I recently stepped waaaay out of my comfort zone to make a number cake for a 70th birthday. This blog gives you some tips for using number tins, and tells you how I got on! The idea of number cakes has always filled me with dread. I'm much better with round cakes. Just a simple circle that I can twirl around on my turntable and ganache in 10 minutes, easily cover with fondant and most importantly... bake in a normal shaped tin! However a lovely customer requested a 7 and 0 cake for her mum, and as I relish the chance both to make a client happy and to add a new string to my bow, I boldly went where I have not gone before - the NUMBER TIN.
Thanks to Personal Ice in town I could rent both the tins and get some great advice from them about how to use them. I placed the tins on silicon mats (highly recommend these for baking purposes, just not for macarons, but that's a different, and very tragic, story) and greased them. I then cut long strips of greaseproof paper, folded them in half, snipped the bottom half at 2cm-intervals and then lined the tin with them. Then I greased them again. Each tin took a full 8-inch cake's worth of batter (so 4 eggs).
After baking I used my cake leveller to trim the tops and to torte the cakes. I then filled them with jam and buttercream and - crucially - left them cling filmed to sit for a few hours. Doing this ensures your cakes have settled into the filling and won't have a sunken top when you've ganached and covered them. The ganaching was messier than usual and obviously not as neat as a round cake would be, but to combat this I rolled my fondant out thicker than usual. I used Couture fondant as it's very pliable and stays soft for longer than my usual Massa. I wanted it to stay soft for a while as the cakes were going to be crimped around the edges and if you crimp hardening fondant it cracks and looks highly unattractive. So the couture worked well.
- The batter did not leak out of the tin, the cakes looked neat despite them being tricky shapes, and the customer was delighted with the final product!
- Let's just say it's not my favourite job extruding. It took me a looooong time to extrude the tiny amount of modelling paste needed to make those cute little balls of wool.
- This cake board was enormous. The number cakes are large and to fit both on comfortably I had to order a cake board that was 20" square. The sight of me rolling out fondant onto it and huffing and puffing was not a pretty one...
For more cake decorating tips go to our Facebook page and have a look at our Top Tip Tuesday feature, and to take one of our cake classes click on the 'Classes' page above.