Inspired by the Tony-award winning musical Company, I tried my hand at making a trendy number cake. They’re perfect for birthdays and other celebrations!
This is the third installment in the Baking Broadway series, a mini baking series to bring Broadway to your kitchen! Company features a 35-year old who, surrounded by couple friends, doesn’t want to settle down. (As a barely sub-30 year old who has been quarantining solo, no plot line has ever felt so relevant.) Currently, Broadway has genderswapped the original male protagonist. The musical features female protagonist Bobbie navigating vignettes with friends and past flames, all linked by her 35th birthday celebration.
This is a modern re-imagining of Bobbie’s birthday cake as a giant cookie carved into a number cake. Topped with a vibrant array of strawberries, caramel balls and brownie scraps, no specialty tools are required for this cake!
I love the aesthetic of these cakes but I’ve been resistant to purchase a specialty cake pan just to make one. Baking a whole 9×13 pan to trim out a number also seemed wasteful. However, a cookie base makes it much easier to bake a freeform shape and trim it down to size!
Whenever I’m baking for a friend’s birthday, I’m often struck with indecision and often short on time. This was such a fun, delicious and pretty project that might be my go-to birthday gift treat in the future!
How to Customize Your Number Cake
This is more of a Number Cake guide than a strict recipe. Here are a few tips for substitutions and changes:
- To scale down: This recipe yields two very large cookies (equivalent to a batch of 16 cookies). If you’re baking for a smaller crowd, just halve the recipe and scale the cookie shapes accordingly.
- Cookie cake base: The cookie cake base is a double batch of Oh Ladycakes’ coconut oil chocolate chip cookies. (This was one of my favorites from the vegan chocolate chip cookie bake off). I chose it for its doughy and soft texture, but you can use any cookie dough for the base.
- Buttercream: I used a basic vanilla buttercream (you can easily use regular or vegan butter). You can add cocoa powder to make it a chocolate buttercream or use any favorite buttercream recipe!
- Organic powdered sugar: To avoid an overly sweet buttercream, Buttermilk by Sam uses organic powdered sugar, which is less sweet! It really does make a huge difference in taste.
- Frosting the cake: To get the signature frosting dollops, I used this reusable frosting applicator with a round frosting tip. You may be able to use a plastic bag paired with a round tip to do the piping if needed.
If you need to bake any celebration treats, I hope this inspires you to try a number cake!
How to Make a Number Cookie Cake
For the Cookie Cake:
- 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup almond milk, room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks butter (8 oz or 1 cup) or vegan butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar (organic preferred)
- 2-4 tablespoons milk (any kind)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch fine kosher salt
Cookie Cake Topping Ideas
- Fruit: sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped kiwi or mango
- Candy: malt balls, chopped Kit Kats, Hershey bars, M&Ms, Reese's, Snickers, etc
- Chocolate-dipped or drizzled chunks of brownie or cookie cake trimmings
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the coconut oil until well combined. Add the almond milk (microwave for 15-20 seconds if it's cold from the fridge) and vanilla; whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and gently stir until just combined with a spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide dough in half. You can either eyeball this, or weigh it out–half the dough should weigh about 525 grams.
- Form each dough half into a rough shape of your desired numbers. Keep in mind that your cookies will spread quite a bit, so keep the holes fairly generous.
- Bake for 17 minutes or until puffed and brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before using a sharp knife to trim the edges into your desired shape. Reserve cookie trimmings if desired to decorate the cake later. Let cool completely.
For the buttercream:
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and cream until smooth. Thin with 2-4 tablespoons of milk, as needed until desired consistency is reached (you'll want a stiffer but still pliable frosting). Add vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
- Use a frosting applicator or frosting bag fitted with a large round tip. (You can use any piping tip, but the round tip will yield the more typical look.) Pipe blobs of frosting onto the cooled cookie cake. If using sprinkles, I recommend sprinkling them on top right away so they stick better.
- If time allows, let frosting set for 20-30 minutes before adding additional toppings. You can use this time to decorate some cookie cake scraps to add on top. Cake is best enjoyed immediately.
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