Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake

I think this post is better illustrated through pictures.

Here's the layer layout: birthday cake, birthday cake soak, birthday cake frosting, birthday cake crumb, birthday cake frosting, repeat, repeat.

In case you're wondering, this cake will change your life. You'll go from being an ordinary human of this earth to a unicorn.

If you don't know what the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook is then check it out here. It's a collection of out of this world amazing desserts. Seriously don't change a thing about this recipe - even the imitation vanilla extract.

If you want to make someone really happy, make them this birthday cake. Or, just make it for yourself because you're a fat kid and you want cake. That should be the underlying truth behind every decision you make when it comes to dessert.

This cake requires some things you most likely don't just have hanging around like a quarter sheet pan, 6-inch cake ring, food-grade acetate strips, imitation vanilla extract, citric acid (if you want to buy this to use only as a pinch in the frosting then skip it, but it'a also used in a ton of other Milk Bar recipes), and rainbow sprinkles. I hope you already know how to buy flour, sugar, and butter.

Birthday Layer Cake
Yield: one 6-inch cake

1 batch birthday cake (recipe below)
1 batch birthday cake soak (recipe below)
1 batch birthday cake frosting (recipe below)
1 batch birthday cake crumbs (recipe below)

Invert the birthday cake onto a sheet of parchment paper or silpat, and peel off the parchment paper backing. Using the 6-inch cake ring, cut out two circles. These will be the top and middle layers.

Clean the cake ring and place it on a sheet of parchment paper or silpat atop a baking sheet. Line the cake circle with one sheet of acetate. Take the cake scraps that remain after cutting out the cake circles and use them as the bottom layer. Use the back of your hand to press them into an even layer.

Brush half the birthday cake soak over the base of cake. Spread one fifth of the birthday cake frosting over the base layer. Then sprinkle with one-third of the birthday cake crumbs, pressing them gently into the frosting with the back of your hand. Top with another fifth of the birthday cake frosting, carefully spreading it so that it is even, but without disturbing the crumbs.

Top with a full circle of cake (save the nicest one for the top layer), brush the rest of the cake soak over this layer, top with another one fifth of the frosting, one third of the cake crumbs, and another one fifth of the frosting.

Take another strip of acetate and wedge it between the cake ring and first layer of acetate so that there is ample room for the remaining layers. Top with the last circle of cake, remaining fifth of frosting, and third of cake crumbs.

Freeze the cake for at least 12 hours to set everything and make the unmolding process much easier.

Three hours before serving, retrieve the pan from the freezer, and gently push the cake through the ring. Place it on a cake stand or plate. Gently peel off the acetate strips.

Let the cake defrost in the fridge before serving. Cut neatly with a large chef's knife.

Birthday Cake

2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup + 2 tbl rainbow sprinkles
4 tbl (1/2 stick) salted butter, at room temp
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbl light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp McCormick brand clear imitation vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a rimmed quarter sheet pan by spraying with cooking spray and covering the base with a sheet of parchment. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 cup sprinkles in a small bowl. Set the dry ingredients aside for later.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add the eggs (all at once) and then beat again on medium-high for another 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add the wet ingredients (buttermilk, canola oil, and imitation vanilla) in a steady stream. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for another 4 to 6 minutes. The mixture should double in size and turn practically white. Don't stop mixing until the mixture is completely homogeneous, with no visible streaks of oil or fat.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, and mix for another minute or so until the ingredients are just combined.

Pour out the batter into the prepared sheet pan, spreading it out into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbl of sprinkles.

Bake for 30–35 minutes until the cake bounces back slightly when gently pressed in the corner. The center of the cake should no longer jiggle when the pan is shook. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Birthday Cake Soak

1/4 cup milk
1 tsp McCormick brand clear imitation vanilla extract

Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small cup or bowl.

Birthday Cake Crumb

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbl light brown sugar, tightly packed
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbl rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tbl McCormick brand clear imitation vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or piece of parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles. Mix on low speed until combined.

Stream in the oil and the imitation vanilla on low speed and continue beating the mixture until the ingredients clump and form small clusters.

Carefully spread the clusters in a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake them for about 20 minutes, breaking up occasionally. They will be slightly moist but will harden as they cool. Let them cool completely before using.

Birthday Cake Frosting

8 tbl (1 stick) salted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
2 tbl light corn syrup
1 tbl McCormick brand clear imitation vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch baking powder
pinch citric acid

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening, and the cream cheese for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.

Add the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla, and beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and glossy white.

Add the powdered sugar, baking powder, and citric acid on low speed until just combined. Crank the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is stark white and fluffy.

Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.

8 Response to Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake

April 2, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I've always wanted to be a Unicorn. If this how one gets there, I'll become one happily :-D

April 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Just got this cookbook and I am SO intimidated.

Your cake looks beautiful and I can't even imagine how great this tastes!

April 2, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Nicely done! What a cake :) I love all these milk bar treats!

April 3, 2012 at 7:46 AM

wow, this cake is beautiful, it made me happy just looking at it. It looks like a lot of work, but it def seems worth it.

April 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Holy Cow this looks amazing!! How did you even manage to wait to take the pictures. YUM! :)

April 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

This is outstanding! I know what I am making for my birthday cake this year.

April 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM

W000-H000 Unicorn status Here.I.come.!! I'm so in love with this cake. I just want to add sparkelers to it and go to town *yum*

April 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM

How much glucose does the cake frosting require or does it? (it's listed in the directions, but not the ingredients) Making this for my birthday next week :)

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