Tuesday, November 26, 2013

birthday layer cake

I baked! Using a recipe I haven't posted before! And I'm writing about it! Using lots of !!! for some reason.

I made this cake for my brother's birthday two years ago. When my nephew's bday rolled around and I didn't get a specific cake requested, my husband suggested the Birthday Layer Cake recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar. He likes it because the cake and frosting recipes are designed to taste just like boxed cake mix and store bought frosting, i.e., too sweet, and chemical tasting.

So I happily went to work, doubling the standard recipe to make a tall 9 inch, three layer cake. I used Monster Mix sprinkles instead of the rainbow sprinkles called for in the recipe. I love the way they look, but I have to admit, once baked, it kinda looked like the cake was studded with bugs... Not so appealing. We ate it anyways, and enjoyed the sugary mess that this cake was.

This recipe has 4 components: the cake layers themselves, then a mixture of milk and vanilla that gets brushed on the cake layers, then vanilla frosting, and then cake crumbs, crunchy clusters of  "cake crumbs" that are layered between the cake and the frosting.

Seems like an elaborate recipe, but everything is quite simple, as long as you have a standmixer. The recipe below makes a really tall 6 inch round cake. I double everything (and tripled the frosting) to make the 9 inch cake fully covered in frosting.

Birthday Layer Cake
recipe source: Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

Birthday cake crumbs

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
3/4 cup cake and pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.

Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute and continue beating the mixture until the ingredients clump and form small clusters.

Spread the clusters in a thin layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake them for about 20 minutes. They dry and harden as the cool into crispy crumbs. Let them cool completely before using them.

Birthday cake

Pam or vegetable oil for preparing the pan
2 cups cake and pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tso salt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 granulated sugar
3 tbsp light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (made from skim milk and white vinegar)
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare a rimmed three 6 inch round cake pans by spraying the all over with Pam and then covering the base with a round of parchment. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of 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 the sugars on medium-high 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.
Combine the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the wet ingredients in a steady stream. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for another 4 to 6 minutes. The mixture will double in size almost, and will appear light and fluffy. There will be no trace of oil left.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, and mix for another minute or so until the ingredients are all combined.
Pour out the batter into the prepared pans, spreading it out into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp of rainbow 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 vanilla extract

Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small cup or bowl. Set aside for later.

Birthday cake frosting

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch baking powder
Pinch citric acid
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tbsp glucose
1 tbsp clear corn syrup
1 tbsp clear vanilla extract

Whisk together the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid in a medium bowl. Set aside for later.
In the bowl of an electric 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. Be sure to scrape down the bowl periodically.
Add the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla, and beat the mixture on medium-high again, for 2 to 3 minutes until it is silky smooth and a little glossy. Scrape down the bowl a few times.
Now add the whisked dry ingredients and incorporate them on low speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium–high and beat the frosting until it is creamy and fluffy, just like the kind that comes in a can.

I haven't blogged in forever, but besides work being crazy, I sure did bake a lot over the past few months. I have been preparing to host my first Daring Baker's challenge, and I have been testing the new Baked cookbook for the authors, so I made a bunch of recipe I can't talk about yet, but here are a few pics of what I've been up to, for those of you who don't follow me on Facebook and Instagram:

Bowling cupcakes, for a kid's bday party, using a chocolate mayonnaise cupcake recipe, and standard, too sweet, american buttercream.

A four tiered german chocolate wedding cake, for my brother in law and his new bride.

Didn't actually bake this, but made this little fondant owl for a coworker's kid's bday.

A little fondant panda bear sitting on a bundt cake for my baby's bday.

An apple spice cake with caramel frosting for my dad, who was celebrating 20 years working at a local festival.

A wedding cake: bottom layer was momofuku  milk bar's carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, middle layer was chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, and top layer was vanilla with old fashioned frosting.

A bridal shower cake, made out of chocolate cake layers, and filled with a coffee flavored buttercream, and frosted with chocolate ganache.

I think this is it... I should really post more often... And take better pictures!


  1. I love the lettering on your LEGO cake for Cohen. Will you tell me your secret of making the lettering???? Please! Pretty Please!!

    1. I use my computer and a silhouette cutter with wilton frosting sheets!


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