Birthday Cake Making: Number 4

April 23, 2012 · 15 comments

Making birthday cakes is one of the quirky little things I love about having kids.  Every year we talk A LOT about what type of cake each little person will have and I spend way to much time googling how to make their ideas come to life on the cake board.  This year little pink was over the moon with excitement about turning four.    At first she wanted a princess doll cake like her sister, then decided upon a rocket cake but just days before her  birthday finally decided she wanted a good old-fashioned number four.

Making the four shape didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I imagined.   The hardest part was working out what shapes I’d need to cut to create the four.  I got a little help from Dr Google and Cake Central and made myself some pattern pieces – as you can see in the two top pictures below.   Then I got the girls to help me whip up a butter cake (with the recipe doubled) and baked it in a flat rectangular tray that fitted all four pattern pieces in easily. My biggest tip when baking cakes is to always line the base of the tin (or tray in this case) with baking paper cut to size.  That way you know the cake isn’t going to stick to the bottom of the tin and will always come out in shape.

Once the cake had  cooled I sliced off the uneven part of the top with a serrated knife, turned the entire cake upside down and  placed the pattern pieces on top.   Then I cut out the four separate shapes needed to make the number 4 before assembling them on my cake board.   It’s a good ideas to use a few globs of icing on the underside of the cake pieces to stick them down on the cake board in their place – that way they can’t move around while you’re icing.  Once that’s done it’s time to crumb coat.  A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing used to seal in the crumbs.   You really need to do it when you’re working with cut out shapes – as they’re pretty crumbly.  A slightly thinner than usual butter icing works well to cover all areas.    You need to wait until the crumb coat is well set before moving onto your display layer of icing.  I left this one overnight in the fridge and that seemed to work well.

The second/display coat of icing is much easier and usually comes up looking great.  I rushed this one a little so it’s a tiny bit messy but no one seemed to care less at our house.   I used a butter cream icing with pink colouring.  I generally follow the 1 to 4 ratio of butter to sugar and then  add extra sugar until I get a consistency I’m happy with.

A few weeks ago I bought some flower press cutters off ebay and they arrived in the mail box just in time to help decorate the cake.  The girls and I coloured and rolled out fondant and created a few hundred little flowers to press over the cake.   You could also cut out bigger shapes with biscuit cutters or dream up some other fabulous do for your cake.   Add excited four-year old and the cake is complete.

Do you enjoy making birthday cakes for your kids?  What’s your favourite to date?

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1 Brandie Hall September 22, 2015 at 3:49 am

About how many servings does this make?

2 CristyLynn February 25, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Thanks for posting this! I had a customer request a number 4 after seeing a really cute 3 cake. Your post was helpful in trying to get the basic shapes figured out without having to actually carve a number 4 and waste a lot of cake.
Instead of the simple frosting and/or fondant, my customer requested rows of M&Ms covering the cake. It turned out really cute! Thanks again!

3 Caz December 14, 2014 at 5:22 am

My pleasure CristyLynn 🙂
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4 Willa Taley July 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm

This is really cute birthday cake. You really give me hints what is the right design of my daughter birthday cake since she is turning 4 this August. I love this flowery cake design.
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5 Caz December 14, 2014 at 5:25 am

Thanks Willa. Sorry for the late reply 🙂 Your daughter will be 6 by now. I wonder if she had six cake 🙂
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6 Lisa Wood April 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Hi Caz,

Love the easy number 4 birthday cake – it looks so pretty!

One year we made our second son a Duck Birthday cake…it took hours! It was a 3D birthday cake, and it had little baby ducks next to it….can you imagine to waking up in the morning and finding that the Duck had fallen over 🙂 Yep it was so funny how it was a crazy rush to try and fix the cake in time for the party! We laugh about it now 🙂
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7 Caz December 14, 2014 at 5:24 am

Hello Lisa, I just noticed this comment 2 and a half years later. So hello from the past!! Just makes me realise how long I’ve been following along with your adventures!!
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8 Julie April 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm

That cake is an absolute work of art Caz! So pretty. That flower cutter thing is fabulous, I would like to get one of those.
I love making birthday cakes too… even though I’m not the best at it, the feeling of accomplishment and the look on the little one’s faces makes every trying moment worthwhile.
Lovely lovely work Mama xo

9 Caz April 24, 2012 at 6:17 am

Thanks Julie, yes the flower cutters are really good. Next I want to get some alphabet cut outs so I can make names and words. I really enjoy making them too – the kids never fail to be impressed and you’re right – that makes it all worth while 🙂

10 Nat - Muddy Farmwife April 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Looks good Caz! We’ve got a fourth birthday coming up in a couple of weeks, so perfect timing. Might have to get some of those flower cutters.
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11 Caz April 24, 2012 at 6:14 am

Thanks Nat 🙂 The flower cutters are great. We got the leaf one too. So simple and they look really professional. They’re not ever very expensive of ebay.

12 Shelly April 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Fantastic Caz! I must admit that I’m really lazy with birthday cakes and tend to just buy something from the Cheesecake Shop, but I’ve bookmarked this in case I get ambitious sometime soon. 🙂
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13 Caz April 24, 2012 at 6:12 am

Hmmmm cheesecake!! Love those too 🙂 Let me know if you ever give it a go – love to see how it turns out Shelly 🙂

14 Jen R April 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Looks fab Caz…I made my first birthday cake last year after 15 yrs of Mummyhood…Allana wanted a mini rainbow cake and she loved…PPM proud Mummy moment 🙂
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15 Caz April 24, 2012 at 6:11 am

Doesn’t the look in their eyes when they see the cake make it all worth while. Love it 🙂

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