In my house, we have an ongoing debate about what makes cake so delicious: is it the cake itself or the icing? My three-year-old is an icing kind of girl, often diving face-first into the frosting of her cake slices and leaving the spongy tower beneath it untouched. Sacrilege, I say. Although I love cake for all occasions (I literally made an entire chocolate cake for no reason last month), moist, decadent birthday cakes are my jam. Is there anything more perfect than a creative confection like a number-shaped cake for a birthday party?
Especially for milestones like baby's first birthday, number-shaped cakes are a great way to get out of the round or rectangular cake (with numerical candle) rut. If you look closely, you'll notice some number "cakes" are actually confections called cream tarts, according to Zainab, the blogger and baker behind A Classic Twist. They were dreamed up by Israeli baker Adi Klinghofer, and the variation on the classic birthday treat leaves you free to decorate the top of the dessert with all kinds of deliciousness like fruit, multicolored patterns of frosting, ganache sculptures, candy-coated trinkets, or edible glitter. I'm slowly building up my confidence in baking, but some of these number-shaped cake ideas look both easy enough to follow and tasty enough to eat all by myself.
1. An Oreo Worth Dunking
I've never dunked a cake into milk, but I'd be willing to try it with a cookie-adorned birthday cake. Cookies and cream make such a classic flavor combination, as well as one that's simple to find decorations for. Best of all, no one will ever judge you for being heavy-handed when you plop a whole pack of Oreos into vanilla buttercream icing.
2. Let's Be Mermaids
It's a cake... it's a mermaid... it's downright magical. Kathy over at Merriment Design cooked up an easy template for a mermaid cake that's sure to make a splash with your sea-loving kiddo. This is a number cake cool enough to make an under-appreciated ninth birthday memorable.
3. Cupcakes... But Make It Cake
Cupcakes are my personal favorite because of consistent portion sizing, the lack of need for a knife (I'm horrible at cutting), and the ability to create just about any shape. You don't have to feel limited just because you're working with round objects, either. Because they're so adaptable, pull-apart cupcake instructions can be used for almost any shape. Using either each cupcake or a foundation of icing slathered across the top, you can easily arrange them into a number.
4. Pretty In Pink
Confession: I'm not a huge fan of the color pink. But this pretty, stellar dessert really takes the cake. If you're planning a birthday party featuring the cartoon characters Pinkalicious and Peterrific, this is a showstopper. Whether your kiddo is turning one, two, 12, im sure you'll find this DIY number cake recipe handy.
5. ... Because MORE Chocolate
Hershey bar lovers deserve their own separate cake, yes? Even the most amateur baker (aka me) can top this stunner with their favorite mini chocolate bars on a cake and make it look genius. If all that cocoa deliciousness looks boringly monochromatic (but, like, how?!) switch it up with white chocolate.
6. Say Mmmm for M&Ms
If bright, primary color-themed candies will make your little one say, "ooh," "ahh," or "mmm!" then make their day with an M&Ms number cake. If it looks like time-consuming work, it is: Debbie of One Little Project warned that it took her 90 minutes to decorate the rainbow. But the effect is more than worth it.
7. Go For Four
The little tea party enthusiast in your life can't help but raise a dainty pinky finger to this number four cake. You can never go wrong with candies and sprinkles. Australian blogger Cintia also includes a helpful diagram that makes cutting the shape a cinch.
8. Macarons And Meringues, Oh My!
Macarons are possibly the most colorful cookies ever, which is no wonder why it's a no-brainer to dot a number-shaped cake with macarons. If you are going with a more traditional sponge with icing, this French, meringue-based confection will provide a nice crisp bite to counterbalance all that softness. Throw macarons in as the star of the show or mix it up with other types of decorative features, like meringue cookies.
9. Floral, Fresh, and Fruity
10. Sprinkle A Little Love
Here's the best thing about this Hawaii-inspired number-shaped cream tart: it was made using white box cake. Keeping it simple doesn't mean you have to skimp on elegance. Use white chocolate chips, candy dots, and sprinkles to create beautifully textured layers.
11. A Pastel Dreamscape
Homemade mini meringues, candies, and edible glitter in a rainbow of pastel colors add a sweet flair to this project. The number three-shaped cake pan used for the recipe is the key to simplifying the cutting process. Toss on a few light-colored flowers and admire your work.