Making this cake is quite the process. Though it is one of the easier cakes to make from the Milkbar cookbook. It requires you to make the cake, frosting and a birthday cake crumb. I was able to make this cake over the course of two days, though you can finish it in one if you have all of the ingredients and tools on hand day one. (I was waiting on amazon.com to deliver my cake collars)
There is a lot of down time when making this cake too. I used that down time to apply for jobs and do some LinkedIn networking. Speaking of which... anyone out there work at a pharmaceutical company and need a medicinal chemist? Just checking... By now I have my resume and research summary all updated, I even have a few interviews. Here's hoping I hear from a few more companies and that I find a place that feels like a good place to work.
Getting back to the cake (that is what this post is supposed to be about, right?), I really enjoyed the look of this cake once it was finished. It's so cute and clean looking once you peel of the cake collars. Who says you need frosting all over the outside of the cake? When I took a class at the Williamsburg Milk bar location a few months ago, Tosi actually made this cake for us! She said she preferred her cakes like this because you could see what was going on inside. Why cover up all those layers? I have to agree. I'm also terrible at frosting cakes...
To celebrate my one month unemployment anniversary I had a single piece of this cake. It's good, but not one of the best cakes I've ever made. It does taste like a classic white birthday cake from a box. The frosting even tastes like it's straight out of the can. And yes, that is exactly the flavor that Tosi was going for. I believe she said it was that 'fake' flavor that she wanted.
Personally, I think I might use this cake making method for another combination of ingredients.
Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake
You are going to need a few fancy ingredients and tools for this cake. Here is the list of items that you might not usually find in your pantry... Clear vanilla extract, grapeseed oil, glucose, citric acid, 6-inch cake ring, acetate cake collars. You can find all of these things on amazon or at your local, well stocked specialty foods store. I'm enjoying cooking through this cookbook, it tests my skills AND patience!
This cake batter is SUPER liquidy. When doing the final whip of the batter, I had to add plastic wrap to the top of the mixing bowl so that it didn't slosh all over the counter. You might not have the same issue if you use a hand mixer.
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (Wilton has a good one)
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles plus 2 additional tablespoons
Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Spray a 9x13-inch sheet pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper or a silpat.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl with your hand mixer), combine butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides.
In a measuring cup with a spout, combine buttermilk, grapseed oil and vanilla extract with a whisk. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the liquids to the butter mixture. Beat on medium high for 6 minutes. The mixture should be nearly white and very fluffy. (It was at this point that I added plastic wrap to the top of the mixing bowl)
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles. Add this all at once to the other ingredients and mix on low until just combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sprinkles.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. You want it golden brown. Touch near the edge of the pan. It should be springy, but the center shouldn't wiggle. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan, on a wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan. At this point you can wrap it up in plastic wrap and put off assembling your cake for up to 5 days.
This frosting totally tastes like it's straight from the can. I think it's the combination of shortening and clear vanilla extract. If you want to bring a little more homemade flavor to the party, swap out the clear vanilla extract for real vanilla extract. This will also dull the bright white color of the frosting to an off-white.
8 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon glucose
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch baking powder
Pinch citric acid
To make the frosting, beat the butter, shortening and cream cheese together until smooth. With the mixer on low, stream in the glucose, corn syrup and vanilla extract and beat for about 3 minutes on medium-high. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add powdered sugar, salt, baking powder and citric acid with the mixer on low. Once the sugar is incorporated turn up the mixer and beat for 3 minutes, until the frosting obtains your desired fluffiness.
The Cake Soak
Mix together 1/4 cup whole milk and 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract. So simple.
Assemble the Cake!
Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Flip the cake sheet onto the counter and peel off the parchment from the original baking. Using your cake ring, stamp out two full circles and two half circles.
Place the two half circles of cake in the bottom of the cake ring. Fill in any empty spaces with extra pieces of cake. Tap down the layer with the back of your hand, be gentle, don't squish!
Brush the cake layer with some of the cake soak.
Top with 1/5 of the frosting and spread it out with a large spoon (your offset spatula won't fit inside of the cake collar!). Top with 1/3 of the birthday cake crumbs. Add another 1/5 of the frosting and spread out.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the frosting and gently press in. Now, take your second cake collar and slip it between the first cake collar and the metal cake ring. Your acetate should be about 6-inches tall now.