the icing for more poop emojis. I only used one eyeball on these cupcakes:

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There were two trays of this version of the cupcake

For the varsity team, we were the #1 seed in our quarterfinal game. We had come off an undefeated season and expected to make a run through the two playoff games on our way to the SuperBowl. I planned to make more elaborate creations once we got to the semi-final and then the SuperBowl. Full disclosure – I also ran out of royal blue dye and wouldn’t have had enough frosting to make more poop emoji monsters, so I just covered the top of the cupcakes with some frosting, the candy eyeballs, and a yellow spider web candy melt.

Here’s the varsity version:

Once again, I was lucky that the number of players and coaches was 24.  I posted an inspiration picture on the Facebook team group page:

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But for my son Alex, his teammates, and coaches, the road to the SuperBowl ended that day. It was a sad day for the boys, but I have had the honor of watching them become fine young men over the past six years.

While the ending wasn’t so sweet for either of my boys’ teams this year, I’m grateful to have good boys, with good friends, who play on good teams to cheer for.

Bowl Game Cupcakes

Baking date: October 23, 2015

This year, the D2 instructional football team at the JV level was headed to its annual bowl game on October 24. The team is made up of kids in the 6 and 7th grade. Our son Nick started on the D2 team this year, but was quickly moved up to the competitive D1 one team.

And then his brother fell on him and broke his collar bone in early September, so Nick’s season was done — barely before it got started.

Throughout the year, I attended the D2 games and continued to take pictures and share them with the parents. At the end of the year, Nick and I attended the Bowl game they played in. I made treats for the players and coaches, as well as the fans in attendance.

The cupcakes were a white box mix (I always add a tablespoon of vanilla to the box mix to give it a more homemade taste). I topped the cupcakes with vanilla icing swirl, using a #2D tip.

I then decorated the swirl with randomly placed gold sugar pearls and dots of blue sparkle gel.

Each swirl was topped with yellow and royal blue candy melt lion paws.

IMG_0502 IMG_0503Even though the team lost the game, the smiles on their faces when they got their cupcakes quickly made them forget what happened on the field!

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Way to play hard, boys!

Football-themed Cakes and Cupcakes

Baking date: November 21, 2014

On occasion, I will make goodies for folks who tell me they would like to commission me for my efforts. One of the coaches of the mini-pony team in our football program reached out to me to ask if I could make something special for the team’s end-of-season party, where they would be expecting 75 people. They would pay me for my work.

Bakers Note: Here’s my very simple method for how I charge for things like this: I tell people how much materials cost me. I then estimate how long it will take and ask them to cover the cost of materials, and make the final payment the cost of materials plus whatever they feel is fair for my time.

 

The reason I use this method for determining payment is because: 1) I do this because I believe it allows me to embrace the artistic part of me, 2) I find the baking and decorating very relaxing, taking my mind away from any concerns or problems (priceless!), and 3) the looks on people’s faces when they see the creations and are so grateful.

 

My creations are not perfect. I’ve never taken a course in cake decorating, so I’m not officially trained. These are also reasons I don’t set fees, like professional bakers, who can make upwards of $150 for some creations. Also, this isn’t my JOB. If it was, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much. That being said, I’ve sometimes only been paid for materials, and that’s ok with me. A big part of why I do this is for me, and like I mentioned before, the peace of mind is priceless!

Given that the party was going to be so big, I made 48 cupcakes and two cakes — one in the shape of a football helmet, and one in the shape of a football. Yes, I have pans for both!

I decided to make personalized cupcakes for the players and coaches. The cupcakes were made from Pillsbury Funfetti Aqua cupcake mix. Since the team colors are royal blue and gold, this was a great start. I used football themed cupcake liners. The cupcakes were iced with vanilla dyed golden yellow, in a swirl pattern. The player cupcakes were topped with a star-shaped candy melt in royal blue candy melts, and the number piped on in golden yellow icing.  The coach cupcakes were iced with vanilla dyed golden yellow, and a football shaped milk chocolate candy melt. The coach’s last name was piped on in golden yellow icing, and the seams of the football were added using white sparkle gel frosting. The extra cupcakes were decorated with the yellow gold icing and blue sparkle gel frosting.

Here are the cupcakes:

The football helmet cake was a butter cake. I used a star tip to decorate with the yellow gold icing. I had tried to get royal blue icing dye but the store was out, so I used a pre-prepared icing. This was also piped on with a star tip. The white in between the helmet face guard is white sparkle gel frosting. The bottom edge of the cake had vanilla frosting, piped on with a star tip.

The football cake was a chocolate fudge cake, iced using classic chocolate frosting. Depending on how light or dark brown you want your football, there are a variety of chocolate frostings to choose from: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, classic chocolate, etc. I spread on the chocolate frosting all over the cake. For the white seams, I used varying sizes of tips and vanilla frosting: #47 for the short seams, #7 for the long seams under the short seams, and a #225 for the thicker stripes at either end of the football.

I used letter candy molds to spell out GVAA (Glade Valley Athletic Association) LIONS and on the other side MINI PONY in yellow candy melts. Around the base, I piped on vanilla icing with a star tip, and added a royal blue sparkle gel dot on each burst. Here’s the football:

I hope the mini pony team had an awesome party!