Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake (with some changes)

eyedocbakes

 

Hi guys! I know I don’t update this as frequently as  I should, but I’m coming to you today to help you tackle Christina Tosi’s infamous Birthday Cake! I know I’m a little late to the party (pun intended ;-D), but I just tried the cake for the first time at the Milk Bar store last week! Obviously my next step was watching the episode on Netflix’s Chef’s Table about the pastry chef herself. I knew right then and there that I would tackle two of her most famous recipes – Birthday Cake and Crack Pie (look out for that one in the future!). A lot of people mention how daunting her recipes are – so I was a bit scared! Well- 2 days and one 6-inch birthday cake later -I’m here to tell you that it is possible! I made it, I brought it to a birthday dinner, and got rave reviews – even being told it looked and tasted exactly like the real thing!

Below is the recipe the way I baked it, with some notes on how the original recipe goes.

All in all, I found this cake to be, though unconventional, one of the easier cakes to make! It can be done in parts, over a few days, which is great if you have a busy schedule. Sidenote – it is very sweet, so definitely bake this for someone with a big sweet-tooth!

 

Birthday Cake Crumbs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar*

3/4 cup flour**

1/4 tsp salt***

2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles****

1/4 cup grapeseed oil*****

1tbsp vanilla extract ******

*Original recipe calls for light brown sugar, but I didn’t have that, and used dark brown sugar.

**Original recipe calls for cake flour – I used regular flour.

***Original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp Kosher salt – and I ran out! So I just used half the amount of salt, with regular salt.

****I used a mix of Jimmies ( the traditional funfetti sprinkle) and nonpareils (these are the round rainbow sprinkles) – only because I ran out of jimmies. Worked out fine!

*****I always have grapeseed oil around, but some people don’t – so it’s fine to replace with canola oil.

******I used regular vanilla extract – but the original recipe calls for clear vanilla extract. Again, I did this because I was running low on the clear extract, and wanted to save it for the frosting – so it would be a clear white color frosting. Feel free to use either for the crumbs.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, and mix on low. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla until you start to see small clusters. Spread the crumbs out onto a parchment lined baking pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and break up extra large clusters a bit. Allow the crumbs to harden and cool. You can make these up to a week ahead and store them in an airtight container once cooled.

Birthday Cake

1/4 cup room temperature butter

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp brown sugar*

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk + 1 tsp white vinegar**

1/3 cup grapeseed oil***

2 tsp vanilla extract****

2 cups flour*****

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt******

1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles +2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles*******

*Light or dark brown works out ok.

**You can use 1/2 cup buttermilk instead – that is what the original recipe calls for. I didn’t have any so this is a good substitute.

***Again, grapeseed or canola is fine.

****Clear or regular is ok here.

*****I used regular flour – if you have cake flour, use that.

****** If you use kosher salt, double it

*******I used jimmies and nonpareils. Just jimmies is preferable if you have enough! Definitely save jimmies for the 2 tbsp to sprinkle on top.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a quarter sheet pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper, for easy removal later. Note: My pan looked about 10×15, which is recommended in the original recipe. I tried to measure it, and it appeared a bit smaller, but everything turned out ok, just try to use around that size.

Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until well combined. Make sure to scrape the sides and re-mix. Add the eggs and mix until all is well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk+vinegar (or buttermilk), oil, and vanilla – mix well. While mixing with the paddle attachment, add this into the bowl of your stand mixer.

In a third bowl combine all the dry ingredients except those last 2 tablespoons of  rainbow sprinkles. Slowly add this mixture into your stand mixer bowl. Mix to combine. Then spread the batter into your prepared sheet pan and sprinkle the 2 tbsp of sprinkles all over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool before the next step. Note: I actually stopped here and did the rest of the steps the next day. I just covered in plastic wrap once cooled and stored it in the refrigerator.

Before we can assemble, you have to make the last two things: the frosting, and the Cake Soak.

Birthday Cake Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 ounces of cream cheese

1.5 tbsp corn syrup*

1 tbsp clear vanilla extract**

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt***

pinch of baking powder

pinch of citric acid****

*The original recipe calls for 1 tbsp of glucose and 1 tbsp of corn syrup. I didn’t have glucose so I just added extra corn syrup.

**Make sure to use the clear vanilla extract for this step – it’s important for the color of the frosting!

***Again, if you use kosher salt, double this amount.

****I OMITTED this completely. Turned out great! If you have it, feel free to use it, as the original recipe includes it.

Cream together the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla and corn syrup. Slowly pour this into the butter mix while mixing. Next, add the dry ingredients in parts until the frosting is nice and smooth. I used it immediately, but you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. NOTE: it looks like a very small amount of frosting for the cake – but it’s just enough! Don’t worry!

 Cake Soak

Combine 1/4 cup milk and 1 tsp clear vanilla extract in a bowl. Set aside until assembly. NOTE: I did use the clear extract for this, not regular vanilla extract.

Assembly!

You’ll need a 6-inch cake ring. I didn’t have this! Instead I used the side only of my 6 inch cheesecake pan with removable bottom. You’ll also need acetate strips that go all the way around the 6 inch ring – two of them. This is actually necessary. I bought mine on Amazon.

Invert the cake onto a larger pan. Peel off the parchment paper. Place your cake ring (or cake pan ring) at one edge of the cake. If you’re using the ring, it will cut the shape you need. If you’re using the cheesecake pan side, it isn’t sharp, so just run a knife around the inside to cut out a circle. Do this one more time on the other corner of your sheet cake. Now you have your two upper layers of the cake. For the bottom layer, you’re going to piece it together from the leftover cake. I cut out two half circles for this.

Place the cake ring on parchment paper that has been taped onto a sheet pan. Take your first piece of acetate and line the inside of the ring. It will extend past the top of the ring. Take your two half circles and squish them into the bottom of the ring, creating a flat cake layer. Brush the soak over this layer until it is very moist. Now spread just enough frosting to cover the layer. Make sure the frosting goes all the way to the edges – you want it to touch the acetate. Next, sprinkle 1/3 of your crumbs that you have prepared all over the frosting. Pat them down. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the crumbs (this is tricky – try your best – and don’t waste too much frosting.)

Now insert your second acetate strip between the ring and the first strip. Next insert your second cake layer. Spread the soak, frosting, 1/3 of the crumbs, and frosting again, just as before. Now insert the top layer of your cake. I soaked this layer too (but it’s not mandatory, or in the original recipe), then I frosted, and sprinkled the largest crumbs on top, plus some extra sprinkles. Freeze the cake for at least 12 hours.

Once you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer, take off the ring, and gently peel the acetate off. Let it defrost in the fridge for 3 hours, and then at room temperature for an hour. And voila! Happy Birthday!

 

 

Copycat Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake

Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: birthday cake, cake
Servings: 1 6 inch cake

Ingredients

Birthday Cake Crumbs

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • tbsp brown sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cake

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • cup vegetable shortening
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles +2 more tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract
  • cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • pinch baking powder

Cake Soak

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp clear vanilla extract

Instructions

Birthday Cake Crumbs

  • Preheat your oven to 300F. Combine both sugars, flour, sprinkles, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer, and mix on low.
  • While mixing, slowly add in the oil and vanilla until you start to see small clusters.
  • Spread the crumbs out onto a parchment lined baking pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and break up extra large clusters a bit. Allow the crumbs to harden and cool. You can make these up to a week ahead and store them in an airtight container once cooled.

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a quarter sheet pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until well combined. Make sure to scrape the sides and re-mix. Add the eggs and mix until all is well combined.
  • In a small bowl, mix the milk and vinegar and let sit 10-15 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the milk+vinegar, oil, and vanilla – mix well. While mixing with the paddle attachment, add this into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles (leaving out the extra two tablespoons of sprinkles) Slowly add this mixture into your stand mixer bowl. Mix to combine.
  • Spread the batter into your prepared sheet pan and sprinkle the 2 tbsp of sprinkles all over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Take out and let the cake cool completely.

Frosting

  • Cream together the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla and corn syrup. Slowly pour this into the butter mix while mixing. 
  • Add the dry ingredients in parts until the frosting is nice and smooth.

Cake Soak

  • Combine the milk and clear vanilla extract in a bowl. Set aside until assembly. 

Assembly

  • You’ll need a 6-inch cake ring. I didn’t have this! Instead I used the side only of my 6 inch cheesecake pan with removable bottom. You’ll also need acetate strips that go all the way around the 6 inch ring.
  • Invert the cake onto a larger pan. Peel off the parchment paper. Place your cake ring (or cake pan ring) at one edge of the cake. If you’re using the ring, it will cut the shape you need. If you’re using the cheesecake pan side, it isn’t sharp, so just run a knife around the inside to cut out a circle. 
  • Do this one more time on the other corner of your sheet cake. Now you have your two upper layers of the cake. For the bottom layer, you’re going to piece it together from the leftover cake. I cut out two half circles for this.
  • Place the cake ring on parchment paper that has been taped onto a sheet pan. Take your first piece of acetate and line the inside of the ring. It will extend past the top of the ring.
  • Take your two half circles and squish them into the bottom of the ring, creating a flat cake layer. Brush the soak over this layer until it is very moist.
  • Spread just enough frosting to cover the layer. Make sure the frosting goes all the way to the edges – you want it to touch the acetate. Next, sprinkle 1/3 of your crumbs that you have prepared all over the frosting. Pat them down. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the crumbs (this is tricky – try your best – and don’t waste too much frosting.)
  • Insert your second acetate strip between the ring and the first strip. Next insert your second cake layer. Spread the soak, frosting, 1/3 of the crumbs, and frosting again, just as before. Now insert the top layer of your cake. 
  • Frost, and sprinkle the largest crumbs on top, plus some extra sprinkles. Freeze the cake for at least 12 hours.
  • Once you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer, take off the ring, and gently peel the acetate off. Let it defrost in the fridge for 3 hours, and then at room temperature for an hour. And voila! Happy Birthday!

Notes

Some ingredients differ from the original Milk Bar recipe. See my blog post above to note the changes. 

 

 

 

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