How To Make A Trainer Cake For Sports Fans

A display of cakes and snacks at a sports themed birthday party.

From Adidas addicts to Nike fanatics, teenagers love trainers; it's just one of those facts of life.

That's especially true for sporty teens. So if you have someone in your life who's rarely seen sans sneakers, and who has a birthday or other special event coming up, why not whip up this impressive trainer cake?

It would go down great at a party featuring these at-home sports day events or a quiz using these sports facts.

This is overall quite a simple recipe, but it does have some tricky bits, so we recommend reading it all the way through before you begin.

On your marks, get set... go!

You Will Need

Equipment: Palette knife, rolling pin, scalpel, large mixing bowl, large rectangular cake tin, baking paper, printer with paper, scissors.

Cake Ingredients:

225g caster sugar

225g unsalted butter

225g self-raising flour

4 large eggs

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

Chocolate chips (if desired)

Decorating Ingredients:

Buttercream (pre-made or homemade by beating 600g sifted icing sugar with 300g unsalted room temp butter)

Ready-to-roll fondant in the colours of the shoe you are trying to recreate

Balloons and decorations at a sports themed birthday party.

How To Make A Trainer Cake Base

For our cake base, we'll whip up a chocolate sponge cake.

1) Heat your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5, then grease and line your two rectangular cake tins.

2) Beat together the caster sugar, butter, eggs, self-raising flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla extract, milk and a pinch of salt. Throw in some chocolate chips if you want it extra chocolatey.

3) Pour the cake mix into a tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for another 10 minutes.

How To Sculpt And Decorate Your Trainer Cake

We're now going to stack the two cakes (and add a frosting filling), then carve them into the shape of a trainer, and cover them with fondant icing to create the final look.

The carving part might sound a bit intimidating. We do not recommend trying to achieve this freehand with a knife. Instead, use templates: search for a picture of the trainer you're trying to recreate from a direct sideways angle, copy it into a word document and stretch it out to full A4 size. Then find the shape of a sole and do the same thing, making sure the pictures are roughly the same size. Finally, get an image of the shoe from a bird's eye view. Print these out and cut around the shapes.

Now back to the recipe...

1) Cut your cake in half longways down the centre, and use a palette knife to cover the top of one half in buttercream. Stack the other half on top of it. Freeze the cakes for 20 minutes so the sponge is easier to cut.

2) Get your template of the trainer from a side angle and place it against the side of your cake. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut around it, then transfer it to the other side of the cake and even it out a little more.

3) Place your sole template on top of the cake, and again cut around it. Then cut out a small hole where the foot would go. It should now be starting to look like a shoe cake!

4) Use a palette knife to cover the entire cake in a thin layer of buttercream (this is called the "crumb coat" and helps the fondant to stick). Freeze the cake for another 10 minutes.

5) Roll out the fondant icing in the colours you need to make your running shoe look. The biggest sheet will of course be whatever the main colour of the trainer is. Drape this entirely over the running shoe cake and gently press down with your hands (including in your 'foot hole), using a knife to cut off any excess icing.

6) Now it's time to use more fondant to stylise the top of the cake. Use your bird's eye picture for reference, playing it on top of your cake and gently using a knife to mark out where any lines or other features should go. This may include adding extra layers in your base colour to add height, for example along the tongue and along the sole, and doing small strips of other colours. The templates are your friends! Use them to lay over the top of your fondant and make scoring marks through, to get more precise detailing. To stick fondant to fondant, brush the bottom layer with a little water.

7) Use grey fondant with scoring marks put into it for the inside of the shoe hole, as the fondant may not be sitting properly.

8) Logos (such as the Adidas logo or the Nike tick) will be incredibly hard to recreate yourself; the best thing is to order an edible sheet you can apply with a little water.

Your cake is now born to run!

A birthday cake with a large fondant football on top, perfect for sport loving tweens and teens.

Good To Know

This cake serves 12-14 people. We estimate it will take 2.5 hours to make, allowing time for prepping, cooling and freezing the sponges, icing and decorating.

It will last for 3 days if covered at room temperature. Any longer, and cakes should be placed uncovered in the fridge for 15 minutes, then covered in plastic.

The cake can be wrapped in clingfilm and frozen for up to three months, although we don't recommend freezing the fondant decorations in case of cracking or other damage (you could still make the sponge well in advance and freeze it).

Alternative ingredients for those with allergies are easy to find and substitute into the recipe. You can even use a gluten free alternative to flour such as spelt if you wish.

If carving and shaping a running shoe cake sounds too complicated you can use ready to roll fondant icing to make a small fondant trainer that can be placed on the top of a basic sponge cake instead. This is a great, simple alternative that will save busy parents lots of time. Don't forget to add the logo of your child's favourite trainer brand; whether that be Nike or Adidas or something else!



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