Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake

Last week, while in New York for work, I made a pit stop at Momofuku Milk Bar in East Village for their birthday cake and chocolate malt cake truffles. Both are incredibly delicious and flavorful, and while I usually choose chocolate before all else, the birthday cake truffle is actually my favorite. They use scraps of their birthday cake, mixed with milk, coated in white chocolate and their crunchy coating (a combination of birthday cake, vanilla milk, white chocolate and birthday cake sand). So good, you guys!

After enjoying my delicious truffles and heading off to work, I regretted not pre-ordering their 6-inch birthday cake. (One of these days I've got to be a little more prepared before heading out there!). Since I missed my chance at having the real thing, I went for the next best thing and made it myself. Milk Bar is awesome and has actually published a ton of their recipes. You can find them all here.  

The birthday cake is made up of four parts: birthday cake, birthday cake soak, birthday cake frosting, and birthday cake crumbs. Don't leave out any of these! You want the full experience and it's so worth the time of each step.

There are also a handful of items that you may not be familiar with and/or can't find at your local grocery store:

Clear vanilla extract - you should be able to find the McCormick brand at the grocery store, or Joann's and Michael's usually carry the clear vanilla extract in their cake isles. Milk Bar says the clear vanilla extract is NOT interchangeable with the typical brown extract because the clear vanilla isn't actually flavored by vanilla and gives the cake a more "guilty tub-of-frosting, box cake" flavor.

Glucose - you might actually find this at Joann's and Michael's, as well. If not, check a specialty baking store (Orson Gygi, if you're in Utah or Surfas, if you're in Los Angeles).

Citric Acid - you can actually use fresh lemon juice if you can't track down a bottle of citric acid.

Acetate sheets - another specialty item, but if you're already at a craft store getting clear vanilla extract or glucose, grab a sheet of thick plastic from the stenciling or quilting section. You can make your own strips.

Make sure to follow Milk Bar's tips about mixing times, and don't rush the process. You'll be combining a lot of fats with liquids and want the mixture to be completely homogeneous. There should not be any streaks of fats or liquids when you're done mixing the batter.

You'll use a baking sheet to cook the cake, and then make cutouts with a 6-inch spring form pan. The recipe calls for three layers, but I ended up doing four layers since there was extra cake and you can piece it together since it's supported by the acetate sheets and spring form pan.

Don't worry if your cake rounds fall a part a little. Look how messy mine are! You can fill in holes and crevices with extra cake scraps. 

I also placed my cake layers top-side down so that the cake soak could really soak in.

Find all the recipes and instructions over at MilkBar. Click HERE for a direct link to the birthday cake.

Can't wait to hear what you think!


  1. Such a interesting and oh so fun cake!! How did you make the cake crumb/ball things? Wish I could taste it. Looks rich!

    1. Leah, this cake is so good! The cookie crumb recipe is also on the momofuku website that I've linked above. It's basically a cookie recipe that you cook in crumbs and crumble apart once they're completely cooled.

    2. Leah, this cake is so good! The cookie crumb recipe is also on the momofuku website that I've linked above. It's basically a cookie recipe that you cook in crumbs and crumble apart once they're completely cooled.

  2. Last time I tried this cake the actual cake part didn't work for me. Did you adjust for altitude at all?

    1. Darn! I didn't have to make any adjustments but you could try adding a little more baking powder if it didn't rise enough. The other important part of this recipe is mixing really well to make sure all the fats and liquids are completely blended.

  3. Hi! Question, do you really have to put it in the freeze for 12 hours? or if you're making it that day, could you eat it that night??

    1. Hi Shawna, I really do think you need to chill it but you can refrigerate it for the day instead of freezing it.

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