If your Superbowl is missing a stadium cake; Katy Perry made out of gingerbread and supporter’s seafood read on. This one’s for you…
American football has really taken off in the UK over the past few years and with Wembley now hosting two NFL games a year, it’s built up a steady stream of followers. Whether you’ve been glued to every game this season, don’t mind watching the odd game or can’t understand what on earth’s going on, the Superbowl really is an event that can be enjoyed by everyone. The pomp and pageantry means that there’s plenty to distract you if a four-hour-long game seems a touch excessive, with a half-time show by Katy Perry and, of course, the snacks.
Having been to an NFL game in Nashville, I can vouch that food and drink are almost as important as the football at a football game. Whether you’re supporting the Seahawks or the Patriots come this evening, you can guarantee a win for yourself with these all-American snacks.
The Superbowl Stadium Cake
I genuinely considered making a full-on Superbowl snack stadium, I really did, but for the very small gathering we’re attending, it just seemed obscene. I stuck with the stadium theme but scaled it down to a (just about) appropriate size for our party, making a stadium cake.
For the field, we baked two square lemon drizzle cakes as I don’t have a large rectangular cake tin. This cake is perfect for baking in advance because it keeps really well. When the cakes were cool I turned them out onto a cake board and made my favourite lemon frosting from The Great British Bake Off How To Bake book. After adding a couple drops of green food colouring, I smothered the cakes in it – the field now has delicious lemony grass. Using standard icing (icing sugar mixed with a tiny bit of water), I piped on the field markings.
Happily, our shops are already full of Easter eggs so I was able to buy some Cadbury’s Cream Eggs to use as slightly-out-of-scale footballs. All you need to do is pipe on the stitches. You could also make a chocolate truffle football if you want to really impress your guests, just make sure you shape it and allow it to set in the fridge before piping on the icing.
We had big plans to make our own gingerbread players, crowd and stands but there are only so many hours after work and we ran out of time – if you’re making this on the weekend you could make it spectacular. We used shop-bought mini gingerbread men, which came in boxes of 30 for about £2 –amazing. Use icing and food colouring to decorate your players, bearing in mind that food colouring has its limitations. We weren’t able to get the colours as accurate as we wanted, but we added helmets and think that the result is pretty adorable. We propped our players up using cocktail sticks so they didn’t sink too much into the cake.
The half-time show is, apart from the elaborate food, my favourite part of the Superbowl. This year Katy Perry will be taking the stage, so we wanted to make a gingerbread tribute to her. We iced her in a spangly top and hot pants, though we tried our hardest to make her a tiny firework bra. Our sparkler candles failed us in the end, and we were unable to source those tinselly cocktail sticks, which, when poked through her gingerbread bosom, would have been perfect. Such a shame.
For the finishing touches, we gave Katy a stage at the end of the cake board, added a couple of back-up dancers and stuck on a crowd of jelly baby spectators. We used cake pop sticks for the goal posts.
The cake was fun to make, and though it wouldn’t win any decorating prizes, we think it’s quite cute.
How to make your Superbowl Stadium Cake
For the cake, place 4 eggs, 350g caster sugar and 300g soft margarine into a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Stir in the finely grated rind of two lemons then fold in 350g of self-raising flour. When all of the flour is mixed in, slowly add in 250ml of milk stirring to ensure a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin(s) and bake in a pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes at 180C (160C fan). Make your drizzle when the cake has about 5 minutes to go by adding 280g icing sugar to 100ml lemon juice and heating gently in a pan. When the cake comes out of the oven, prick lots of holes in it using a cocktail stick then pour the drizzle over it evenly. Leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack.
For the frosting, beat 75g unsalted butter until smooth and add in 250g icing sugar. When smooth, add 4 tablespoons milk, mix, and add 3 tablespoons of lemon curd and any food colouring. Leave to chill in the fridge until you’re ready to frost your cake.
Buffalo chicken wings
After a lot of trialling over the years, I’ve decided that this BBC Good Food recipe is the best for ultimate buffalo chicken wings, and you can’t watch an American sporting event without wings. In lieu of Franks’s hot sauce, we use Encona hot pepper sauce because it’s easier to find. The wings are ever-so-slightly crisp on the outside, with a sticky, spicy coating – moreish, messy and mouth-watering.
Cheesy potato skins
Another staple for our annual Superbowl event is cheesy potato skins. They’re easy to make and you can prep them in advance so on the night you only need to heat them up.
Rub a little oil and sea salt on the skins of several potatoes then bake them in the oven at around 190C for 55 minutes on a baking tray. While they’re cooking, grate a lot of cheese (a large block of cheese is probably about right for 8 potatoes). When the potatoes are out of the oven, slice each in half then scoop out the potato from each skin into a mixing bowl. Mash the potato with a knob of butter until nice and creamy then add the cheese. How much cheese you use is really down to individual taste, so add a small handful at a time, mix it in to the mash with a spoon and taste. Generally I’d use about ¾ of the cheese at this stage.
When the mash is deliciously cheesy, scoop a spoonful at a time back into the potato skins until they’re full. Sprinkle over the leftover cheese on top. If you’re cooking them all in one go, now put the skins back into the oven at about 170C for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden. If you’re making these in advance just cover the tray in Clingfilm and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to put them in the oven.
Add crispy bacon, caramelised onion or cherry tomatoes to jazz them up, or just serve with barbecue sauce.
This year sees the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots, so it only seems fitting that we cook up some grub from their respective states – happily, Washington and Massachusetts are the proud creators of some of the best food in the US.
Smoked haddock chowder
Seafood features heavily on menus in both Seattle and New England, particularly in the form of chowder. Whilst it’s not a snack per se, chowder would make an ideal dinner to set you up for the Superbowl. It doesn’t actually start in the UK until about 11.30pm, so there’s plenty of time for a hearty meal – this Jamie Oliver smoked haddock chowder is delicious. It features in his fabulous 30 Minute Meals book so is an easy-peasy dinner too.
Coffee and chocolate brownies
Who can think of Seattle without thinking of coffee? It’s the birthplace of Starbucks, and nowadays wonderful independent coffee shops are around practically every corner. You’re in for a late night, so coffee should be your new best friend. These scrumptious chocolate and coffee brownies from Elly McCausland are clearly the way to salute Seattle and stay awake into the wee hours.
Crab and lobster
If your budget can stretch to lobster rolls, they’re the perfect New England snack, otherwise make some crab cakes with dip. The game is a long one, so you’ll want some proper food, not just sugary snacks.