A Number Cake, also called a Cream Tart or Alphabet Cake, is a trendy way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or new year! These number "cakes" are really more like cookie tarts since the base is made of crisp shortbread with creamy filling rather than a more traditional sponge cake with buttercream. When freshly prepared, the shorbread tarts are crisp and pair well with fruits and creamy whipped ganache. You personalize these number cakes with the garnishes you choose to decorate them with. Nothing is off limits! You can use chocolate decorations, fruits, edible gold leaf, macarons, meringues, marzipan sculptures, and anything else you can dream of.
This is a rather easy recipe requiring only a few components, but the one thing you'll need is a set of stencils to shape perfectly even numbers. You can either buy a set or make your own by printing out the numbers you need on simple printer paper.
Makes 2 Single-Digit Number Cakes
Transfer the hot ganache to a hotel pan or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours or overnight. While it is very liquid now, it will cool to a softer paste.
If you are using a fruit purée, divide the chocolate ganache in half and mix the fruit into one of the halves.
The shorcrust base can be prepared a day in advance of assembly.
Preheat the oven to 340°F (171°C) in preparation for baking the shortcrust numbers.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale by beating with a stand mixer or hand beater, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg until fully incorporated.
Sift together the all-purpose flour and almond flour.
After exposure to the whipped ganache, the shortcrust tart will begin to soften from the moisture, making it easier to cut. If you prefer a more crisp texture, enjoy the tarts immediately. For a softer texture, enjoy your number cake after an hour or two in the refrigerator. Number cakes can be refrigerated and stored for 24-48 hours, but be aware of the garnishes you choose (flowers can wilt or and sliced strawberries can dry out).
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