I made this Basketball Birthday Cake for my little sister's best friend, Ann. They had a joint graduation party and I made a cake for each of them. She played basketball through middle school and high school, so I thought this would be the perfect cake for her.
I cooked 1 cake mix (Funfetti) for each of the the top and bottom halves in a "soccer ball" cake pan. They didn't come out as "round" as I would have liked, and when put together, looked more like a space ship than a ball. So, I leveled the tops of each half and used the cut parts and icing to fill between the halves, to make it a little taller. I also had to carve the top and bottom to make them look more round (although still not as round as I wanted). For all this work "shaping" the cake, I could have just used a round glass bowl for each half instead of buying a special pan.
I then put a thin layer of icing over the whole cake for the crumb coat and put it in the freezer to quickly harden and set. Next, I used dark brown icing to draw the lines of the basketball and to write her name and basketball #, then returned it to the freezer to harden. I then used a star tip to cover the whole cake in orange stars. To get a darker orange, I colored white icing with red, yellow, and just a couple drops of green. I tested this with a small amount of icing first, then colored the whole can of icing. I returned the cake to the freezer again to make sure the stars hardened and wouldn't "fall" or get smooshed - I wanted to keep that "pointy" look.
This was definitely a challenge, and took a lot of patience, but the end result was great. She loved her cake, and it was a hit at the party!