May 25, 2020
Written By: Adriana
Making letter cakes is a newer cake trend that produces the cutest cakes that you can customize by shape, by flavor, and of course, by the decorations on top. I make these cakes all the time and everyone loves the taste and look of them.
These cakes are great for beginners because it doesn't require any the typical frosting techniques like crumb coating or smoothly applying a top coat. There are however, some things to know, and I've compiled them all in handy video below. I have also made this process more efficient by providing the paper templates that I use myself. Alright, let's get started!
In this post, I will be focusing on how to use cake to make the shape of a letter (or two). If you are interested in using numbers, check out my number tart post here for the templates. You can still use them on cake 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 a cookie/tart crust instead of layers of cake, you can check out that number tart post. You can use the letter templates here, or the number templates listed in that post. The technique will be a different than the one outlined here, so make sure to follow those instructions instead.
There are special pans that you can use to make letters, but I find those really unnecessary. Unless you run a baking business, how many times will you really be baking a cake in the letter of an "S" or "N"?
I've done these cakes and tarts several times, and I've found that the best way to make these is to use a paper template and just cut the cake/tart dough! It'd be a shame to keep these templates I created all to myself, so feel free to download them below for your baking projects. 😀
For tarts, I cut the dough before baking, and then create the layers. (I will create a video on this very soon, so go ahead and subscribe to my Youtube Channel to hear when it comes out.)
For cake, I cut the cake after it's been baked. But, there is a bit of preparation that you need to do before actually getting to the baking.
When we bake 8" rounds, or 9x13 sheet cakes, we pretty much know that we'll have a cake stand or platter to serve the cake on.
With these letter cakes, you have to think of how you're going to serve the cake and then size the cake from there. There is no standard "size" for these types of cake.
I went ahead and planned all this out for you, since being overly analytical and organized is my specialty. :)
The templates I have for you here will cut letters baked in a half sheet pan. (select "half sheet pan (18x13), 1 layer" on the Cakeculator) These will fit on standard cake boards that I list below.
Alternatively, if you want to bake your own cake recipe, just bake it into a half sheet pan (make sure it measures around 18x13) until you get a thin sheet of cake. I use the Nordicware half sheet pan, which officially measures 17.88 x 12.88 inches across and 1.06 inches deep. So make sure whatever you use is similar to this.
Each half sheet pan will give you one cake, or one letter (or number) containing two layers. You will have leftover cake from the cutouts.
Just follow my procedure in the half sheet cake video in terms of lining the pan, not overfilling it, cooling it, and most importantly for this project, freezing the cake. 👇🏼
If you plan to do two letters, you will need to double the recipe. (I'm working on that for my cakeculator 😉)
You can see that your finished cakes will have plenty of room to spare, so if you want to add some decorations on the board, you can do that as well.
In my video, I use pipe a frosting design that makes little rounds (I call them "kisses") along the surface of the cake, both in between layers and on top.
If you'd like to do the same technique, follow the shape of your cake, working around the outside perimeter, then filling your centers.
For the middle of the cake, I used the red one on the left, which came in a cupcake decorating kit for my daughter. (It was a gift from my sister, and I've since thrown away the packaging)
For the top of the cake, I used the metal Ateco 806 (click here to see on Amazon) you see to the right.
As you see below they are the same size in diameter, about 1/2 an inch.
I use these tips all the time to make meringues or anything with a clean circular shape.
However, you can get the same effect somewhat by just cutting off the end of a piping bag! Just make sure to cut straight across and you'll get some nice piped rounds. It won't be as perfect as if you were to use a metal tip, but it will still look great!
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 letter 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.
... the nerdy baker behind the videos and recipes here. I coded this site to not only share my recipes with you but also to build some helpful tools for bakers.Read more here!