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Batter Up! Cake

Karen Tack, Father's Day Cakes
Karen Tack makes cakes for Father's Day on the TODAY show.Megan O. Steintrager / TODAY


  • 2 frozen all-butter pound cakes, thawed
  • 1 16-ounce can + 3/4 cup vanilla frosting
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate frosting
  • 1 doughnut
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 roll red fruit leather
  • 2 red licorice laces


Baseball cake by Karen Tack
Alan Richardson

Set aside ¾ cup of the vanilla frosting, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use. Spoon the dark chocolate frosting into a freezer-weight Ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag.


As you trim the cake, reserve the trimmings. Trim ¼ inch from one short end of each cake. Place the trimmed ends together on a work surface to make one long cake. To shape the bat from the narrow handle to the wider barrel, start at one short end of the cake assembly, 1¼ inches in from the long side, and cut a long tapered piece from the side of the cake, ending 4 inches from the corner on the same side at the other end. Repeat on the opposite long side, starting at the same short end. Trim 2 inches from the narrow end. To shape the bat, bevel the edges of the top of the cake and round the corners at the wide end.


Transfer the 2 cakes to a long serving platter or a piece of cardboard cut to fit. Spread some vanilla frosting on one trimmed end where the cakes meet and press the cakes together to secure. To make the knob at the base of the bat, trim ¾ inch from one side of the doughnut. Position the doughnut at the narrow end of the cake, trimmed side down, and attach with some vanilla frosting. Spread the remaining vanilla frosting over the cake and doughnut, mounding it slightly on top of the bat, and smooth. Place the cake in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.


Place pieces of wax paper on the serving platter next to the cake to keep the platter clean. Combine the vodka and 1 teaspoon of the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Using a small pastry brush and working in long, smooth, overlapping strokes, paint the vodka mixture down the length of the bat. Completely glaze the vanilla frosting to make it tan in color, always brushing in one direction and smoothing any ridges or bumps in the frosting. Paint the doughnut knob in crosswise strokes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon cocoa powder to the mixture and stir until smooth. Use a small craft brush to add the wood grain to the tan-painted frosting. Remove the wax paper and clean the platter.


Cut several pieces of fruit leather and wrap them around the grip of the bat in overlapping strips. Trim to fit.


Snip a very small (1/16-inch) corner from the bag with the chocolate frosting. Pipe the Slugger logo on the cake (see photo, above) or personalize with your own words. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill.


To make the baseball, spray a 10-ounce glass bowl with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bowl with plastic wrap. Crumble the reserved cake trimmings in a medium bowl. Add ¼ cup of the reserved vanilla frosting and mix until well blended. Press the cake mixture into the prepared bowl and cover with the overhanging plastic wrap (see photo, opposite page). Place in the freezer until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.


Remove the chilled cake from the bowl by pulling on the plastic wrap lining the bowl. Remove the plastic wrap and place the cake, flat side down, on a small plate or cardboard cut to fit. Spread the remaining ½ cup of the vanilla frosting on top of the cake and smooth. Let the cake stand for 20 minutes, until the frosting is dry to the touch.


Using a kitchen towel or a paper towel, lightly press against the frosting on the baseball cake to create a leather texture. Score a semicircle on opposite sides of the cake with a toothpick or by pressing the rim of a drinking glass into the frosting. For the stitches, press the red licorice-lace pieces in a V-shape along the scored lines, with the V stitches in each row pointing in opposite directions.