Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake

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Bucket list: to travel to NYC and eat the Momofuku Milk Bar Bakery’s Birthday Cake!

IMG_9905IMG_9933IMG_9960After watching this video, I knew that one day I had to make it and that day is today! So thank you Christina Tosi for making this birthday cake!

Attempt no.1.

It did not go exactly as I planned. Why you may ask, because I might have screwed it up at the last stage while I was assembling the cake hence the picture of a uneven top layer…

The story is that when you’re overly-excited like a kid in a candy store + was a tad lazy = a recipe for disaster. Well not entirely, but I have a strong feeling that there would be a no. 2 in the future despite it being time-consuming which I did not mind at all. 🙂

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake is 3 layers tall and I might have switched my best cake layer as the base and my absolute worst / pieces and crumbs for the top. You could say I was in the “zone” while assembling it. I guessed it look quite alright. A bit quirky but it has this appealing charm to it despite using a cake ring which I purposely bought for this particular recipe yesterday! So instead of a flat top, I got a dome like structure.

However, on the bright side, I managed to use EVERYTHING, the whole ENTIRE cake, not a cake scrap left and not baking it in a quarter sheet pan! High-five anyone?!!? Read quite a number of blog posts before hand and found out that some food bloggers were left with cake scraps but not me haha! I also miraculously managed to finish baking and assembling the cake in no longer than 5 hours minus the freezing of cake. So if you think it takes a few days, fret not!

Oh and please do note that I omitted some out the clear vanilla extract, vegetable shortening, citric acid (replaced it with lemon juice) and glucose.* I wasn’t particular whether or not I was making a legit Momofuku Milk BarBirthday Cake and I think that was because personally growing up in an Asian household, I was never really introduced to a boxed vanilla birthday cake so in all I just never tried it before. Furthermore, I was already contented with the scent and taste of brown vanilla extract. I did not have acetate but I figured out using just the cake ring should be fine. Overall, I was going for the rustic look which I think I clearly achieved in doing so.

Coming from a person who just made this today, I have not tried it yet as it is currently chilling in the fridge and not freezer because I don’t have space for it. It’s filled with all the frozen meat which I’m not so keen to share the space with. And who knows, if I find the cake missing a little je ne said quo then I’ll add it in the future. Leading it to attempt no. 2? 🙂

The order of making this Birthday Cake:

Cake Crumb -> Cake Batter ->  Cake Frosting -> Cake Soak.

Adapted the recipe on their website here.

Ingredients (Cake Crumb)

  1. 3/4 cup of cake flour
  2. 1/2 cup of white sugar
  3. 1/2 tbsp of light brown sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  5. 1/2 tsp of salt
  6. 2 tbsp of rainbow sprinkles
  7. 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  8. 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

2. Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in a bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer,  mix on low speed until well combined.

3. Add the oil and vanilla and mix on low till it resembles like small chunks of crumbs.

4. Bake for 15 minutes at 150 degrees.

5. Let the crumbs cool completely on the pan.

Ingredients (Cake Batter) 

  • 4 tbsps of butter
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 tbsps of light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 245 g cake flour (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsps of baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles
  • 2 tbsp of  rainbow sprinkles

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl.  Cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix it on medium-high for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is completely homogenous. Do not don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. ( My cake batter was rather watery because I did not add in the vegetable shortening + I had twin egg yolks for 2 eggs consecutively!

4. On low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the ¼ cup of rainbow sprinkles. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Butter the sheet pan and line it with parchment. Spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter.

6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. (Baked mine around 38mins). The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. (Yup, it did bounce back!)

7.Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients (Cake Frosting) 

  • 8 tbsps of butter
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  •  A pinch of baking powder
  • 3 drops of lemon juice

Method

1. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Use an electric mixer and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. On low speed, add in the vanilla. Increase the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Add the icing sugar, salt, baking powder, and lemon juice and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Increase the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a brilliant stark pale yellow, beautifully smooth frosting. it should look just like it came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store! use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Ingredients (Milk Soak)

  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Pour the milk in a bowl and add in the vanilla extract. Mix it well.

Method (Assembling the cake)

1. Place a piece of aluminium foil on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out a circle and half a circle from the cake. Stamp out parts of the remaining cake that becomes cake “scrap” which will come together to make the middle layer of the cake.

*** Note***

1st layer: half a circle + cake scraps

:2nd layer: entirely made from cake scraps

:3rd layer: perfect circle

1st layer (base)

  1. Put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer. Place scraps of parchment paper at the edge of the serving plate to catch fallen crumbs.
2. Dunk a pastry brush in the birthday cake soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the soak.                                                                                                                                3. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.                                                                                                                                                                     4.  Sprinkle one-third of the birthday crumbs evenly over the frosting. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.                                                                                                          5. Use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the birthday cake frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs. ( I did not have enough frosting to do it)

2nd layer (middle)

6.  Move your cake ring from the base layer to the middle layer, it should hold the middle cake layer. Repeat the process for layer 1 but use all all of your cake scraps to make it.

3rd layer (top)

7. Nestle the remaining perfect circle cake on top. Cover it with the remaining frosting. give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Sprinkle the frosting with the remaining birthday crumbs.
8. Cover and secure it with aluminium foil and chill it overnight.
9. Slice the chilled cake and serve. 🙂

Cake Crumb

 

Cake Batter

Cake Frosting

Assembling the cake

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My assembling station

First and second layer was a dream, brushing it with milk, sprinkling the confetti crumbs and frosting it.  However, the third layer was a pure nightmare. Wrapped it with aluminium foil and chill it in the fridge.

                                      Sprinkle glitter to make you feel all better

 

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The vanilla cake was surprisingly incredibly fluffy! Must be the addition of store-bought buttermilk.
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My only critique is that it was a really sweet cake and will cut down on the sugar for the cake crumbs and frosting. Overall it was truly fantastic vanilla cake. 
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