Number 4 Birthday Cake | Easy Number Cake | Vanilla Sheet Cake

Number 4 Birthday Cake | Easy Number Cake | Vanilla Sheet Cake

So, in continuation with the last post, this one is going to be all about how I put my littlest’s fourth birthday cake together. His only request was a vanilla ninja cake. Vanilla cake was easy considering my favourite Joy of Baking has the easiest vanilla cake recipe with a delicious cream cheese frosting. And I am a diehard fan of that combination so choosing that flavour was a no brainer. But making a Ninja Cake seemed to be an uphill task which involved either spending hours to create a cake which looked like an actual Ninja- there was no way I could devote that kind of time! The other option was to roll out oodles of fondant but then I am not much of a fan of when it comes to coating sugar with some more sugar, most of which eventually gets chucked away. So, there was no way I was going to do that either.Incidentally I happened to chat with a friend and she gave me a few quick fix ideas and hence this Number 4 Birthday Cake!

Broadly speaking there are four steps to making this easier than it sounds Number 4 Birthday Cake:

  1. Creating your number 4 stencil
  2. Baking the vanilla sheet cake
  3. Making the strawberry compote
  4. Making the frosting
  5. Bringing it all together and decorating

So, without any further ado, let us begin!

1. Creating your number 4 stencil

There are a couple of ways you can do it. But the easiest way is to choose the longest side (both length and breadth would be the same size) based on the size of your cake pan and of course based on the size of the cake you eventually want. For example I did not have a rectangular cake pan which would be ideal but an 8 inch square cake pan. This meant I needed to make two square cakes, place them together to make a rectangle with the long side measuring 16 inches. Leaving some margin, I decided to make the final cake with 12 inch long sides. With that decision out of my way, it was easy to create a stencil with the following measurements:

Number 4 Birthday Cake | Easy Number Cake | Vanilla Sheet Cake

 

 

2. Baking the vanilla sheet cake

I followed the recipe by Joy of Baking to the T except I doubled it as I wanted to make a two layered cake. So, using my 8 inch cake pan I baked 4 cakes. Two square cakes made the base rectangle and the two others made the top layer. In between sat the delicious strawberry compote the recipe for which I shared in an earlier blog post.

Vanilla Sheet Cake Recipe:

INGREDIENTS(for four 8 inch square cakes)
  • All Purpose Flour: 710 grams
  • Baking Powder: 22 grams
  • Salt: 4 grams
  • Butter at room temperature: 450 grams
  • Eggs : 8
  • Sugar : 600 grams
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: 20 grams
  • Full Fat Milk: 480 ml
METHOD
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees centigrade
  • Butter your 8 inch square cake pan or  9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan and line it with parchment paper and set aside
  • In a deep bowl using your electric mixer beat the butter until smooth
  • Add sugar and pure vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy
  • Next add eggs one at time beating well after each addition and scraping sides whenever needed; beat until colour lightens
  • In alternate additions add milk and flour  and continue to whip as you do so until the mixture reaches a homogenous consistency
  • If using the 8 inch square pan, divide the batter into 4 equal parts and bake one part at a time for approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If using 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan, transfer half of the total prepared mixture into it and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Repeat the same for the remaining half of the batter
  • Once all the cakes have cooled down to room temperature, wrap them individually with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. This makes the cake easier to frost and work with.

3. Making the strawberry compote

You can make the compote a day or a few hours ahead and refrigerate in an air tight container. Since it is without preservatives it stays good in the refrigerator just for a few days so try and make it just a day prior. You can find a detailed recipe here .

4. Making the frosting

I decided to make the cream cheese frosting as it tastes great even with little sugar and with the lime added to it, brings in tons of fresh flavours to the cake. It is also not as heavy as the butter cream frosting. And because I was going to be using minimal frosting just for flavour and not for decoration it was a better option. Use only full fat cream cheese at room temperature for best results

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:

INGREDIENTS
  • Butter at room temperature: 100 grams
  • Castor Sugar: The original recipe calls for 180 grams but I used 150 grams
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: 4 grams
  • Lemon Juice: 4 grams
  • Lemon Rind: 1 tbsp
  • Cream Cheese , really soft and at room temperature : 340 grams
METHOD
  • In a deep bowl using your electric mixer beat the butter until smooth
  • To softened butter add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  • Then add softened cream cheese in gradual additions, scraping sides as needed
  • Add vanilla, lime juice and lemon rind and mix well
  • Refrigerate for half an hour before frosting

5. Bringing it all together and decorating

I made a quick video to share how I brought it all together which is attached below. I followed the steps in the following order :

  1. The four refrigerated cakes were brought out. Two 8 inch cakes were put next to each other and then the other two stacked on top
  2. The number 4 stencil was placed on top and the cakes were shaped accordingly (please refer to the video to see how I did it)
  3. Then the layers were separated and strawberry compote filled in; holes poked for the compote to seep through and absorb well through the cake
  4. The top layer was placed back and the cake was frosted
  5. Kit-Kats were used to make the fence
  6. Because the kit-kats were taller than the actual cake, so malteasers were added to adjust height
  7. Finally the smarties were added on top

Now, at this stage you can refrigerate the cake (or not) depending on when you are going to be cutting it. I finished making the cake late in the night and we were going to be cutting it early next morning I decided to just let it chill in a really cold room with air conditioner on at 18 degrees. Before cutting the cake I added some Ninja figures. So, this way I exceeded expectations- the birthday boy got a Ninja cake topped with his favourite candies and shaped like number 4 !!

Here is the video which will give you a better idea as to how this Number 4 Birthday Cake was put together :


Number 4 Birthday Cake | Easy Number Cake | Vanilla Sheet Cake

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 10 hours

Yield: 100

Serving Size: 12-14

Ingredients

    For four 8 inch square cakes
  • All Purpose Flour: 710 grams
  • Baking Powder: 22 grams
  • Salt: 4 grams
  • Butter at room temperature: 450 grams
  • Eggs : 8
  • Sugar : 600 grams
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: 20 grams
  • Full Fat Milk: 480 ml
  • For Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Butter at room temperature: 100 grams
  • Castor Sugar: The original recipe calls for 180 grams but I used 150 grams
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: 4 grams
  • Lemon Juice: 4 grams
  • Lemon Rind: 1 tbsp
  • Cream Cheese , really soft and at room temperature : 340 grams

Instructions

    For Vanilla Sheet Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees centigrade
  2. Butter your 8 inch square cake pan or 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan and line it with parchment paper and set aside
  3. In a deep bowl using your electric mixer beat the butter until smooth
  4. Add sugar and pure vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy
  5. Next add eggs one at time beating well after each addition and scraping sides whenever needed; beat until colour lightens
  6. In alternate additions add milk and flour and continue to whip as you do so until the mixture reaches a homogenous consistency
  7. If using the 8 inch square pan, divide the batter into 4 equal parts and bake one part at a time for approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If using 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan, transfer half of the total prepared mixture into it and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Repeat the same for the remaining half of the batter
  8. Once all the cakes have cooled down to room temperature, wrap them individually with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. This makes the cake easier to frost and work with.
  9. For Cream Cheese Frosting
  10. In a deep bowl using your electric mixer beat the butter until smooth
  11. To softened butter add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  12. Then add softened cream cheese in gradual additions, scraping sides as needed
  13. Add vanilla, lime juice and lemon rind and mix well
  14. Refrigerate for half an hour before frosting
  15. Bringing it all together and decorating
  16. Bring out the four refrigerated cakes. Place two 8 inch cakes next to each other and then stack the other two on top placing them in the same manner as the base
  17. Place the number 4 stencil on top of the stacked cakes and cut out the shape accordingly (please refer to the video to see how I did it)
  18. Then separate the layers and fill in the strawberry compote in the centre; poke holes for the compote to seep through and absorb well into the cake
  19. Place the top layer back and frost the cake
  20. Add Kit-Kats to make the fence
  21. Then place the Malteasers on top to adjust height 
  22. Finally place Smarties on top
  23. Refrigerate and bring out two hours before cutting the cake
https://onewholesomemeal.com/number-4-birthday-cake-easy-number-cake-vanilla-sheet-cake/

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