Number cake is this season’s most popular tart on the internet 🙂 This cake was on my mind for some time now, but I was waiting for the right occasion, which now has come – my daughter’s first birthday!
I decided on a lemon-raspberry combination of flavors, because it’s one of my favorites.
Despite appearances, this is not a difficult or labor-intensive cake. Basically, it’s a lemon cream tart, that thanks to its shape and decoration, looks really special. The cake can have a number, heart or letter shape.
Check out our second birthday cake – carrot layer cake with cream cheese frosting.
Number cake consists of:
– shortcrust pastry: the same as for any sweet tart. Roll out the dough, cut out any shape you like and bake (you can print out a template from a text editor).
– cream: any cream that holds its shape will do. I used a lemon cream made with white chocolate, heavy cream, and cream cheese. This cream is really simple and quick to make. It also tastes wonderful, it‘s light, not overly sweet and intensely lemony. Combined with fresh raspberries – heaven on the tongue!
– decoration: so much choice! any fresh fruit, small meringue kisses, cookies, macarons, fresh flowers, colorful sprinkles will look beautiful. I used fresh raspberries, raspberry meringue kisses (mine were homemade, but you can of course use store-bought ones) and pink fresh flowers.
How many servings a number cake yields?
The recipe below yields an amount of dough that is enough for 1 number cake = 2 pieces number 1-shaped pastry dough (about 35 cm/14-inch long, 14 cm/6-inch wide at the bottom, 17 cm/7-inch wide at the widest point). You‘ll have a little dough left – you can sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and bake as cookies. If this is not enough for the number of guests you intend to invite, you can double the recipe. Bake a tart in the shape of a number, that reflects the age of the birthday girl/boy. From the rest of the dough, you can bake small heart-shaped individual cream tarts. Ready templates can be found on the internet or you can print them from a text editor.
Can cream tart be made ahead?
The dough and cream need to be made in advance. The cream must be chilled in the fridge for a few hours (it will thicken). Baked pastry dough with the chilled lemon cream also need to be chilled for a few hours in the fridge. The tart will soften and be easy to cut into portions.
If you also love lemon raspberry flavor combination check out this recipe for lemon and ricotta pancakes with raspberries!
Number cake – lemon cream tart with raspberries
- 200 g / 7 oz white chocolate
- 100 g / 3.5 oz heavy cream 36% fat
- 200 g / 7 oz cream cheese at room temperature!
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar 35g / 1.2 oz
- zest from 3 large lemons preferably organic
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 250 g / 8.8 oz all-purpose flour
- 130 g / 4.6 oz butter cold, cut into pieces (about 2 cm / 1 inch)
- 45 g / 1.6 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar 9g /, or white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 large egg cold, from the fridge
- 150 g / 5.3 oz fresh raspberries
- edible decoration: small meringue kisses macarons, small cookies, sprinkles
- fresh flowers only for decoration
- Remove the cream cheese from the fridge early enough, to let it warm up to the room temperature.
- In a small pot, heat the cream until hot (but not boiling), remove from the heat, add the chocolate (broken into small pieces), wait 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate is melted, let cool to the room temperature.
- Finely grate the lemons.
- If the lemons are finely grated – add the lemon zest, cream cheese and sugar into a bowl, mix with a mixer for a few minutes (with a whisk attachment when using a stand mixer) until fluffy and smooth (it should have no lumps).
- If the lemons are not very finely grated (this depends on the zest peeler) – the zest pieces will be noticeable in the cream. Blitz the cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar in the food processor until smooth (the lemon zest lumps should be as small as possible). Alternatively, you can chop the lemon zest very finely with a knife.
- Add the melted and cooled chocolate-heavy cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Whip at the highest speed of the mixer for a few minutes (about 4-5 minutes, using a whisk attachment) until smooth. It should slightly increase its volume (but not much). Be careful not to overmix the cream, otherwise you will make butter. You can also whip the lemon cream in the food processor.
- Whisk in the lemon juice, cover the bowl with a plastic foil and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. The plastic foil should touch the surface of the cream. The cream must be well chilled (!).
- Making the dough by hand: mix the flour with powdered sugar, vanilla sugar and salt together, add cold diced butter, rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles a pea-sized crumble, add the cold egg, knead quickly until dough forms a smooth ball (be careful not to over mix it).
- If you‘re using stand mixer (my favorite way): add all the ingredients (without the egg) to the mixing bowl. Mix at the lowest speed using a paddle-shaped attachment, until large lumps are formed (they can be of different sizes, 0.5-1.5 cm / 1/4-1/2 inch). Add the cold egg and mix until a smooth dough is formed (be careful not to overmix it).
- In the food processor: add all the ingredients (without the egg) to the food processor bowl (with the regular blade attached). Pulse 2-3 times until the butter pieces are the size of large peas (they can be of different sizes). Add the cold egg and pulse until the dough begins to come together (be careful not to overmix it). Transfer the dough pieces onto a work surface, and gather them with your hands, forming a dough ball.
- All methods: flatten the dough, wrap in plastic foil and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
- After this time, take the dough from the fridge, divide in half, roll out each part between two pieces of baking paper to a thickness of approx. 3-4 mm. Place the printed template on top of the dough and cut out the pattern (roll out and cut the numbers directly on the baking paper, otherwise it would be difficult to transfer the dough to the baking paper!). It’s also important to roll out the dough evenly to ensure it browns evenly (especially the sides shouln‘t be thinnier than the center of the dough).
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F / Gas Mark 4. Place the rolled out dough in the fridge while the oven is warming up.
- Bake the dough for about 15 minutes, until golden. After 10 minutes keep an eye on it! The tart dough can quickly brown too much. Take out of the oven and remove from the baking tray. Allow to cool completely.
- Fit a piping bag with a round tip (I used a round 11 mm / 0.43 inch tip) and fill it with the lemon cream. The cream should be well chilled, otherwise it won‘t hold its shape for too long.
- Prepare a tray on which the tart will lie. Apply a little cream at the bottom of the first pastry crust so that it doesn’t move while piping the cream.
- Place first floor of the cake on the tray. You should now create three rows: cream, raspberries and cream. Arrange the raspberries (in the middle row) and then pipe two rows of cream. Piped cream should have similar height as the raspberries and should surround the raspberries from all sides.
- Place the second floor of the tart on top of the cream and raspberries (carefully, it’s really fragile!).
- Pipe two or three rows of cream on the second floor of the tart.
- Decorate as desired – I had fresh raspberries (raspberries should be washed and thoroughly dried), raspberry meringue kisses, fresh flowers (their stems should be wrapped in plastic foil, so that they don’t have contact with the cream).
- Put the prepared tart into the fridge – it should rest there at least 3-4 hours. The time needed to soften the shortcrust pastry will depend on the thickness of the dough. It would be best to roll out the dough to a thicknes of 3-4 mm / 0.11-0.15 inch and leave for 5 hours in the fridge. The pastry crust should still be crisp but also soft enough to be easily cut into portions.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!