Basketball Cupcakes for March Madness

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Are you a Basketball fan? Well, even if you don’t usually watch the games, you may have heard, March Madness is upon us. And the Sweet Sixteen starts this weekend. For those of you throwing a March Madness Party, or celebrating…I created some Basketball Cupcakes, specifically IU Cupcakes for Hoosier fans!

The most important game of all {well at least to us} is on Friday when Indiana plays Kentucky. You see my good friend and fellow blogger, Tiffany from Eat at Home is from Kentucky…and of course…we are Hoosiers. So we have a little rivalry going on, not just a Basketball competition, but a CUPCAKE competition!

Blue Velvet vs Red Velvet = Kentucky vs Indiana

This is just a little ribbing between friends…Kentucky vs Indiana. But I think it’s pretty fun!

First, let’s chat a bit about the Indiana University {IU} decoration on the cupcakes. They are made with Candy Clay. I’ve mentioned candy clay a couple times before, so I thought it was high time I share with you how to make it.

In case you are like me, and don’t care for the taste of fondant or don’t like working with it, then Candy Clay is your answer!

I first learned how to make Candy Clay from a couple of my favorite cupcake decorators, Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, in their new book, Cupcakes, Cookies & Pies! oh my! It’s easy to work with, but does takes some planning since it needs to rest for 3 hours after you mix it. So no last minute cupcakes with the Candy Clay. You can certainly make up a batch, store it in a resealable bag and use what you need.

I use white candy melts, then I can divide the batch and color it as I need it.

Candy Clay Supplies:

  • 1 (12 oz) bag candy melts
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
Directions for Candy Clay:
  1. Melt candy wafers in the microwave, stopping every 20 seconds and stirring. It should take about 1 minute total. I stop when there are a few small pieces left and stir until completely melted, that way I don’t over cook it.
  2. Add 1/3 cup corn syrup and stir until well combined. It will look a little grainy.
  3. Place clay on a piece of plastic wrap, cover and let set for at least 3 hours at room temperature.
  4. Add color if you are using white candy melts, add a little with a toothpick, it doesn’t take much {I learned that really quickly}
  5. Need clay with your hands. You can wear plastic gloves if you want, the coloring did wash off my hands, but you may want to.
  6. After the clay is completely colored, wrap in plastic wrap and let set about 15-20 minutes. I found it was a lot easier to work with after it had firmed back up.
  7. Roll clay between 2 pieces of parchment paper to about 1/8 inch thick.
Directions for IU logo:
  1. Print out logo from the computer
  2. Cut out logo and place on candy clay
  3. Cut out with sharp knife
  4. Let it set on the parchment paper for a few minutes before you remove it, again, I found it easier to remove if it firms back up a little.
  5. Place on cupcake

For the Basketballs, I frosted the cupcakes with a dark orange icing, combining orange and a little copper color, and then rolled the cupcake in orange sugar. The laces are black icing, piped on with a #3 decorator tip.

Now let’s make some Red Velvet CupcakesGO HOOSIERS!! 

4 from 1 reviews
Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious cupcakes. Recipe from
Serves: 24 cupcakes
  • 2½ cups Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Butter, softened
  • 1½ cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ teaspooon Wilton No-Taste Icing Color (no-taste is important to use, because red coloring can be very bitter)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 1½ teaspoons White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, fill muffin tin with cupcake liners
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, icing color and vanilla, mix well.
  5. Add dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, add water and mix well.
  6. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and baking soda, add to batter, mix well.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean..
  8. Cool completely
  1. The IU decoration was made with Candy Candy, you can see how to make them in the post above.
  2. Frost with Decorator Icing or your favorite frosting using a Giant Round Tip
  3. Sprinkled with red sugar
Liz says...
The traditional frosting to add to Red Velvet Cupcakes is cream cheese. You can find the Cream Cheese Frosting here, you will need to double the recipe though.

So what do you think?

Will you be rooting for the University of Kentucky or Indiana Hoosiers on Friday?

Which cupcake flavor is your favorite…will it be Blue Velvet or Red Velvet?

In case you aren’t a Kentucky or Indiana fan…here are the March Madness Basketball Cupcakes I shared last year, complete with the Basketball Backboard and a video to show you how to make them.

Now it’s your turn…show off your cupcake creations! I’d appreciate a link back and be sure to check out the other cupcakes!


  1. Christina says:

    I am not one for basketball, but if basketball always involved cupcakes…I would be a huge fan! These look great and I love how you made the logos. Thanks for hosting!
    Christina recently posted..Butterfly CupcakesMy Profile

  2. I’ve not yet made candy clay… Really need to set aside some time for making some.
    Thanks for hosting a great party!
    Karyn – Pint Sized Baker recently posted..Katniss’ Squirrel CupcakesMy Profile

  3. Angela says:

    I live in Indiana but am rooting for the KU Jayhawks…. my son wants to go to Purdue and didn’t know who to yell for on Sunday!

  4. Rikki-Dee says:

    I made the basketball cupcakes for our party today. I think I did a pretty decent job.

  5. Rikki-Dee says:

    I posted a pic on fb

  6. Casey says:

    I’m a teacher from NZ and I would love to do make your torch cupcakes with my class. We do know have “Candy Melts” in NZ and wondered if there an equivalent that I could buy here to use?
    Casey recently posted..Summer CupcakesMy Profile

  7. Breanna says:

    How long can you prep this in advance? Wanting to also make some cupcake toppers but I’m trying to balance my son’s party with a newborn.

    • CupcakeLady says:

      Hi Breanna, do you mean the candy clay? It can be made weeks ahead. We store ours in a Food Saver system bag and it stays perfect. If you don’t have a food saver, you can use resealable bags, be sure the air is out and maybe double bag. The clay will be hard, but don’t worry, just work in your hands to soften.
      Hope that helps!

  8. Breanna says:

    How long can you prep this ahead of time??

  9. Dianne says:

    What is the weight or volume of a bag of candy melts?
    I can only buy them in bulk in my area and have to scoop them out of the bin myself.


  10. Amber says:

    I do not like fondant at all, so when I saw this candy clay recipe I was estatic.
    I plan on using candy clay to make my daughter’s Monster High birthday cake. It will be either a half or full size sheet cake. I know I will need pink, white, and black melts.
    That being said, how much of each color do you think I would need to make it?


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