It takes time and patience but you won't be disappointed.
The Momofuku Milkbar Birthday Cake recipe is maybe one of the most celebrated cakes in the culinary world. It’s fear-inducing since the ingredient list can seem long, the tools can be unfamiliar and the assembly is a little unusual but it totally worth it. Let's begin:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar tightly packed
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed
1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract can substitute with regular vanilla, but it will tint your crumbs a brownish color
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar tightly packed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract can substitute with regular vanilla, but it will tint your cake a brownish color
2 cups cake flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles plus extra for sprinkling on top of the cake
1/4 cup milk of choice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 ounces cream cheese
1 Tablespoon glucose can substitute with 2 teaspoons of corn syrup
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract can substitute with regular vanilla, but it will tint your frosting a brownish color
1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of citric acid I omitted this
Make the cake crumb
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a standard baking pan with parchment papTurn the mixer to low and slowly stream in the oil and vanilla and mix on medium speed until small clumps or a silicone mat and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles together on medium speed. Mix until well combined.
Turn the mixer to low and slowly stream in the oil and vanilla and mix on medium speed until small clumps form.
Transfer the clumps to your prepared baking pan and spread them outbreak up large clumps if needed.
Bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs will be slightly wet and will harden as they cool.
Crumbs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week or in the fridge or freezer for up to a month.
Make the cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray or line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. If you don't have a quarter sheet pan, you can use a 9"x13" baking pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes or until well blended.
Turn the mixer down to low and slowly stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed and mix for 4-6 minutes. Do not shortcut this step - it is imperative that you mix very well at this stage or else your batter will not come together correctly.
Turn the mixer back down to low and fold in the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles. Mix for about 1 minute or until everything just comes together.
Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and evenly spread it out. Sprinkle about another 2 Tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles to the top of your cake. Bake in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back after you gently press on it. The center should not jiggle.
Turn the oven off and take the cake out of the oven. Let it cool completely before assembling. The cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make the soak
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the milk and vanilla together. Set aside
Make the frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and cream cheese together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Turn the mixer down to low and slowly pour in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed until the frosting looks glossy and smooth, about another 2-3 minutes.
Turn the mixer down to low again and slowly add in the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid until blended. Then turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and mix for another 2-3 minutes. The frosting should resemble the canned types you can buy in a grocery store.
Frosting should be used immediately but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Assemble the cake
Put a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat on your counter. Flip the cake onto it and peel off the silicone mat or parchment from the bottom of your cake. Use your cake ring to cut out two cake rounds. The remaining cake scraps will be smushed together to form your bottom cake layer.
Clean the cake ring and place it on the center of a sheet pan lined with a clean piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. Line the inside of the cake ring with 1 strip of acetate.
Put the cake scraps in the ring and use them to form a cake layer. Gently press down on the top so it's even.
Spread 1/5 of the frosting on top of the top. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cake crumbs on top of the frosting. Gently press down on the crumbs to keep them from moving around. Add another 1/5 of frosting on top of the crumbs.
Gently tuck in the 2nd acetate strip between the cake ring and the top 1/4" of the first strip of acetate. You'll now have a ring of acetate about 6 inches tall - this will support the final cake.
Gently set 1 cake round on top of the last layer of frosting and repeat the process - add more crumbs, and another layer of frosting.
Add the final cake round on top and spread the remaining frosting on top. Garnish with the final 1/3 of the cake crumbs.
Transfer the cake to your freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
At least 3 hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer. Gently pop the cake out of the ring and remove the acetate strips. Transfer the cake to a cake plate or platter and place it in the refrigerator and let it thaw out for 3 hours.