Just in Time for March Madness

The Duke/UNC game is upon us. May the best team (Duke) win.

One of my co-workers wanted a basketball cake and basketball cookies for a party she's having this weekend.

I love making cakes for this person because she is always so flexible! She tells me to "do whatever you wanna do," and that makes me one happy woman!

I knew I would be making this cake late at night (since I work all day), so I didn't want to challenge myself too much in the decorating department. I save those challenging cake projects for the weekend!

To make the cake special, I decided to try a new flavor. I made Wilton's Caramel Buttercream Frosting. My signature white cake has hints of almond and vanilla, which paired well with the caramel buttercream. It was delicious!

This cake is super easy to make, so I wanted to give you a step-by-step tutorial.

I baked two 8" round cakes in advance and then froze them. This makes cake assembly much easier and less time-consuming when it's time to decorate. After the cakes are done baking, I allow them to rest for approximately 10 minutes before removing them from the pan and wrapping them in plastic wrap. Although they are still warm, I find that trapping in the heat with the wrap and then immediately freezing them results in an extremely moist cake! You will find different opinions of this, but that's my method. This recipe holds up well, so flipping them out of the pan when they are still warm has never been an issue for me.

When it came time to decorate, I whipped up a batch of the caramel buttercream. The recipe on the Wilton site is awesome!

I frosted my cake with the caramel buttercream. For this two-layer cake, I also used the caramel buttercream for the filling.

Instead of buying a cake board, I assembled mine from a piece of cardboard. Just cut out your circle and cover with aluminum foil.

For black and red icing, I typically purchase the pre-made tubes of Wilton icing. Black and red are hard colors to make and I find it's not worth the extra time and struggle.

The Wilton black icing tube allows you to attach your decorating tip directly to the tube. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure that out.

Using the black icing, I traced my basketball.

Using my yellow and red food coloring, I made a batch of orange buttercream.

Using a star tip, I carefully filled in the basketball with my frosting.

In the front segment (pictured below), you can see where the "stars" are not as defined. By the very end of my decorating, the heat from my hands had softened the icing. Make sure your icing stays cool and the consistency remains medium/thick to avoid this.

And there you have it.....

The only thing this cake needs is a little Duke blue.