"Who's Counting?" Birthday Cake
Transform sheet cakes from basic to impressive with simple stencils, some straightforward cutting skills, and colorful candies. If your birthday girl or boy prefers chocolate, make a double batch of the Number-Themed Mini Birthday Cupcakes; bake for about 20 minutes.
- Total Time:
- Yield: Makes two 12-by-17-inch cakes (enough for 2 numbers)
Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2011
- For the cakes:
- 4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheets and parchment
- 9 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for parchment
- 1/4 cup baking powder
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- 14 large egg whites, room temperature
- For Decorating:
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 2 pounds multicolored candy-coated chocolates
Make the cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheets. Line with parchment. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into a bowl.
Combine milk and vanilla. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until very smooth. With machine running, gradually add sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined; do not overmix.
Beat egg whites in a clean mixer bowl on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold egg whites into batter in 3 additions.
Transfer batter to baking sheets, smoothing tops with an offset spatula. Bake until tops spring back when pressed with a finger and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in sheets on wire racks for 15 minutes. Loosen edges of cakes with a small metal spatula or paring knife; invert onto racks. Discard parchment. To prevent splitting, reinvert cakes, top side up. Let cool completely.
Decorate the cakes: Place "20" stencil (or another number) onto 1 cake, setting numbers side by side. Secure with toothpicks. Cut around each stencil using a paring knife. Remove scraps. Repeat with remaining cake.
Spread 2 cups buttercream onto the "2," and spread 2 cups buttercream onto the "0." Top each number with remaining matching cake number, and frost tops and sides of each with remaining buttercream. Cover each cake with rows of candies.