How To Make A Number 2 Cake Without Needing A Special Tin!

Birthday cake shaped like the number 2, decorated with flowers and with party poppers around it.
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Image © chandlervid85 under a creative commons licence.

No number 2 cake tin?  No problem! Put your pinny on and prepare to make birthday number baking a piece of cake.

Baking number cakes without specialist tins is easier than you might think; we promise! Children love celebrating their new age, and making a number 2 birthday cake for your toddler is a great way to introduce them to how the number looks.

Making cakes from scratch can be incredibly satisfying, especially when you are making occasion and birthday cakes for special people. Don't worry if you're new to baking and panicking that you don't know how to make cake, let alone how to make a birthday cake in the shape of the number 2. Our number cake recipe will show you how to make birthday cake that tastes delicious and our easy instructions will help you shape your number cake into the perfect 2.

Toddler standing at the edge of the table peeking up at a birthday cake.
Image © Tomsickova under a creative commons licence.

Ingredients

For the round cake: 625g self-raising flour, 375g caster sugar, 375g softened butter or margarine, six eggs, four tablespoons milk, three teaspoons vanilla extract

For the square cake: 790g self-raising flour, 475g caster sugar, 475g softened butter or margarine, seven eggs, five tablespoons milk, four teaspoons vanilla extract

For the buttercream icing: 750g icing sugar, 350g unsalted butter, three tablespoons thick cream, one tablespoon clear vanilla extract

Equipment: 23cm round cake tin, 23cm square cake tin, round drinking glass, greaseproof paper

Two kids in the kitchen, wearing chef's hats and aprons, baking and getting flour everywhere.
Image © JenkoAtaman under a creative commons licence.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ Gas Mark 3.
  2. Line the two cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  3. Cream the caster sugar with the butter or margarine until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Using a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together.
  5. Now, add alternate spoonfuls of the floor and the egg mixture into the butter mixture, stirring as you do so.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and whisk the mixture until it is smooth.
  7. Spoon the cake batter into the tin.
  8. Repeat steps three to seven for the square cake.
  9. Bake the cakes for 60-75 minutes, or until they have risen and are golden brown. To make sure they are fully cooked, insert a skewer into the middle of each cake; it will come out clean if the cakes are cooked.
  10. Put them on a cooling rack and leave until they are completely cool.
  11. Make sure the cakes are cool, then cut a rectangle from the square cake and use the drinking glass to cut a circle from the middle of the round cake.
  12. Now cut a quarter out of the circle cake and flip it round, then place the rectangle underneath. The diagram below shows you where to make the cuts and how to position the pieces to form a number 2:
Diagram showing how to cut cakes to make the shape of the number 2.

Decoration

One of the best things about number cakes is that there are unlimited options when it comes to cake decorating. A cake number can be iced in your child's favourite colour,  you could top the number cake with fruit or other tasty treats, and you can decorate number cakes in the style of something your child loves.

  1. To make the buttercream icing, start by creaming the butter until it is very fluffy. Slowly add in the sugar, followed by the cream and vanilla extract, and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Use some of the buttercream icing to stick the three pieces of cake together, and then cover the number 2 cake with the rest of the icing.

Tips And Recommendations

  1. It's fine to use vegan-friendly butter and margarine alternatives and gluten-free flour in this recipe; your number cake will be just as tasty.
  2. The buttercream icing can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to three days. When you are ready to use it, get to room temperature, and then beat it for a few minutes until it's smooth.
  3. You can add food colouring, cocoa powder, or flavours such as peppermint or lemon to the buttercream icing.
  4. Using a piping bag for the icing is great if you want to create a more elaborate finish to your number cake.
  5. You don't need to stop once you've iced the cake!  Number cakes look great covered in colourful smarties, fruit, crumbled cookies, sweets, or sprinkles.
Little girl wearing a pink apron baking a cake, breaking an egg into the bowl.
Image © Kevin Carden under a creative commons licence.

Alternative Methods

  • Bake a single cake in a large square or rectangle cake tin.  Print and cut out a number 2 slightly smaller than the cake and then, once the cake is cool, place the number 2 on top of the cake and use a shape knife to cut around it. Remove the paper and ice or decorate.
  • Bake the cake in a number 2 shaped cake tin and ice or decorate once cooled. It really isn't necessary to specially buy a cake number tin though, as the other methods of making the number 2 really are easy.
  • Instead of covering the cake with buttercream icing, use ready-rolled icing in a colour of your choice. You could then use extra icing, or different coloured icing, to cut out shapes and add detail to your number cake. Adding heart or flower shapes are lovely birthday cake ideas for girls, and toddlers love seeing their favourite cartoon characters on cake numbers.
  • Make cupcakes and place them on a cake board in the shape of a number 2.

Good To Know

  • Children as young as two can have fun helping you add and mix the ingredients, but helping with the cutting is obviously for much older kids.
  • There is a lot of sugar in this recipe so use your discretion with portion sizes, particularly for younger children.
  • The cake will keep for up to five days in the fridge as long as it is inside an airtight container.  
  • You can freeze this cake for up to two months. Put it, unwrapped, in the freezer for about an hour so that the icing sets. Wrap in cling film and then either add a layer of foil or place it in an airtight container before freezing.
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Disclaimer

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