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5 from 9 votes

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake

The Milk Bar Cake is the best funfetti cake you will ever eat - with a light fluffy cake, creamy buttercream, and crunchy cake crumbs.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time50 mins
Resting Time15 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday cake, funfetti cake, milk bar cake, momofuku cake
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 834kcal
Author: Heather Perine

Ingredients

For The Birthday Cake Crumb

  • ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (90 g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

For The Birthday Cake

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 57 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • cup (61 g) vegetable shortening
  • cups (248 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup (120 mL) buttermilk
  • cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240 g) cake flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles divided

For The Birthday Cake Frosting

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (92 g) vegetable shortening
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons glucose
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (284 g) powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice (or citric acid)

For The Birthday Cake Soak

Instructions

MAKE THE BIRTHDAY CAKE CRUMB

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a rimmed sheet pan (10x15 jelly roll pan) with parchment paper or Silpat.
  • Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and mix on low speed until small clusters form.
  • Spread the clusters on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking up the clusters once or twice during baking. The crumbs should be slightly moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool. Allow the crumbs to cool completely on the pan before using. The birthday cake crumbs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, or in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 1 month.

MAKE THE BIRTHDAY CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a quarter sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, or with Silpat.
  • In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla extract.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup of the sprinkles.
  • Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and 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.
  • On low speed, gradually pour in the buttermilk mixture. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture has nearly doubled in size and is completely homogenous (don't rush this step!). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until the batter comes together, about 45 to 60 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the batter a final mix with a rubber spatula.
  • Spread the cake batter in an even layer in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes; when you gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger, the cake should bounce back slightly, and the center should no longer be jiggly. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. The cooled cake can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

MAKE THE BIRTHDAY CAKE FROSTING

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the glucose, corn syrup and vanilla extract.
  • 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 for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • With the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the glucose mixture. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and glossy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder and citric acid, and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting is completely smooth. Use the frosting immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Bring to room temperature before using in the recipe.)

ASSEMBLE THE BIRTHDAY LAYER CAKE

  • Put a piece of parchment or Silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake "scrap" will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
  • Layer 1, The Bottom: Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
  • Put the cake scraps in the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla extract for the birthday cake soak. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the soak over the top of the cake.
  • Using the back of a spoon, spread one-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.
  • Sprinkle one-third of the birthday cake crumbs evenly over the top of the frosting. use the back of your hand to press them gently into the frosting.
  • Use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
  • Layer 2, The Middle: With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall. Set one of the cake rounds (the more imperfect of the two) on top of the frosting, brush with the remaining soak, and repeat the process for Layer 1 (a fifth of frosting, a third of crumbs, and another fifth of frosting).
  • Layer 3, The Top: Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the last fifth of the frosting. Garnish the frosting with the remaining birthday crumbs.
  • Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. (The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.)
  • At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours before slicing and serving. (You can store the cake, wrapped well in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

Notes

  • Cake crumbs: Up to a week ahead of time. Store at room temperature. You can also store these in the freezer for 1 month.
  • Cake: You can store this, cooled and wrapped, in the fridge up to 5 days.
  • Frosting: Store in the fridge up to 1 week ahead of time. Bring to room temperature before using.
  • Whole Cake Assembled: Store in the fridge, covered up to 5 days. Freezer, covered, up to 2 weeks.
  • Use the correct pan: I read other blogs stating they had issues making this in the incorrect pan and having the cake bubble over. 
  • Make Ahead: Use the times above to figure out how to break down this process. And don't forget this cake has to freeze for 12 hours, and then defrost a full 3 hours in the fridge before serving. 
  • Clear Vanilla Extract: Worth the splurge. The flavor really was true to that vanilla cake mix flavor. Of course you can substitute the regular vanilla, but be aware the cake and frosting will have a darker hue. I got mine on Amazon, but your grocery store may also sell it.
  • Frosting: I doubled the amount based on other reviews. Some suggested using 1.5x the original recipe called for. So you may have some leftover. 
  • Oil: I did not use grapeseed oil either. You can replace that with another neutral tasting oil such as vegetable or canola.
  • Glucose syrup: I did use this in my frosting and helps to make it smooth. But if you don't have it, you can replace with more corn syrup but it can make your frosting sweeter than intended and texturally not the same. 
  • Salt: I used table salt, so I adjusted this amount in the recipe for what I used. If you are using kosher salt you will need to increase the amount slightly. 
  • Citric Acid: I didn't use this either but used lemon juice instead. But that little bit of acidity does help to balance the frosting's sweetness. 

Nutrition

Calories: 834kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 317mg | Potassium: 164mg | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 810IU | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 0.6mg