Slam Dunk Cake

You may have noticed it's been a while since I've made a cake. Thankfully, I have quite a few cake projects coming up within the next few months! Check back in the following weeks for a football themed gender reveal party cake, a car/plane themed cake, sweets for an art themed birthday party, and some fondant pieces in the theme of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood!

This past weekend, we celebrated my brother-in-law's birthday. He and my husband celebrated by attending a UK basketball game (go Cats!). Given their excitement of the game, and my brother-in-law's love of basketball in general, I decided to go with that theme for the cake. Long time readers of the blog may remember a basketball themed cake I did for my husband a while back. I decided I wanted to venture out and try a different design this time. I like experimenting with new techniques and ideas, and my family doesn't mind being guinea pigs when it comes to cake!  I decided I wanted to use the Sports Ball pan and make a 3D basketball cake.

I was so pleased with how the cake turned out, particularly given the disastrous day I had trying to make the cake. Does anyone else have issues when baking/cooking in someone else's kitchen?! We have a tiny kitchen with hardly any counter space, but I think I get in a rhythm and am used to where everything is. I feel like every time I bake at my parent's house, I'm all over the place and out of sync. Just in trying to make the cake, I managed to pour boiling water on my fingers, burn my pinky finger on the oven rack, and melt the cord of their electric hand mixer (just don't ask...). Their microwave also decided to start making weird noises and flashing when I tried to soften butter. So, yeah, it was just one of those days. But, after some aloe for my fingers and electrical tape for the mixer, I was able to finish up his cake. I even finished a few cupcakes to go along with it; the treats were a big hit with my family!

Here's how I made the basketball cake:
  • Prepare cake batter - a denser cake works best, but I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe
  • Spray Wilton sports cake pan with Pam Baking Spray (I found that tends to work best)
  • Fill each pans with 2 1/2 cups batter
  • Bake two semicircle cakes using Wilton sports cake pan 
  • Let cakes cool for 5 mins, and then turn cake over onto board to rest

  • Let cakes cool completely
  • While cooling, mix together buttercream - here's my go-to recipe
  • Tint the buttercream orange
  • I decided to use the bottom side of the cake board as I decided it looked like a hardwood floor
  • Shave off a bit of the bottom of one cake, to make it flat on the bottom
  • Place cake on board, cover with buttercream, and place the second half on top

  • Cover the ball with orange buttercream

  • Smooth out buttercream using a non-design paper towel (such as Viva)
  • After smoothing, pat buttercream with a paper towel that has round design

  •  Roll out black fondant to thin ropes

  • Place black fondant ropes onto cake to form lines of basketball


The cake ended up feeding more than I thought it would, the pans looked so small. Just to be safe, I went ahead and made some cupcakes to match. During all the craziness I ran out of time to finish them all, but made a few look like basketballs. Here's how I decorated them:
  • Bake and cool cupcakes completely
  • Make another batch of orange buttercream
  • Use a spoon (or spatula) to place a mound of buttercream on top of cupcakes
  • Smooth out buttercream and round out the top using a non-design paper towel

  • Roll out thin, small strips of black fondant
  • Place the black fondant on the cupcakes to form the lines of the basketball

Don't forget to check back over the next few weeks for new cake ideas and tutorials!

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