Play Ball Cake Recipe
Play Ball Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Play Ball Cake Recipe

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You won't need any fancy pans for this sporty dessert. The kids always want the pieces that have the red licorice "lacing!" I have found that fresh, pliable licorice works the best for forming the laces on the curved ball cake. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Featured In: Tailgating Desserts
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling
MAKES:8-10 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling
MAKES: 8-10 servings


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • Shoestring red licorice

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 678 calories, 31g fat (11g saturated fat), 71mg cholesterol, 334mg sodium, 95g carbohydrate (65g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add alternately with milk to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour 1-1/2 cups batter into a greased and floured 3-cup ovenproof bowl.
  2. Pour remaining batter into a greased and floured 9-in. round baking pan. Bake both cakes at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the shortening, butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in 3 tablespoons milk, extracts and salt until smooth. Set aside 1 cup.
  4. To remaining frosting, beat in cocoa and remaining milk. Cut a 3-in. x 1-in. oval for the thumb opening from an edge of the 9-in. cake. Place cake on a 11-in. covered board. Frost with chocolate frosting.
  5. With four pieces of licorice, form two crosses over thumb opening for laces in mitt. Frost the rounded cake with white frosting. Use licorice pieces to form laces of ball. Place on mitt cake opposite the thumb opening. Yield: 8-10 servings.
Originally published as Play Ball Cake in Taste of Home April/May 1998, p37

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bigrachel User ID: 3493407 202662
Reviewed Jun. 9, 2011

"easy - piece of cake to make!! It was fun and the whole family enjoyed it."

Deb Hernandez User ID: 1557283 17090
Reviewed Feb. 26, 2011

"Adorable!!!!!!!! Easier than I thought."

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