When you think of football and food, you probably think of grilling and tailgates – not of baking. But I can assure you that there is something for dessert at just about all of those tailgating parties and at-home football viewing parties, whether you’re watching a regular season game or the Super Bowl.
- Football Baking Cups dress up muffins, cupcakes and single-serving portions of cornbread (delicious with game-day chili!). They don’t usually stock these at most grocery stores, but cake and craft stores always seem to have them in stock for sports fans looking for a simple way to add some flair to their baked goods.
- This Football Cookie Cutter Set includes a helmet, jersey, pennant and – of course – a football. The cookie cutters will work with any butter cookie or other cookie dough that can be rolled out. Use food coloring to tint icing and pipe it onto the baked cookies to give them a splash of your team colors.
- Silicone Football Cake Molds allow you to make 3D mini footballs out of cake or brownies. No decorations needed with these, anything baked in this pan will be perfect for a game-day party. You can also use the mold to make football-shaped ice cubes (though they’re better for punch than drinks, as they’re a bit bigger than your standard ice cube!).
There are all kinds of pans out there for sports fans and even stadium-shaped pans for fans who want to get a little bit of the stadium experience at home. I like a lot of sports, but I’m a soccer fan and with the Los Angeles Galaxy home season opening this past weekend, I decided that a batch of soccer ball cakes was in order. I used my Frieling Soccer Ball Pan, a sturdy nonstick pan that makes a dozen soccer ball shaped cakes.
The cakes are about the size of standard muffin cups (although they seem a bit larger because of their shape) and both bake and release well. I recommend lightly greasing and flouring the pan for the best release and the cleanest finished product even though the pan is nonstick. Let them cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes to firm up a bit before removing them, so you can carefully pull them out without cracking the cakes. They looked great just out of the pan.
I have to admit that the most difficult part of the soccer ball cakes is decorating them. Although the lines come out quite clearly on the little cakes, once you put a glaze on them to make them look more realistic, it is very difficult to see them! I love the suggestion of the manufacturer (right on the packaging) to sandwich the cake halves together to make actual balls, but it was tricky enough to decorate them when they were flat on one side! At least I have the whole soccer season to practice – and should be good enough to bring them to game-watching parties by the next FIFA World Cup!
The Super Bowl isn’t a holiday, but it is one of the biggest events – sporting or otherwise – of the year. Last year, in 2008, over 97 million people tuned in to watch the Big Game. I suspect that most of those people were sitting around with family and friends, either at a small gathering or a big party. I know that I was. I love Super Bowl parties for the chance to socialize and munch on some tasty snacks. I always try to do something with a little bit of a football theme to it, just because it helps me and everyone else at the party get into the spirit (even if they’re not football fans to begin with).
This year, I’m making football-shaped mini cakes. Cupcakes didn’t give me quite the “look” I wanted, so I opted to bake a chocolate sheet cake and carve it by hand. It’s actually very quick and easy to make the football shapes. All you need to do is slice up the cooled sheet cake into bars, then trim off the corners to give them that signature shape. If you’re lucky enough to have a football-shaped cookie cutter, you can certainly use that instead. Feel free to munch on the scraps while you work.
The chocolate cake is very moist and has a great chocolate flavor. It’s tender, but holds together well enough to carve without getting crumbs all over the place. I coated my footballs with a thin chocolate glaze. You can try to dip the tops of the cake into the glaze if you like, but I’d recommend simply pouring a bit over each individual cake. The glaze is thin enough that it won’t give you a smooth finish on the sides of the football (although the top of the cake will be smooth), but I think it needed to be thin so that its flavor didn’t totally overwhelm the small cakes. I used a bit of confectioners’ sugar mixed with water to create an icing that would finish off the cakes with ball-like lacing.