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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How to Make a Gluten Free Number or Letter Cake

How to Make a Gluten Free Number Cake - Easy Cake Decorating Ideas and Simple Cake Hacks that Look Professional - Number 7 Cake Decorated with macarons, strawberries and frosting

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely not a cake decorator. 

I love making cakes and I love eating cakes - but the whole decorating process stresses me out.

Recently, however, we had a milestone birthday in our family and I was tasked with baking the cake. Wanting to make something a little bit special, I took to Pinterest to search for ideas.

First I went looking for easy cake decorating ideas and my page was filled with chocolate cakes topped with plastic diggers and cake crumbs or cakes that looked anything but easy. So then I browsed the number cakes instead.

What I ended up finding was a Pinterest trend I actually thought I could master - and I found a secret weapon that would enable me to do just that...

So let me tell you all about it! >> 


How to Make an Easy Gluten Free Number Cake - Easy Cake Decorating Ideas and Simple Cake Hacks that Look Professional  -  Girly Number 7 Cake Decorated with Pink and Brown Macarons, Fresh Strawberries and French Style Icing

Number and letter cakes are all over Pinterest. Often made from cookies, these two layer cakes are filled and topped with buttercream frosting or whipped cream and decorated with whatever your heart desires.

But I didn't really want a cookie cake - I wanted a cake. So I decided to make a number cake.

Making the Cake:
  1. Decide: Do you want to make a cake from scratch? Or hack a store bought cake?

    If the answer is hack - skip below and head to the shops!
  2. The Cake Mix: You can use just about any cake recipe you like. Use your favourite recipe, use a box mix - the choice is yours. The only cake recipe I would not use is a mud cake or extremely dense cake recipe. Why? The heavier your cake, the harder it is for it to stay together as it will squeeze the middle frosting layer out and turn into a huge disaster.

    I used this gluten free sponge cake recipe (I doubled the recipe, using half in each layer) but also love this one.

    You want to make two separate layers (one for the top and one for the bottom).
  3. The Cake Tin: You can use a regular cake tin (square, rectangle, circle etc) - or you can use a speciality cake tin. I always hired number cake tins from party stores - but I found the perfect cake pan that you will use for years and years... more about that below.

    If you're using a regular cake tin, choose the best option for the shape you're making.
  4. Cutting It To Shape: Using a sharp knife (I used a fine serrated knife), carefully cut your cakes to shape, ensuring both of the layers are even.

    For these cakes, I also cut all of the edges so there's a raw edge showing on every side.

    TIP! If you're not confident about cutting your cake to shape, print or cut out a paper template to place on top and cut around.
Cake Hack Option:
Don't want to make a cake from scratch? Why not use a store-bought cake instead? Get an un-frosted/un-iced sheet cake or sponge cake and cut it into shape. You could easily use a rectangular cake and turn it into any number. 

Convertible Number Cake Tin - Wilton Countless Celebrations Cake Pan Set Review

As I mentioned above, I've always hired number or letter cake tins when buying a specialty cake - but this time I wanted to do things differently.

Luckily, I found this Wilton Countless Celebrations Cake Pan Set from Everten (also available here for international readers!) that would be perfect for this cake - and so many others. 

I know it will be one of those cake tins I use for years and years - and I'm already planning my next cake (for my Mum's birthday) and the following cake (Jesse's big 3-0 birthday cake!).

BUT THIS IS WHERE I FAILED YOU.

Now, I didn't think about taking process shots because, to be honest, I didn't actually know if the cake would turn out that well... but I promise I'll update this post with photos the next time I make a number cake.

Convertible Number Cake Tin - Wilton Countless Celebrations Cake Pan Set Review

Basically, the Countless Celebrations Cake Pan comes with different shapes inserts that you can place into the pan to make whatever number, letter or shape you like. It comes with a guide for using the cake pan to make every letter, number and symbol - but you can also get creative and make it your own.

Since it was only a small party, I didn't want to gigantic cakes - so I instead took the inserts to turn the rectangle cake into the two numbers. 

I baked two separate layers and then cut the cooked cakes down the centre and on the edges to make the shape of the numbers. I added an insert for the centre of the 0 and added a few inserts on the side of the 7 to avoid wasting cake batter.

How to Make an Easy Gluten Free Number Cake - Easy Cake Decorating Ideas and Simple Cake Hacks that Look Professional - Number 7 Cake Decorated with macarons, strawberries and frosting

Making the Frosting:
For the frosting, I used a basic buttercream recipe that I piped on using a piping bag and large circle tip.

I simply placed the base cake layers onto the plates, piped dollops of icing equally along each of the numbers and then placed the top layer on top. 

Once I had the top layer in place, I piped dollops of icing on top once again and the cake was ready to decorate.

How to Make an Easy Gluten Free Number Cake - Easy Cake Decorating Ideas and Simple Cake Hacks that Look Professional - Number 0 Cake Decorated with macarons, strawberries and frosting - How to Make a Letter O Cake

Decorating the Cake:
Now here's the secret to a pretty cake! This cake is pretty much foolproof because the toppings help to cover up any mishaps you might have had. I decorated my cakes with macarons (store bought ones because I was short on time!) and cut strawberries, but here's some other ideas I've had: 
  • Macarons 
  • Mini Meringues
  • Cookies 
  • Fresh fruit 
  • Chocolate bars, chopped into pieces
  • Chocolate truffles 
  • Chocolate bark, broken into pieces
  • Fresh flowers (daisies, roses, pansies, violas, lavender, carnations and so many other flowers are safe to use!)
  • Shaped marshmallows
  • Your favourite candy/lollies
  • Sprinkles
  • Edible gold leaf
There are so many different combinations you could use. We're planning on making a cookies and cream letter cake soon with chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream and gluten free oreo pieces on top.

Easy 70th Birthday Cake Ideas - How to Make an Easy Gluten Free Number Cake - Easy Cake Decorating Ideas and Simple Cake Hacks that Look Professional - Number 7 Cake Decorated with macarons, strawberries and frosting

Make It Your Own!
And that's really all there is to it! You can easily use your favourite cake recipe to make this cake, use my sponge cake recipe below (note that you may have to double/halve the recipe depending on how big your cake tin is!) - or you can even use a storebought cake and cut it to shape. 

The possibilities are pretty much endless - but let me share my recipe with you! For the pictured cake, I used two batches of my sponge cake recipe and one batch of the frosting (and had leftover cake batter and frosting to make a few cupcakes because the inserts took up some of the room!)

But tell me, 
Do you fancy yourself as a cake decorating pro? 
Or are you like me and find yourself freaking out whenever you have to make a cake? 

   
   

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