Football Banquet Cookies and Cupcakes

Baking date: January 12 and 13, 2018

Last year our town’s football team were the State champs in our division. I baked a boatload of goodies for the celebratory banquet, including cakes and cookies. This year, our team won the conference title again, but was knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs on a controversial play.

But it was still an amazing season. And this year, my son was selected for varsity in just his sophomore year.

I purchased a t-shirt cookie cutter and decided to start a new tradition of creating personalized jersey cookies for the graduating seniors. The remainder of the varsity team get personalized football-shaped cookies, and the JV players get a cupcake with their number. This is the jersey I modeled the cookie after (it’s my son in the picture – he’s a lineman):

Alex

I decided to make a favorite chocolate sugar cookie recipe. It makes a ton of dough — and I would need it because the t-shirt cookie cutter was bigger than I anticipated. There were 25 seniors on the football team this year.

Here is a look at the cookies as the first layer of cookie icing went on – white for their home uniforms. I think it looks like a bunch of undershirts:

Tshirts

I piped on blue numbers and their last names, as well as some yellow and blue piping along the sleeves and sides. And I added football mini-decorations from the large sports sprinkles set:

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And then there were the rest of the Varsity players, coaches and team mom cookies in the shape of footballs. I added yellow paw prints and topped them with gold sugar sprinkles (yes, yes, I see the one that didn’t get the paw print):

Varsity Football Cookies

With the rest of the football cookies, I added on the laces for the many siblings that would be attending the banquet.

Plain football cookies

For JV, I made chocolate cupcakes with royal blue and gold foil cupcake liners and topped them with vanilla frosting. Then I dipped the tops in gold pearlized sugar sprinkles and blue sugar sprinkles, alternating the cupcake liner color with the sprinkle color. I added each players’ number on the top.

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For the extras, I added the football decorations.

Extra Cupcakes

Here’s the whole production on my kitchen table, ready to be transported to the banquet:

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Congrats to my son on earning his varsity letter in his sophomore year (this is his ‘I’m trying to be cool and act like I don’t care’ face) …

Letter Jacket

Even though back-to-back State championships weren’t in the cards for the team,  congrats to the Walkersville Lions on their back-to-back Conference Championship seasons!

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Rocket “Launch” Cake

Baking date: January 7, 2018

At work, we had a big project launch. To celebrate this three year project that merged two separate online applications/databases into one, I decided to make a launch cake.

First, I googled rocket cakes. I found an image of one that seemed simple enough. As far as I could tell, it was a 9 x 13 sheet cake, with one end carved. Those carved off pieces would then become the boosters at the other end.

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The cake I made was a yellow box mix, with vanilla added in to give it some “homemade” flavor. The icing was the canned white Pillsbury variety.

I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan and then sliced a rounded edge off each side of one end. I then placed those cut off  edges against the bottom of the other end.

I frosted the main body of the rocket in white, and I dyed the boosters (no taste) red.  Around the edge of the rocket, I added silver sugar sprinkles. Given how difficult this was to do, I understand why the inspiration cake baker used some sort of candy strip instead:

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I added dark blue (no longer available) candy melt circles for the rocket “windows” and piped the date of the launch (1-9-18) onto the discs.

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Finally, I made mini-star candy melts in orange, and larger stars in yellow. I’m not sure they make this mold any more – there are four of each size star on the mold tray and the  large stars have space for a stick. I piped the acronym of the program being launched (VLSO) on the smaller orange star in red icing, with red icing dots in the point of each larger yellow star. I affixed the orange stars to the yellow stars with some of the white frosting.

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Here’s the whole cake, on a black cake board:

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Congrats to my colleagues for all their hard work!

French Vanilla 50th Birthday Cake

Baking date: November 17, 2017

My dear friend Rebecca celebrated her 50th birthday this year. We met more than 10 years ago when her now ex-husband was coaching a t-ball team my boys were on with her kids.

Her fiance Gary planned a surprise party and asked me to make her a cake. He didn’t have any specific instructions other than vanilla cake, and sharing the party favors/decoration theme he was using, which was pink and sparkly.

So I made a two-tier French vanilla cake with the square 12″ and 8″ pans. For the frosting, I used white canned frosting. I sprinkled pink and silver sugar sprinkles all around the cake.

I decorated using bursts of frosting in rose, white and black along the corners. Around the top base border and lower base border, I made rose bursts with smaller white bursts inside.

Using heart candy molds, I made tri-colored hearts in bright pink, bright white and black. Finally, I used a “5” and “0” cookie cutter pressed into the top and then followed the outline of the numbers with the black icing.

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I used a star candy mold on a pink stick to make black stars with rose icing to pipe a letter of her name on each star. The final star I piped on ‘& FAB’.

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My intent was that the final product would read REBECCA 50 & FAB.

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Here’s to the next 50, my good friend!

Surprise

HBday Rebecca

Cheer Cupcakes

Baking date: October 20, 2017

This year, my son Alex was moved up to the varsity high school football team. He is one of only 4 sophomores and 1 freshman to be invited up. It’s exciting for him, but we know that he won’t see much playing time unless the team has a lead securely in hand.

It’s quite an accomplishment to be that close to the older kids, who made it to the state championship game in 2015 (lost 21-20), and in 2016, when they went 14-0 for the season and brought home the championship. This year, it was #NewTeamSameDream of heading back to the state championship game for a repeat.

I’ll spare you the suspense..our boys lost in the Regional Championship game. It was a close-fought game, against two powerhouses in the region.

But back to those cheer cupcakes…the cheerleaders had made yard signs for all the varsity players this year at the beginning of the season:

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I thought that was a very nice gesture and wanted to do something for the cheer team. I asked for the team roster and set out making chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. But to amp up the offering a bit, I dipped the frosted cupcakes in blue sugar sprinkles, piped on the cheer names in golden yellow tinted frosting, and added candy melt hearts in royal blue and yellow. I made extra cupcakes with yellow frosting and added the blue sugar sprinkles. Some had the extra candy hearts (the mold makes 20) with some of the blue sugar sprinkles.

Here’s a look at the cheer cupcakes (coaches included!):

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And here are all the cupcakes:

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Thanks WHS Cheer!

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And thanks to my friend Michelle, for capturing photos during my son’s Sophomore year on the varsity squad. I   and I ❤️ #54

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Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: September 3, 2017

I love that Pinterest is filled with “the best”, “the most amazing”, and “the best ever” recipes for anything your baking heart desires. Most of the recipes I have tried have been delicious. But a recent attempt at new recipes found on Pinterest didn’t turn out quite the way I envisioned.

My husband called me from the store and asked the question “do you have the stuff you need to make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting?”  I responded with “sure, but could you get me some extra powdered/confectioners sugar.” What I really was thinking was “holy Hell man, how long have you known me? I can’t believe you even have to ask that question.”

I searched Pinterest and found this old-fashioned yellow cake recipe. Then I looked for a chocolate buttercream recipe.

Long story short — my husband thought the cake itself was a bit dry. And he said the frosting tasted like “what they use on Tastykakes.” Hmmm…I guess everything on Pinterest isn’t the best or to to be fair, to everyone’s unique liking.

It did give me the opportunity to use Viva paper towels and a fondant smoother to try a buttercream frosting smoothing technique I found on YouTube.

Here’s the cake, after using the smoothing technique (I should have snapped a before picture – next time, I promise):

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I’m sure these recipes will work for others, but for my husband, his advice was “why do you go to all the trouble of homemade cake and frosting? Just buy a box of cake mix and a can of frosting and I’ll be good to go.”

Sigh

Cake with Frozen Buttercream Transfer

Baking date: November 19, 2016

A former colleague of mine Jennifer celebrated a fun family accomplishment recently – her husband Sean, and their two kids Caeley and Seamus published their first children’s book. It was written and illustrated by Sean and the kids.

Here’s a synopsis of the book Little Robin: Flying South for the Winter:

In this lovable adventure, we fly away on Little Robin’s journey to meet up with his friends and fly south for the winter. Little Robin is in danger of missing the trip when he is faced with the important decision of whether to help others in need. As the air turns cold, in a moment of fright and worry, Robin teaches us how to stay calm and not give up hope.

The family had a book publishing party with friends and family. I decided to make a cake to help them celebrate. I used the 16″ pan from the Wilton performance pans square set for the cake. I used a French vanilla box mix for the cake and wedding buttercream icing to ice the cake and make the buttercream transfer.

I had watched a video tutorial on frozen buttercream transfers on the Wilton channel on YouTube. Here’s the image after I had piped on the white outline, white/black eyes of robin, green leaves, the red robin, and black feet. As you can see, it’s not easy to pipe on small details – I smudged some of the buttercream in the lower right side of the image and had to fix it. After piping on the blue and brown, I let it set an hour. I then added plain buttercream over all of it and put it back in the freezer for another hour to help it set even better.img_2006

Here’s how the cake turned out once I piped on the names of the authors and added a border of blue bursts around the base. Because the transfer image sits higher on the cake, the next time I try this, I’ll add a decorative border around the image to that it looks more seamless:

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And here’s the book cover next to the cake – not a bad likeness!

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Congrats Sean, Caeley, and Seamus!

Halloween Rainbow Cake

Baking Date: October 20, 2012

One of the team moms severely sprained her ankle while playing with her boys.  She was now relegated to a walking cast. So I made her get well brownies; chocolate being the best healer out there.  As a thank you for the brownies, she bought me these:

Orange & black frosting, along with Halloween-themed sprinkles

We celebrated Halloween a little early with our football watching friends.  They will be going to the game next weekend and we will be stuck watching the games on our non-theater size screen at home.

For noshing this past weekend, I made a rainbow Halloween cake using the special frostings and sprinkles.  I followed the directions provided by Cooking with Sugar.  Except for wearing the sailor suit at the end to show off the cake.

Here’s how my cake turned out:

Halloween rainbow cake – photo with Instagram

And this was the inside:

photo with Instagram

The cool thing about this cake is that each time you make it, it will turn out different depending on how the multiple batters settle while baking.  And how you frost it.

I think you could modify the recipe to make various holiday themed cakes:

  • Green/Red/White for Christmas; Blue/White/Gold for Hanukkah; Black/Red/Green for Kwanzaa
  • Red/White/Pink for Valentine’s Day
  • Green/White/Orange for St. Patty’s Day
  • Pink/Yellow/Green (or other pastel colors) for Easter
  • Red/White/Blue for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day

Or, for your favorite team.  Or high school graduation.  The possibilities are endless!

I can’t wait to make one in royal blue/yellow gold/white for my boys’ football team!