The Ultimate Guide to Tennessee Vols Cake

The Ultimate Guide to Tennessee Vols Cake

September 12, 2019

Whether its a game day or you are celebrating a special event, there is no doubt about it  - Tennessee Vols fans love cake.

If you are looking for an inspiring Tennessee Vols birthday cake, grooms cake, graduation cake, ideas, recipes or the best bakery to make your cake, you will find it here.

This is the Ultimate Guide to Tennessee Vols Cakes.

At Rocky Top Gifts many of our customers continue to ask us if we had a good orange checkerboard cake recipe, or could refer a bakery to that could make a customized T cake and so on, that we decided to put together this resource for all our Rocky Top Gifts customers and all other Vols fan who could use it.  (And hopefully, if you have not jumped in the Rocky Top Gift Community Yet, YOU WILL SOON)

If you are looking for inspiration to bake the cake yourself, we hope you find it.  If you are looking for a pro for your wedding or grooms cake, we have listed the 5 Top Rated bakeries in the market right now that can bake a customized UT Cake for you.

So let’s get Started.  





The Tennessee Checkerboard cake seems to be the most popular and the most challenging.   There is probably no other cake you can bake that will create a more  Ooooooooooooo  Awwwwwww  response from your guest

While the Tennessee checkerboard cake is challenging it is not nearly as challenging today as it was back when your momma was baking them.

Checkerboard cake pans are now available for us.   In my opinion this one we found on Amazon by Kitchen Collection is the best we have seen for creating the White and Orange Checkerboard pattern. It should be part of every Tennessee Vols fans kitchen.





If you are looking for a cake topper for a grooms cake, or grooms cake ideas, we have a Pinterest Board you can access where we save all Tennessee Vols Inspirational cake ideas we find.  Grooms cakes, birthday cakes, wedding cakes, graduation cakes, you can see them all right here:




The Top 5 Bakeries that will create a Custom TN VOLS CAKE for your Special Event

The truth is in Knoxville, and throughout the state of Tennessee for that matter, there are some fabulous people that bake cakes as their side gig.

So all you really need to do is just ask around.  However, if you are looking for a professional with a commercial bakery that can do some remarkable cake designs, these are the 5 we suggest in no particular order

 1)  Mer Mer's Bakery

Mer Mer's Bakery opened its doors in 1998 and has been providing delicious cakes and treats to Knoxville ever since.

2)  VGBakery Knoxville

A from-scratch bakery that has been operating in Knoxville over 20 years and have created their fair share of custom TN cakes.

3) Nashville Sweets 

Founders Brittany Pulley and Danielle Worley believe every sweet can be art and should be beautiful, delicious and made with a whole lot of passion, care and laughter. Their creations reflect the style and personalities of their clients. 

They also designed the Neyland Stadium Just Married Cake at the top of this article.

 4)  UT Bakery 

 Believe it or not, the UT Bakery may be the most popular destination for UT Vans who want to add a cake to their tailgate spread.   Of course, their specialty is the Big T checkerboard cake.



Magpies was born in 1992. They say their goal is to spread happiness throughout Knoxville one delicious morsel at a time, adding “Anything Cake, we can do”





A bite is not enough


It strikes many people as strange that I can not only sing the UT Alma Mater to its actual tune, but that I can also sing it to the tunes of Gilligan’s Island, Ghost Riders in the Sky, and Amazing Grace.  It is a rare and formidable talent, I admit, but it is one that I worked to master under the unlikely but skillful tutelage of Professor Bill Black of UT Theatres’ costume department.  Strangely, the words themselves were sometimes the answer to a bonus question on the good professor’s final exams.


Knoxville Loves Orange


But now, when the first thoughts of football season approach, my mind, in a paroxysm of nostalgia, returns to the joys of college days and sometimes, just sometimes mind you, the Alma Mater erupts without warning from my mouth.  And whether I’m singing it to the original tune or not, I feel like donning some orange, proclaiming my Volunteer heritage, and learning the Quarterback’s name.

It’s the season, you see!  At times, it’s stronger than the Christmas urge to shop and wear holly prints.  It’s the sheer force of Football Time in Tennessee that, like some chirpy tune, gets under the skin and into the mind, into the vocal chords, and on occasion, into our kitchen as well.

And it’s particularly bad this season.  Perhaps it’s the Eclipse year confluence of Labor Day and the opening game, but this special, perhaps divine madness, has infected our fearless leader, Mahasti, too.  And that’s an extraordinary thing.  Although at first we planned on celebrating the holiday weekend with a special family treat, Red Velvet Cake, the all Vol party vibe took over.  And Mahasti, in an uncharacteristic fit of orange-tinged enthusiasm turned her thoughts away from the crimson, nearly treasonous hue of that cake.  Instead, Mahasti turned it orange.

Ever since Steel Magnolias burst onto the silver screen with its funny Armadillo shaped groom’s cake, Red Velvet Cake has experienced a resurgence and a mighty propagation across all kinds of food formats – from industrially produced cookies, to ice cream and shakes and even some savory applications, the name Red Velvet has been splashed across all sorts of things masquerading as tasty food.  And all the while, the essence of the cake and its flavor profile has gotten lost in pointless permutations and bastardized attempts at creativity often based less on taste than color.


But it is not the redness of the cake that makes it special; it is instead the fine crumb, a good rise, and the gentle tug of tang against cake’s essential sweetness. Certainly red is fun, but without the velvet texture of the cake, the hue is meaningless and the name despoiled as a marketing flag.

In our recipe, we use buttermilk, sour cream and vinegar which bring a lively flavor to the cake, but also react with the baking powder to give it plenty of lift.  And the acids help break down some of the protein in flour to create a more tender, even, ahem, velvety bite.

In fact, we think this cake is so good, it doesn’t need to be slathered in creamy icing – a straightforward sprinkle of powder sugar will do.  But there’s an added advantage to using this simple garnish – with just a teeny moment of craftiness, you can turn your cake into an orange checkered end zone.  And, as you know, a triumphant visit to that area is the real icing on the cake.  So, here’s to you, Old Tennessee…

Flour Head Bakery’s Orange You a Vol Cake

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 TBL Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

2 Eggs

1 3/4 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Sour Cream

1 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1 ¼ cup Buttermilk

1 TBL Yellow Food Coloring

¼ tsp Red Food Coloring

2 TBL Cider Vinegar

2 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9X 13 pan with parchment paper, grease the sides, and set aside.

Into a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Place eggs in another medium bowl, with sugar and sour cream and beat lightly with a whisk. Add oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Whisk well until all the flour is incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared your pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool in pan. Flip the cake out of pan onto a cooling rack. Peel parchment paper off the bottom. Re-flip cake back onto a cutting board. Cover the cake with a checkerboard stencil and dust the top generously with powdered sugar. Cut into desired size squares. Serve with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

To make the checkerboard stencil – on a piece of parchment paper, outline your pan. Using a ruler, outline a grid, then color in the squares on a diagonal to make a checker board pattern. With an Xacto knife cut out the colored in squares, being careful to leave the borders of each square intact. 

This recipe originally was published on Flour Head Bakery website here:

We hope you have enjoyed this Ultimate Guide to Tennessee Vols Cake.   We appreciate your feedback, comments and suggestions.

Until next time enjoy your cake and GO VOLS!

PS the next time you need purchase a birthday gift please remember 
ROCK TOP GIFTS.  You can order online 24 hours a day, call us during regular business hours, we appreciate the chance to earn your GIFT BUSINESS.




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