Looking for the ideal birthday cake? Dive into this easy number cake recipe, designed for both beginners and seasoned bakers alike. With clear step-by-step instructions and handy tips, you'll craft this impressive centerpiece in no time.
Number cake or alphabet cake, you'll be charmed by these fresh twists on cakes, offering a delightful departure from traditional layer cakes. Decorate with your favorite fresh fruits and tailor your decorations to match the theme of the celebration.
What is a number cake?
A number cake is a trendy dessert shaped like a number, often used to celebrate milestones like birthdays or anniversaries. It typically consists of layers of sponge or cookie bases, adorned with cream, fruits, chocolates, and other sweet decorations.
Easily adaptable, this number cake recipe can be transformed into a letter cake, shaped like a heart, or even crafted into a ring—ideal for wedding celebrations
Mostly made of 2 sweet crust bases assembled in a sandwich and filled with a creamy frosting. You can customize this birthday cake according to your tastes and desires and decorate it with fresh fruits, chocolate, and candies.
Why you'll love this cake
My number cake recipe features a base made of sumptuous shortcrust pastry, known as "pâte sucrée" a bit like a tart cake.
- Easy-to-Follow Recipe: Whether you're a baking novice or a seasoned pro, making a number cake is a breeze.
- Versatility at its Best: With a plethora of flavor options, you can tailor the cake to fit anyone's taste preferences.
- Simpler Than a Layer Cake: The ideal alternative for birthday celebrations without the complexities of a layered cake.
- Themed Centerpiece: Beyond just being delicious, it offers a canvas to decorate according to the theme of the party, making it both tasty and visually stunning.
More Birthday Cakes
Ingredients for this recipe
- Flour: Opt for all-purpose flour, ensuring it's sifted for a smoother dough.
- Almond meal: Finely ground-blanched almonds, adding a delicate nutty flavor.
- Sugar: Use powdered sugar for sweetness; it blends seamlessly into the dough.
- Salt: A pinch of fine sea salt to balance the sweetness and enhance flavors.
- Butter: Unsalted butter and cold to obtain a sandy texture.
- Eggs: Preferably large-sized, at room temperature, to bind the dough and provide moisture.
>> For number cake made with vanilla cake, you can choose between these different types of cake: vanilla sponge cake, molly cake or a chocolate cake version with this buttermilk chocolate cake or chocolate molly cake.
For the number cake, I've prepared a template of all the numbers for you to print and use as a guide to cut your shortcrust pastry dough, For a version with sponge cake, you can use a special number cake pan.
All kinds of frosting can be used to make a number cake, a mascarpone whipped cream, vanilla buttercream, a dark whipped chocolate ganache, etc.
It is important to use a frosting with a firm enough texture to prevent it from collapsing under the weight of the sweet shortcrust and decorations.
- Milk: Preferably whole milk for a rich and creamy texture.
- Vanilla: Real vanilla bean or high-quality vanilla extract for authentic flavor.
- Egg yolks: Large yolks, offer a rich taste and help to thicken the cream.
- Sugar: Caster sugar for sweetness; adjust to personal preference.
- Cornstarch: Acts as a thickening agent to achieve a smooth, velvety texture.
- Gelatin: Unflavored sheets or powder, ensuring the cream sets and maintains its structure.
- Heavy cream: Full-fat heavy whipping cream, chilled well, to be whipped into soft peaks for a light, airy consistency.
More fillings perfect to use in your number cakes:
- Whipped chocolate ganache
- Mascarpone whipped cream
- Chocolate mascarpone whipped cream
- Pastry cream
- Chocolate ganache
- Mousseline cream
- Cream cheese icing
- Vanilla buttercream
How to make a Number Cake recipe
Make the shortcrust pastry
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, flour, powdered sugar, almond powder and salt, then add the cold butter and mix with your fingers until you have a sandy texture.
- Add the egg and gather the dough into a homogeneous ball, cover on contact with plastic wrap and leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Roll out the sweet shortcrust pastry on a sheet of baking paper to a thickness of 3-4 mm with a rolling pin.
- Place your paper pattern in the center of the dough and glue it in place, pressing lightly with your hands to prevent it from moving during cutting.
- Using a small knife, cut out the outline of the pattern and remove the excess dough.
- Repeat again to get two cake numbers of sweet shortcrust pastry.
- Bake the two layers of cookie dough in a preheated oven at 350°F / 180°C for about 10 to 12 minutes then let them cool completely before moving them gently in a wire rack.
- Prepare the diplomat cream recipe and fill a piping bag with a large round tip.
- Pipe small balls of cream over the entire surface of the first layer of cookie cake of sweet shortcrust pastry.
- Place the second layer of shortcrust and again pipe the cream over the entire surface to cover it completely.
How to decorate
Let's get creative! Once you've found your base and filling, you have endless choices for decorating your number cake!
According to the theme of the party and the tastes you can create unique, colorful and very tasty desserts.
Here are some ideas to decorate the top of the cake:
- Fresh Fruit: Integrate vibrant slices or pieces of fresh fruits like strawberries, raspberries, fresh berries and blueberries. For a tropical twist, consider adding passion fruit or mango.
- Chocolate Delights: Enhance with popular chocolate treats like Kinder Bueno, Malteser, Kit Kat, Bounty, Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello, Kinder Maxi. For a crunchy texture, add Oreo or Speculoos.
- Sweet Garnishes: Adorn with baked goodies such as meringue kisses, and macarons, or chocolate sprinkles some sugar pearls, colorful sprinkles, candies, and chocolate shavings. For a playful touch, consider popcorn!
- Floral Touch: Incorporate edible flowers for a natural look. If using non-edible flowers, ensure they don't come into direct contact with the cream to maintain food safety.
Find inspiration on Instagram with #numbercake
In the fridge: Store the number cake in an airtight container or cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days, but it's best consumed within 1-2 days for optimal freshness and flavor.
How to Freeze? You can freeze a number cake, but it largely depends on the toppings and fillings you use, as not all components thaw well. Ensure it's well-wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container. When ready to serve, thaw it in the refrigerator for several hours before decorating and serving.
Tip for this recipe
- Even Rolling: Ensure your shortcrust pastry is rolled evenly to prevent any uneven baking and to ensure a stable base for your number cake.
- Chill Before Baking: To prevent shrinkage and maintain the shape of your number, chill the cut-out pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Parchment Paper: Use parchment paper when baking the pastry base to avoid sticking and ensure easy removal from the baking tray.
- Cool Completely: Before garnishing, make sure to let the pastry base cool completely to prevent the toppings from melting or getting soggy.
Flavored Bases: Infuse the shortcrust pastry with flavors such as vanilla, lemon zest, cocoa powder or almond extract for an added twist.
Cream Variations: Switch up the traditional whipped cream or mascarpone topping with flavored creams like mocha, rose, or passion fruit. You could also opt for a luxurious chocolate ganache or a tangy lemon or berry curd.
Fruity Layers: Add thinly sliced fruits like strawberries, kiwis, or raspberries between the cream and the pastry base for a refreshing bite.
Chocolate Drizzle: Drizzle melted chocolate or caramel over the top of your number cake for a decadent touch.
Nutty Crunch: Add a layer of crushed roasted nuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios, for an added crunch and flavor.
Decorative Elements: Use edible flowers, gold leaf, or colorful sprinkles to add a decorative and festive touch to your number cake.
Different Fillings: Experiment with various fillings like chocolate mousse, fruit compotes, or even custards to bring a different texture and taste.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the size of a number cake?
A number cake is typically made using an A4 template, which measures approximately 8.3 inches x 11.7 inches (21 cm x 29,7cm).
How to cut a number cake?
To cut a number cake, use a sharp serrated knife to slice the cake horizontally into 1 to 1.5-inch wide portions, then cut these slices into smaller pieces, taking care with the decorations on top. Use a cake server or spatula for ease in serving.
How to transport a number cake?
Place the number cake on a large rectangular cake board and in a large baking box or an airtight container to transport your cake.
How many slices in a number cake?
In a number cake made with an A4 pattern, you will have about 6 servings.
Did you make this recipe?
Remember to drop a ⭐️ 5-star rating 🙏 and share your thoughts in the comments! Stay updated with more delicious recipes by following @sweetlycakes on Instagram. If you whip up this recipe, make sure to tag me – I'd love to see your creation! 😊!Print