If you have a kiddo who’s obsessed with sports or want to celebrate a big game, this Football Cake is a fun way to celebrate! It’s easy to make—no special pans needed—and is full of chocolate-y goodness!
My youngest child has been obsessed with footballs, soccer balls, and basketballs for the past two years, so I decided to make him a cake for his second birthday to celebrate that love. It’s now a yearly tradition—we’ve since made it for his third and fourth birthdays—and I just love that this is part of our celebration.
This cake is also a perfect Super Bowl dessert as it’s both simple and fun. And you really don’t need any special cake decorating skills to pull it off.
I love that this chocolate cake is easy to make, is just sweet enough, and stores really well if you want to make it ahead of time.
Contents hide 1 Football Cake 2 Your toddler won’t eat? Help is here! 3 Ingredients You Need 4 Step-by-Step Instructions to Make the Cake 5 Step-by-Step Instructions to Frost the Football Cake 6 Frequently Asked Questions 7 How to Store 8 Best Tips for Success 9 Related Recipe 10 Favorite Football Cake 10.1 Football Cake 10.2 Chocolate Frosting
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Ingredients You Need
To make this recipe you need to have the following ingredients on hand.
- Flour: You can use whole wheat, all-purpose, or a mixture of the two. I usually use all-purpose flour for light and tender results.
- Vegetable oil: I typically use canola oil or vegetable oil here, but avocado oil would work, too.
- Sugar: A little granulated sugar is the sweetener of choice in this cake because it blends in so well and adds moisture.
- Baking soda: Fresh, active baking soda helps the cake bake through and rise nicely. (This works much better than baking powder, so do be sure to use baking soda.)
- Cocoa powder: I like SACO or Hershey’s Special Dark for the best chocolate flavor.
- Salt: A dash of salt helps enhance the rest of the flavors and deepen the chocolate flavor.
- White vinegar: This works with the other ingredients to deliver the perfect texture you expect in a chocolate cake. Please do not skip this!
- Vanilla extract: Paired with cocoa powder, vanilla extract is an extra flavor note.
- Quick Chocolate Frosting: Or a frosting of your choice.
TIP: The cake is dairy and egg-free, and there’s not even any butter. You can make it gluten-free by using a gluten-free cup-for-cup flour blend. It’s like a magic cake!
Step-by-Step Instructions to Make the Cake
Here’s a look at how to make this football cake so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.
- Trace your pan onto parchment paper.
- Grease the pan and add the parchment paper round.
- Stir together the cake ingredients.
- Add to the greased pan and bake.
- Carefully invert onto a wire rack.
- Let cool.
TIP: You can bake the cake up to this point the day before you plan to serve it. Store it, once cooled, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Frost the Football Cake
- Cut a strip of cake from the center of the cake. Place the remaining pieces carefully on a serving platter (or cutting board).
- Use frosting to secure the pieces together to form the football shape.
- Frost with Chocolate Frosting.
- Add white football laces with white frosting. (I use a zip top bag as a piping bag.)
TIP: Assemble your cake on the platter or surface on which you plan to serve it to keep things easy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of pan do you need to make a football cake?
This cake works well in a 9-inch cake pan.
How do you ice a football cake?
You first cover the cake with chocolate frosting. Then, pipe on white frosting to make the laces. I use a plastic zip top bag as an easy piping bag.
Can I make this cake ahead of time?
You can make it up to a day ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost closer to serving if possible. (You can also make the whole thing, with frosting, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I would let it sit out at room temperature for an hour before serving if possible to allow the cake to soften a smidge.)
How to Store
You can make it up to a day ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost closer to serving if possible.
You can also make the whole thing, with frosting, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I would let it sit out at room temperature for an hour before serving if possible to allow the cake to soften a smidge.
Best Tips for Success
- You can make the Football Cake for the Super Bowl, a game day, or a kid’s birthday.
- Use a serrated knife to slice out a 2-inch wide strip of the center piece.
- I prefer to use an offset or straight frosting spatula to frost the cake. (A butter knife will work if that’s all you have.)
- Gluten-free: Use cup-for-cup gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
- Use my Quick Chocolate Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. (I prefer the cream cheese frosting since it’s a little thicker but both work!)
- Set aside a small amount of frosting into a zip top bag or pastry bag before adding the cocoa powder so you can make the laces.