A cake in the shape of a ball, decorated with fondant strips that look like yarn, makes a great gift for a knitting or crocheting enthusiast, or a cat-lover -- just add a fondant or gum-paste cat to the top of the cake. You can make the cake from any colour of fondant to coordinate with the party's colour scheme or the guest of honor's favourite colour. The cake can be made 48 to 72 hours in advance to provide plenty of drying time and time to correct any errors along the way.
Add the ingredients to a store-bought cake mix in a medium-size mixing bowl according to the package directions. Mix well.
Coat the insides of 2 oven-safe bowls with vegetable shortening or a vegetable-oil spray. Sprinkle some flour over the shortening or spray.
Pour the cake batter into the bowls so that each bowl has an equal amount of batter. Bake the cakes according to the mix's instructions.
Take the oven-safe bowls out of the oven, and cool the cakes in the bowls for 20 to 30 minutes. Take the cakes out of the bowls. Place them, flat side down, on a wire rack to continue to cool for another 3 to 4 hours.
Spread a layer of buttercream icing in the colour of your choice on the rounded top of one of the cakes. Turn the cake upside down, and place it, icing side down, on a cake tray. If the cake is wobbly, apply more icing or cut off a small sliver of the rounded end to make a smooth edge on which to sit. Cover the newly cut edge in more icing, and place it back on the cake tray.
Spread a thick layer of icing on the top of the cake on the cake tray. Place the other cake on top, with the rounded end of the cake facing upward. This makes the rounded shape for the ball of yarn.
Cover the entire rounded cake in a thin layer of buttercream icing, and place it in the refrigerator to cool.
Divide the fondant into small sections. Roll each section into a long, thin tube, like a piece of yarn. Each piece should be long enough to wrap from the bottom edge of the cake, up over the top and down to the opposite edge of the cake. Make approximately 100 of these pieces of fondant yarn.
Drape approximately 25 of the pieces of fondant yarn over the cake, side by side. Drape the next 25 pieces of fondant yarn over the cake, beginning on the opposite side so that some of the pieces overlap some of the pieces already on the cake. Continue overlapping pieces until you have used all of the fondant-yarn pieces.
Make 1 exceptionally long piece of fondant yarn. Put it on the cake in the same way, and leave an end draping along the cake tray to look like the cut end of the yarn.