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Video:How to Make a Number One-Shaped Cake

with Jen D'Amore

Learn how to make a number one-shaped cake for your baby's first birthday. Here are tips on how to correctly measure and shape a number one-shaped cake.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make a Number One-Shaped Cake

Hi, I'm Jen D'Amore for About.com, and this video is all about how to make a cake in the shape of a 1.

Supplies Needed for a Number One-Shaped Cake

You'll need:

  • cake and frosting
  • cardboard
  • a ruler or square
  • a pencil or marker (I'm using a marker so you can see it better)
  • scissors
  • extra cardboard
  • parchment paper
  • things to easily move around and flip the pieces
  • cake decorations
  • don't forget the candles

This is using a 9 x 13" pan, and a two layer cake, but you can make a template for any size or shape cake. Of course, it's probably best to use the largest rectangle that you can.

Create the Template for a Number One-Shaped Cake

Cut a piece of cardboard, not corrugated, just stiff, that is the starting shape and size of the plain cake pieces. To create your "1," first let's mark even increments of one inch all around the edge of the cardboard. Make sure you always start measuring from the same side so the lines would match up if they met in the middle. The base is going to be about a third of the height. The center shaft will be a little less than half of the width, but centered. We'll make a line cutting off the corner at the top. And finish that stubby part. When in doubt, it's better to start with it a little on the larger side, and trim it off, rather than cutting too much and having to start over.

Adjust the Template for a Number One-Shaped Cake

Cutting the template we can see how our shape is before going anywhere near our cake, and make adjustments until it looks good. I'm going to change this stubby part to go straight across horizontally. If you want, you can cover the cardboard with plastic wrap or parchment paper before it touches your cake.

Prep Your Cakes for a Number One-Shaped Cake

Prep your cakes, and make sure they're cool before slicing. If there's a bulge in the middle, gently slice horizontally to trim just enough to let it sit flat. We're going to apply the frosting between the two layers, just where the one is, so lay down the template over the bottom layer, and mark the parchment paper that's underneath at each angle, as a guide. Then apply the frosting carefully, and then check it with the template and extend it if needed. It's fine to go beyond the shape of the one a little bit, but it will be much neater to shape without that extra frosting in the cutoffs. Next, carefully place the top layer of cake, and line it up with the bottom. 

Use the Template to Cut a Number One-Shaped Cake

Lay the template on top, hold it down, and with a sharp knife carefully, and slowly cut straight down in small increments. Sending the blade straight down will create a nice vertical wall. If we cut with the knife horizontally, we might waver and get an angled slope. Before trying to remove anything, go back with the knife making sure it's a clean cut.Then you should be able to gently whisk it away. The cutoffs can be prepped separately and kept as backup servings.

Frost the Tops and Sides of the Number One-Shaped Cake

Frost the top and the sides of the cake. The cut edges are quick to crumble so make sure you load up your spatula with plenty of frosting, and keep it thick rather than pulling a thin layer. but if you do get crumbs in your frosting, that's what decoration is for. Once you've done your messy decorating, slide the template under the parchment paper, and use a scissor or exacto knife to cut off the extra parchment. Then you can move your cake onto a clean surface for serving.

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