Hi everyone! I’m very excited to share with you the recipe of my birthday cake! For my birthday, I decided to realise the famous Number Cake. This cake is made up of two layers of genoise (it’s a sponge cake), a diplomat cream (it’s the blend of custard cream and whipped cream) and fresh strawberries. I’ve decorated the cake with chocolate macaroons, French meringues and fresh fruits. The cream is so smooth and light and the sponge cake is very soft. You can also try other flavors like a chocolate genoise or a chocolate cream, it’ll be delicious. It’s also possible to make a biscuit instead of the genoise but I find that it looks less like a birthday cake than with the genoise, but it’s up to you.
This cake is a A3 size and you can serve 17-18 generous slices, 8 in the number one, and 11 in the number nine (my slices were the width of three balls of cream)
One more precision, the size of the number 1 is: 36cm long, 15cm wide (the largest part) and 9cm wide (the smallest part)
The size of the number 9 is: 36cm long and 23cm wide
Okay no more talking, here are the ingredients!
For two numbers in A3 formats:
The genoise: (4 trays of 37x27cm)
- 16 eggs
- 480g of sugar
- 480g of flour
The syrup :
- 220ml of water
- 45g of sugar
- 4 ripe strawberries
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
The cream: (if ou garnish the cake generously, you’ll still have a bit left)
- 750mL of liquid full cream
- 750mL of semi-skimmed milk
- 133g of egg yolks ( =6,6 eggs)
- 34g of corn starch
- 34g of flour
- 166g of honey
- 66g of butter
- 2 vanilla beans
- 6 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 sachets of vanilla sugar
- 20g of powdered gelatin (or 10 sheets of 2g)
The meringues (for approximately 20):
- 30g of white egg (= 1)
- 30g of icing sugar
- 30g of sugar
Chocolate macaroons (optional) (for 7-8):
- 60g of powdered almonds
- 60g of icing sugar
- 2 x 22g of egg whites
- 6g of powdered cocoa
- 15g of water
- 60g of sugar
- 50g of dark chocolate
- 50g of liquid full cream
- 18g of butter
The decoration and filling:
- 800g of strawberries
- 300g of kiwi
- 100g of blackberries
You can complete the different preparations over several days, that’s how I did it:
D-3: Make the meringues
D-2: Infuse the vanilla beans in the milk + make the chocolate ganache for the macaroons + make the biscuit for the macaroons
D-1: Make the genoise + the custard cream + finish the macaroons
D-day: Cut the genoise + finsh the diplomat cream + assemble the cake and decorate it
1. Begin by printing the numbers you need and cutting them. You can find all the numbers you need by clicking on this link: Numbers. Since I wanted my cakes to be in a A3 format, I increased the percentage in the printing setting to 140%. I didn’t have any A3 papers so I printed them normally with a A4 paper and then I added extra paper on the sides and drew the missing parts by hand. Finally, I cut everything.
Now, first thing to do is the genoise: (I suggest you to make 8 eggs at a time and then repeat the steps for the other 8 eggs)
1. In a bowl, place the eggs and the sugar.
2. Whip for 10min at high speed (speed 5 out of 8) until it whitens and triples in size. When you lift the dough it should form a nice fluid ribbon.
3. Gently add the sifted flour in three times. Incorporate it by gently lifting the dough from the inside to the outside with a silicone spatula. Make sure that there are no big chunks left (if there are still some little chunks it’s okay, it’ll disappear in the oven)
4. When everyhing is well combined, spread the mixture on two baking trays of ~37x27cm (the two trays are for 8 eggs, in total you’ll have 4 trays).
5. Cook each tray for 10-15 minutes in a 180°C (fan-assisted) oven. The top of the cake should have a nice golden color.
6. Let it cool down completely and wrap in aluminium foil if you make it one day ahead.
Now let’s make the custard cream for the diplomat cream:
1. Place the gelatin in 6 times its weight in water, so in 120g of water. Let it sitfor 15min.
2. In a saucepan, bring to simmering point the milk with the vanilla bean and half of the vanilla extract (3 tsp), (I advise you to let it infuse minimum one night for more flavor).
3. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the honey until it slightly whitens.
4. Add the sifted flour, the corn starch and the vanilla sugar.
5. Once the milk have simmered, pour two third of it gradually on the egg mixture while whisking. Return the mixture in the saucepan and cook on low heat until it boils. When the cream boils, cook for one more minute to remove the flour taste.
6. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin and the cold butter.
7. Put the cream in a pan and wrap it with cling film. The film must touch the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for one night.
The next day we can finish the diplomat cream:
1. Whip the cold liquid full cream by increasing gradually the speed until it’s firm enough (it must cling to the whisk).
2. Take the custard cream out of the fridge, add the other half of vanilla extract (3 tsp) and whip it a few seconds to soften it. Gently add the whipped cream using a silicone spatula.
3. Place the cream in a pastry bag with a plain wide nozzle (16mm for example) and refrigerate minimum 1 hour.
For the chocolate macaroons we’ll begin with the ganache:
1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and bring to boil the liquid cream.
2. When the cream boils, pour it in three times over the melted chocolate and whisk vigorously between each addition.
3. Add the softened butter and stir. Wrap the ganache with cling film (the film must touch the surface) and refrigerate one night.
Now for the macaroon shells:
1. Mix the almonds with the icing sugar until it becomes a very fine powder and sift it. Add the cocoa powder.
2. Add half of the egg whites (22g) and mix.
3. In a saucepan, place the water and the sugar and cook over medium heat. When the temperature reaches 105°, begin to whip the other half of egg whites (22g). Begin at low speed and increase gradually the speed.
4. When the sugar-water mixture is at 121° pour it immediately little by little over the egg whites while still whipping them. Be careful not to touch the bowl with the syrup because it can create chunks.
5. Keep whipping the egg whites at high speed until the temperature is below 50°, it’ll take around 5-10min. The egg whites must be thick and shiny, this is an Italian meringue.
6. Take a small portion of the meringue and mix it with the almond-sugar mixture. Add the rest of the meringue and incorporate it vigorously by mashing the mixture against the wall. The purpose is to remove all the air inside the dough, otherwise it’ll swell in the oven, it’s called “macaronner”. The dough is ready if when you lift it, it forms a fluid ribbon.
7. Place the dough in a pastry bag and poach circles of the desired size. The dough will spread a little so if you want 3cm diameter macaroons, you should poach 2-2,5cm circles.
8. Let the shells dry for 20min, when you touch the surface it shouldn’t stick anymore. This is called “crouter”.
9. Preheat the oven to 145°C fan-assisted and cook the shells for ~15min until you can remove the shells without leaving marks. If you see that the top of the shells begins to crack, reduce the oven temperature by 10° and cook one minute longer. Personally, I need 18min. When the shells are cooked, remove immediately from the baking tray and slightly press the bottom of the shell with you finger.
10. If you make the shells in advance, store them in an airtight container.
11. Take the ganache out of the fridge and mix it a few seconds. Place it in a pastry bag and fill each shell with a nice amount of ganache. Cover with another shell and store in the fridge.
Next preparation is the French meringue:
1. Begin to whip the egg whites at low speed and increase the speed gradually. When the meringue begins to form, add the sugar in three times and whip until the egg whites are firm and shiny, it should form the shape of the nozzle of a bird.
2. Incorporate the icing sugar using a silicone spatula.
3. Place the meringue in a pastry bag with a fluted nozzle and poach nice meringues on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. You can make big and small one. Sprinkle some of them with cocoa powder, it’ll create a nice effect.
4. Cook in a 90°C preheated oven (fan-assisted) for 1 hour. Like for the macaroon shells, it’s cooked enough when you can remove them from the baking tray without leaving marks. The smaller one will need less cooking time than the bigger one.
Last preparation is the syrup:
1. In a saucepan, put the water, sugar, vanilla extract and strawberries. Smash the strawberries and bring to boil.
2. Set aside until needed.
Now it’s finally time to assemble everything!
1. Use your printed numbers to cut the genoise. You’ll cut two times the number 1 and two times the number 9.
2. On the serving dish, place one layer of the number 1 and one layer of the number 9. Soak generously each one with the syrup we did earlier.
3. Poach generous balls of diplomat cream, I managed to create 4 rows. On the middle rows, add a lot of cubed strawberries and refrigerate 10-15min to make sure the cream is firm.
4. Cover the cream with the second layer of biscuit and soak it with syrup. Poach again generous balls of cream.
5. For the decoration you can make it the way you want. I, personally, put cubed kiwis on the middle rows, one macaroon at the ends of each numbers, some strawberries and blackberries. I finally added the French meringues. Try to decorate it 1 hour maximum before serving so the elements don’t moisten. You can also brush the fruits with a little bit of syrup for a shiny look.
Your Number Cake is finally done! Refrigerate unitl tasting!
Don’t forget to write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to share your pictures of the recipe and your opinions! I will add them at the bottom of this article.