Close up of frosted football cupcakes on a cake stand.

Easy Football Cupcakes

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes


These moist and fluffy decorated Football Cupcakes are guaranteed to be a hit at this year’s Superbowl party! 


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) sour cream
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) natural cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (296 ml) hot brewed coffee

For the Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups (339 g) unsalted butter, cold.
  • 5 cups (650 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Green gel color
  • Brown gel color
  • Black gel color (optional)


For the Cupcakes: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining coffee and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.

For the Frosting: 

  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, and beating until the butter look light in color.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the last 1 cup of powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream and salt. Beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
  5. Separate out ¼ cup of the prepared frosting, and leave it uncolored. Separate out 1 heaping cup of buttercream and dye it using the green gel colors. If you want to make the green darker, dip a toothpick in the black gel color and slowly mix it into the green until you get the desired color you’d like.
  6. For the leftover frosting, add 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and mix it into the buttercream. If it seems thicker, add 1 teaspoon of additional cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Add the brown gel coloring, and use the same toothpick technique with black gel to achieve the desired brown color.

To Decorate:

  1. For the white buttercream, fit a size 3 piping tip in a piping bag with a coupler. For the green buttercream, fit a grass icing tip in a bag with a coupler, and fill it half full of frosting. For the brown, fit a size 21 piping tip in a bag with a coupler and fill it half full.
  2. Start by piping the green frosting around the outside of the cupcake, place the piping tip directly on the surface and pull away. Next, pipe the brown frosting from a zigzag from side to side, gradually getting wider and then smaller again to make the football shape. Finally, add the laces with the white frosting. Fill in any remaining gaps with the green frosting.


  • The base recipe is my chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, but you could make these with vanilla cupcakes as well or any other base flavor.
  • Storing frosted cupcakes: The finished cupcakes can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Unless it’s hot or humid, then I’d recommend refrigerating in an airtight container and serving at room temperature.
  • When decorating, I recommend only filling half the piping bag. It’s easier to hold in your hands, and when you decorate, your hands warm up the frosting, so it’s helpful to prevent the frosting from being too runny.
  • Adding the green grass icing is optional but I love the contrast of color it adds.
  • Leftover buttercream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or 1 month in the freezer. 
Nutrition Information:
1 Cupcake
37.2 g
230 mg
17.9 g
48.2 g
1.2 g
2.7 g
56.1 mg
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American