Number tarts are number shaped tarts that you can customize by shape, by flavor, and of course, by the decorations on top. They are a variation on the many tarts that I make, just in a different format.
Number tarts, number tart cakes or cream tarts contain layers tart crust shaped like letters or numbers. They are filled and topped with frosting or cream. Tops can be decorated with sprinkles, cookies, chocolates, or flowers. One cake will serve about 6-9 people; two about 12-18.
This post is related to my letter cake post, which contains instructions on how to construct a cake in the shape of a letter. Assembly of this tart is very similar to using cake, however, making the crust is a different procedure. I've outlined this below as well as other tips in a video. I have also made this process more efficient by providing the number paper templates.
You can make one number (or letter) or two, just be sure that if you make two numbers, double the recipe down below and use the larger cake board.
Alright, let's get started! 😃
In this post, I will be focusing on how to use tart to make the shape of a number. If you are interested in using letters, check out my letter cake post. You can still use them on the tart here as they are the same size and will fit on the same cake boards that I list below.
Or, if you're interested instead on using cake instead of tart crust, check out that same post. You can use the number templates here, or the letter templates listed in that post. The technique will be a different than the one outlined here, so make sure to follow those instructions instead.
What type of board or platter will this tart need?
For one cake, you will need a platter, cake drum, or cake board that is at least 10" by 14". That is the size of the cake board that you see in the picture (tart in the shape of number "4") at the top of this post.
If you would like to place two letters on one cake board, you will need a platter that is at least 19" by 13", this cake drum, or this cake board.
You can see that your finished tarts will have plenty of room to spare, so if you want to add some decorations on the board, you can do that as well.
How to print the number templates
The templates below all print onto a single sheet of 8.5x11" sheet of paper. No need to buy special paper or tape pieces together.
These templates are in .pdf format, and when you click on the link a new window will popup with the template.
When the print prompt comes up make sure that you select "actual size" and not "fit". This means that the size of the number will print the size that I designed it, which takes up an entire 8.5x11" sheet of paper.
You will notice that some of the lines along the edges do not print. This is normal because not all printers are able to print so closely to the edge. I've designed the letters to get the maximum size for one sheet of paper, so just consider that missing line the "edge".
You can print directly from your browser or download and save to print for later. You'll need a pdf reader for that. Some popular ones include Preview on Mac, or you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for free on most devices.
Perfect Sweet Tart Crust
3/4 cup (170g/6oz) unsalted butter, cold from the fridge, cut into TB chunks
*For beginners, I recommend all-purpose flour. It has a higher protein content, which will make the dough much easier to handle when raw. If you're into the super crumbly texture, and can find it, by all means, pastry flour is excellent. I've used Bob's Red Mill Pastry Flour with great success.
To a stand mixer, add the butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth and completely combined. Scrape down the sides.
Add the flour and turn the mixer on low. Mix until the butter is evenly incorporated into flour and feels like damp sand. This should take a minute or two.
Use a fork to mix the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Pour it into the mixer, and mix on low. Don't overmix at this point; you will form gluten strands in the dough, which will yield a tough tart crust when baked.
Feel the dough with your hands. It is done mixing when it feels very damp, contains no visible flour, and easily formed into a ball.
Place the dough onto some plastic wrap, and form it into a ball, and then flatten into a disc. Wrap it tightly and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
When you are ready to bake, place rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 375 °F. Divide your dough into two. For each piece of dough: Put your dough on a piece of parchment, place a piece of plastic wrap on top and roll out the dough. Using the number template that you printed out above as a guide. Cut around the template. Slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and into the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Repeat for the remaining piece of dough.
Make sure the tart cutouts are flat (sometimes they can bend in a crowded freezer) and bake the tart crust for 17-20 minutes or until the edges are turning brown the the center is just starting to tan. Let them cool completely before assembling the tart.
Pastry Cream with Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp gelatin
1/4 cup (50g/ 1.75 oz) granulated sugar
1 cup (242g/ 8.5 oz ) whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons (14g/ 0.5 oz) cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160g/ 5.5 oz) cream cheese, softened to room temp
Add 2 tsp of cold water to a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top to allow it to bloom. Set aside.
Using a whisk or mixer, whip the room temp cream cheese until it is very creamy with no lumps remaining.
In a medium saucepan, add about half the sugar. Pour in your milk, whisk to combine. Turn the burner on medium-low. Slowly bringing the milk to a simmer.
While the milk is heating, in large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, rest of the sugar, and cornstarch together until completely combined.
When you see bubbles along the perimeter of the milk saucepan and steam slowly rising, turn off your burner. Slowly ladle a few tablespoons of steaming milk into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. This allows the eggs to gradually increase in temperature. (Doing this step too quickly will cook the eggs, and will yield scrambled eggs in your pastry cream.) Add a couple more ladles of milk into the eggs and continue to whisk.
Pour the rest of the milk into the egg mixture, whisk to combine.
Pour the entire egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan.
Turn the burner back onto medium-low and whisk until the mixture is thick and custardy, which may take a few minutes. Once you see the first steam bubble pop, whisk for about one more minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla paste/extract, pinch of salt, and gelatin. Stir in the softened cream cheese.
Push the cream through a fine meshed strainer into a clean bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until completely cooled.
Condensed Milk Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream, cold from fridge
2 tablespoons condensed milk, cold from fridge
Add the cold heavy cream and condensed milk to a food processor or mixing bowl. Process or mix on high speed until stiff.
Pour into a piping bag.
💌 Notes from Adriana
Hi! I'm Adriana.
I built this site for the curious home baker. I'm a huge science + tech nerd; you'll feel right at home if you like exploring and experimenting in the kitchen too.
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