Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate birthday cake

This chocolate birthday cake is a variation of Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar confetti cake. Instead of a vanilla confetti cake, we use a chocolate cake.

Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate birthday cake

Not too long ago, my family and I were watching a show on Netflix. I can’t remember the name of it, but it featured chefs from all types of cuisines from around the country. The one episode we caught highlighted Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar. She talked about her journey to creating Milk Bar and her inspirations for recipes.

Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate birthday cake

She featured two recipes that episode – confetti birthday cake and grasshopper pie. Naturally, my husband and daughter both asked me to make these. I cheerfully told them that I had already made the confetti cake but I would be happy to try to make the pie. With my husband’s birthday AND Father’s Day approaching, he asked if I could make a chocolate version of the confetti cake for his birthday and the grasshopper pie for Father’s Day.

Challenge accepted.

Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate birthday cake

I did a quick internet search and found a recipe for Christina Tosi’s chocolate cake so I used it here. I kept everything else from the original confetti cake – from the crumbs to the soak to the frosting. If you don’t want sprinkles in your cake, leave them out. If you want to use a chocolate frosting instead, be my guest.

Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate birthday cake

The trick to this cake is the process of stacking it. We use a clear plastic (acetate) to keep the layers intact, and the cake needs to be refrigerated for at least 12 hours before consuming. While that may sound torturous, it will be worth the wait.

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband! And Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers!

Husband’s rating: 5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 5 out of 5

Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate birthday cake

This visually stunning (and equally delicious) chocolate birthday cake is the brainchild of Milk Bar owner Christina Tosi
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Chilling time12 hrs
Total Time13 hrs 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake
Servings: 8
Author: Eva Bakes

Equipment

  • 6- inch cake ring (not a cake pan)
  • 2 strips of clear bendable plastic (acetate), each 3 inches wide by 20 inches long (I found a clear plastic sheet at my local craft store in the same area as the poster boards)

Ingredients

Cake crumb

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and ½ Tablespoons brown sugar tightly packed
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ 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

Cake

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons fudge sauce homemade or store-bought
  • 1 and ¼ cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons salt

Cake soak

  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon glucose can substitute with corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract can substitute with regular vanilla, but it will tint your frosting a brownish color
  • 1 and ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • pinch of citric acid I omitted this

Instructions

Make the crumb

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a standard baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside. Turn the mixer to low and slowly stream in the oil and vanilla and mix on medium speed until small clumps form.
  • 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 out - break 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.

Bake 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 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 3-5 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. Your batter will appear very white.
  • Add the fudge sauce and mix well.
  • Turn the mixer back down to low and fold in the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix for about 1 minute or until everything just comes together.
  • Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and evenly spread it out. 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 cake 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 the acetate.
  • Put the cake scraps in the ring and use it 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.

Notes

Leftover cake should be covered (wrapped in plastic) and kept in the refrigerator and will keep for up to 5 days.
Source: Source: Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi; the chocolate cake recipe is also from Christina but I found it on Today

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