This Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake is a birthday girl’s (or boy’s!) dream!! It is filled with alternating layers of funfetti cake, birthday cake frosting, and birthday cake crumb that are everything you wanted your childhood birthday cakes to be, but better.
Of course, starting the (lengthy and grueling and not for the faint of heart) process of choosing a birthday cake got me thinking about last year’s cake, which made me realize….I NEVER SHARED IT WITH YOU.
Yes, I’m ashamed.
Hopefully you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. (And if not, a slice of it may convince you otherwise.)
For the past two years I’ve treated myself to full-weekend birthday baking extravaganzas involving cakes from the Milk Bar cookbook.
Two years ago it was the Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake and last year it was this beast of a cake.
It may seem strange to spend a weekend baking for your own birthday, but….baking is to me what meditation is to the rest of the universe. So, now you get it.
Let me start off by saying, this is much easier than it looks.
The recipe is INSANELY LONG, but only because each step is broken down into really simple parts. It is important to note that the assembled cake needs to be refrigerated overnight and so you should plan to make the components and assemble it accordingly. If you don’t have a small child and/or are having a particularly relaxing weekend, this means you can do all the baking and assembly on Day 1 and eat the cake on Day 2. Otherwise, I would plan to make the crumb and soak on Day 1, make the frosting and cake and assemble on Day 2 and eat on Day 3.
Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest.
Now I feel like I can start thinking about what cake to make for this year. I’m leaning towards the Pistachio Lemon Milk Bar Cake, but I’m the only one who really likes lemon in my family. Well, except Remy who literally eats entire lemons whole.
Whatevs. IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL EAT A WHOLE CAKE BY MYSELF IF I WANT TO, MMkay.
Plus, Remy’s already informed that she will be eating all of my birthday cake and, by the way, NOT sharing.
So I probably shouldn’t worry about having to eat the whole thing myself.
She’s small and never seems to have room for vegetables, but cake on the other hand….never a problem.
- 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup vegetable shortening
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 3 tbsp tightly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp clear vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles, divided
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
- 8 tbsp butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 tbsp glucose
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- pinch of baking powder
- pinch of citric acid
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ tbsp tightly packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup cake flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and then add the eggs. Mix again on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
- Turn the mixer speed down to low and, with the mixer running, slowly pour in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Once all of these are added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 4-6 minutes, or until homogeneous and doubled in size. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add in the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup of sprinkles. Mix for about a minute, or until the batter just comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Spray a quarter sheet pan with baking spray and line it with parchment paper. Spread the cake batter onto the pan in an even layer. Top with the remaining 2 tbsp of sprinkles.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. It should bounce back slightly when poked and the center should not be jiggly.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Return to medium-high speed and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
- Add in the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid. Mix on low speed until just incorporated, then return to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
- Heat the oven to 300F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles until well combined.
- Add in the oil and vanilla and mix again until the mixture starts to form small clusters.
- Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking the larger chunks up in the oven about halfway through.
- Allow to cool completely before using.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Invert the cake onto it and peel the parchment off the bottom. Use a 6-inch cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These will be the top two cake layers. The remaining scrap will form the bottom layer.
- Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a parchment-lined sheet pan. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the ring.
- Put the cake scraps into the ring for the bottom layer. Use the back of your hand to push them down into an even layer.
- Dunk a pastry brush in the birthday cake soak and brush the bottom layer with half of it. Spread ⅕ of the frosting in an even layer over the top of the cake. Top with ⅓ of the birthday crumbs and push them down with your hand to set them in place. Spread the second fifth of frosting over the top of the crumbs as evenly as possible.
- Tuck a second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate so that the acetate ring is 5-6 inches tall.
- Set one of the cake rounds on top of the frosting and repeat the layering of the cake soak, frosting, and crumb as you did for the first layer.
- Place the final cake round on top of the frosting. Cover with the last fifth of frosting. Top with the remaining birthday crumbs.
- Place the sheet pan in the fridge or freezer and chill for at least 12 hours or overnight.
- If placing in the freezer, remove it at least 3 hours before you are ready to serve. If placing in the fridge, remove it 10-20 minutes before. Pop the cake out of the cake ring and peel off the acetate. Transfer to a cake platter or stand. If it was in the freezer, put it back in the fridge and allow it to defrost for three hours.
- Slice and serve.