happy birthday to me [ and the momofuku confetti cake ]

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It’s Saturday, March 16th.  Today is my birthday, but you won’t be reading this until tomorrow.  I spent the whole morning at the spa getting a full body massage thanks to my wonderful, loving boyfriend.  It was, without a doubt, the perfect way to start my birthday.

momo confetti cake top

The best way to continue my birthday?  By eating my birthday cake for lunch, obviously.

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I made this cake last weekend and it’s been quietly stashed away in my freezer since then.  Waiting, haunting me in the back of my brain.  For the last week, like a mobius strip in my brain, “confetti cake, confetti cake, confetti cake…”

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And even lazy me, despite saying that reading the recipes in the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook makes me tired, even I could do it.  And it wasn’t that hard.  Day 1 I made the crumb and cake.  Day 2 I made the frosting, soak, and assembled everything.  Day 3 (which was actually 1 week later) I consumed everything.  Well, ahem, not everything.

instagram confetti cake

Not that I would have any issue taking down a whole cake, but I had plenty of other eating to do and therefor decided to save my tummy’s valuable real estate for dinner with the BF at one of my favorite restaurants.  After slicing my cake, I very carefully laid each piece on a plastic-wrap-lined baking sheet and put it in the freezer to chill for a few hours.  Once hardened, I wrapped each piece individually in plastic wrap and then foil, and placed them in a freezer-safe gallon-sized bag for future consumption.  God bless whoever invented the freezer.

[ UPDATE: Our friends at Bon Apetit have since posted a video showing how to assemble the cake that is infinitely helpful. I recommend you check it out if you are at all intimidated or confused by the assembly instructions! ]

Momofuku Milk Bar Confetti Cake

Makes 1 6-inch round cake

Printable Recipe

For the Crumb:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract


For the cake:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup + 4 Tablespoons sprinkles, separated


For the soak:

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract


For the frosting:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, softened to room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder


Step 1: Make the crumbs
1.  Preheat the oven to 300˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Combine the dry ingredients in a mixer until well-mixed.  Add oil and vanilla and continue mixing until they form into clumps.
3.  Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 17 minutes, until done.  Err towards under-done rather than over-done, the crumbs will harden a bit once cooled.  Allow to cool on the pan, then transfer to an airtight container for storage.
*Crumbs can be stored up to 1 week in the fridge, or a couple of days at room temperature.

Step 2: Make the cake
1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a quarter-sheet pan (9- or 10-inches by 13-inches) with foil and parchment, greasing if desired (I sprayed with Pam for Baking)
2.   In a medium bowl, whisk together your cake flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles; set aside.
3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the butter and shortening until combined.  Add both sugars to the butter mixture and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating for about 10 seconds after each one, scraping the bowl after each addition.  Continue to mix on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping the bowl at the end of the 3 minutes.
4.  On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat for 4-6 minutes on medium-high until the mixture is white, has grown to about twice its original size, and is completely homogenous with no streaks running through it, scraping the bowl as necessary.  Don’t worry if it takes a while for everything to get incorporated.
5.  Add the flour/sprinkle mixture and pulse until moistened, then mix just until the flour is incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl one last time to check for any hidden flour bombs.
6.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it with a spatula to ensure it’s even(ish).  Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of sprinkles and bake 25 to 30 minutes until done.  When done, the cake should have a golden top and spring back when gently touched.  If  you’re still not sure you can stick a toothpick into the center and see if it comes out clean – it should be mostly clean with a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick.
7.  Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow the cake to finish cooling on a wire rack.
*The cooled cake can be, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for one day, in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen for one month.

Step 3: Make the frosting
1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese on high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2.  Scrape down the bowl, then with the mixer on low speed, stream in the corn syrup and  vanilla.  Continue beating on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and glossy white, about 3 minutes.
3.  Scrape down the bowl and add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and baking powder and pulse to incorporate the powdered sugar.  Once the powdered sugar is mixed in, beat again on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until it is fluffy and white.  Use the frosting immediately.
*Frosting can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week, bring to room temperature before using.

Step 4: Assemble the cake
Equipment needed:

  • 2 acetate strips
  • 1 6-inch cake ring
  • 1 6-inch cake board or whatever it is that you would like to use to store your cake on
  • 1 gallon-size zipper bag or pastry bag (for frosting)
  • 1 pastry brush
  • Saran wrap
  • 1 recipe prepared confetti cake
  • 1 recipe prepared frosting
  • 1 recipe prepared confetti cake crumb

1. Make  your cake layers
1.1  Lay your cake on your work surface and cut out 2 6-inch circles using your cake ring.. Using the remaining cake and the cake ring, make a 3rd 6-inch cake out of the cake scraps.  I did this by cutting out the two corner-ish pieces, leaving as big of a piece as possible to be the base for my bottom franken-layer.

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There will be a lot of scraps leftover for … quality control.  Yes, that’s what they are for.  Don’t want to get all the way to the end to find out that you don’t like your cake, right?  I put mine in a freezer-safe bag along with my other cake scraps leftover from home made ding dongs.  I’m sure I’ll not have any problem finding something to do with them.

1.2  Clean the cake ring and line it with an acetate strip, and place it Fill your plastic storage zipper bag with frosting, if you haven’t already, and cut a 1/2 to 3/4 inch hole in the corner. Squeeze evenly over the crumbs (see figures 1-4 of the how-to above).onto whatever base you’ve chosen to use – I also placed plastic wrap between the bottom of my cake ring and my cake surface so that I could move my cake as I deemed necessary.

confetti cake 8390 1.3   Place Circle #3 (cake scrap circle) inside the acetate-lined ring.

*Does that sound hard?  If so, cut your rectangular cake into three equal-sized sections and voila – you will have a 3-layer rectangle cake.

2. Mix together your milk soak, and scrape your frosting into a large gallon-size resealable plastic bag or pastry bag.  Cut a ½-inch off the corner of the bag for piping the frosting.

3.  Soak your cake
3.1  Using a pastry brush, generously brush your cake-scrap layer with ⅓ of the cake soak mixture.

4. Layer and frost your cake
4.1  Use the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula to spread the first ⅕ of frosting evenly on the cake.
4.2  Sprinkle the desired amount of the crumbs (up to ⅓ of crumb mixture)  evenly over the frosted cake layer.

*Tip: If you have smaller crumbs your cake will cut more easily when it’s time for slicing

4.3  Here is the tricky part – Now you have to frost on top of cake crumbs.

Pipe frosting in a spiral or grid pattern across the top of your cake.  I was a bit heavy-handed on this so you might want to make sure you only use ⅕ of the frosting here… or make extra frosting if you’re worried about it.  A little extra frosting never hurt anyone.

Use the back of a spoon to spread your lines of frosting evenly over the crumbs.  If you’re confused, please refer to Shannon’s beautiful confetti cake post, as it got me through my Momofuku cake experience.

4.4  Gently tuck your second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼-inch of the first strip of acetate, so you have a clear ring of acetate 5-6 inches tall-high enough to support the height of the finished cake.

5.  Assemble Layer #2:
5.1  Set Circle #2 on top of the completed layer.  Don’t worry that the acetate strips tend to scrape a bit off of the edges, just fanangle the cake into the ring and then gently press it all together with firm, even pressure.  Be gentle but firm.
5.2  Repeat step 3.1 – 4.3, using 1/3 of the cake soak, then up to 1/3 of crumbs, and 1/3 of frosting on top of the crumb.

6.  Repeat again for the 3rd and final layer – using the remaining cake soak, then we switch it up a little bit. Instead of crumb then frosting, for the final layer we will first frost the top of the cake and sprinkle the top with crumb however you think is most pretty.

7.  You should have a little bit of empty space between the top of your cake and the top of your acetate strip.  Cover with plastic wrap and/or foil and transfer the cake and its base to your freezer.
7.1 Chill for 12 hours (or up to 2 weeks) to set the cake and filling.

momo confetti 2

8.  When ready to serve the cake, remove the cake ring and place on your desired serving piece (this is easiest to do when still frozen).
8.1  Thaw at room temperature at least 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.  The cake is best served at room temperature so please let it sit at room temperature at least a few hours before serving.  I left mine wrapped in acetate to protect the sides of the cake layers from drying out.  When ready to serve, remove the acetate strips and slice as desired.

Finished cake can be stored, wrapped in plastic, up to 5 days in the fridge.  After slicing my cake, I very carefully laid each piece on a plastic-wrap-lined baking sheet and put it in the freezer to chill for a few hours.  Once hardened, I wrapped each piece individually in plastic wrap and then foil, and placed them in a freezer-safe gallon-sized bag for future consumption.  God bless whoever invented the freezer. 

 

[ Adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook & A Periodic Table ]

25 thoughts on “happy birthday to me [ and the momofuku confetti cake ]

  1. Beautiful! Happy Birthday! :) I love the Momfuku cookies but I haven’t been brave enough to tackle the cakes. This is a celebration cake for sure.

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Haha, you love your freezer so much. I usually just freeze leftovers, but that’s so funny that you made your cake ahead of time and froze it :) I have NO idea how you had enough restraint to not touch it until your birthday. That’s some willpower, girl!

    I hope all your bday wishes come true!! (especially those concerning owls and/or red pandas)

    • Aw thanks, Amy!! I didn’t get to pet any red pandas but I still had a great birthday anyway :) And even though I love baking, it was nice to take the weekend off 😉

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! even though i’ve said it already, still; happy birthday (month). Your cake turned out so perfect and beautiful! I’m dying over the full cake-stand photo…it looks like you got your cake from HEAVEN. :)
    And hi, what a great freezing technique for this! I’m trying it with the next Momofuku cake i make; so much easier than taking up a massive amount of space in my freezer. Smart, girl….smart. What cake are we going to do next year? I’m already thinking about it…

    • Just a thought… but have you seen the Baked “Sweet & Salty” cake??? It’s one I would normally deem “too complicated” or “too difficult” but after how easy this one seemed… I think I (we) could totally do it!

  4. I’ve just printed this recipe out to give it at try….would be so wonderful for my daughter, who doesn’t like gobs of icing. Also….love the macaroon/macaron explanation in the previous post! I’ve had to try and explain this so many times when ask for advice on what to do, where to eat, etc in Paris.

  5. 1. Happy belated birthday!
    2. I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVEN’T EVER FROZEN INDIVIDUAL SLICES OF CAKE.
    3. I’m sorry for the yelling. It’s just that freezing slices of cake will, in all likelihood, MAKE MY LIFE EVEN MORE AWESOMER.

  6. Happy Belated Birthday! Love the confetti cake. I’m making it for John for his birthday next weekend. What’s the dilly with clear vanilla? Will I ruin it with regular vanilla? why clear? what’s so special? Do tell…

    • Haha – I think it’s just because it’s clear so it will help to keep the cake and frosting as white as possible… I’m sure regular vanilla extract will be fine… possibly even better!

      Tell John I said “Happy Birthday” :)

  7. I’m so excited to make this. All the baking has been done and tonight i’m going to assemble… Any suggestions on how to transport it though? I feel like it’s going to be kinda tall and all the cake boxes i found were too short.

    • That’s great, Anna! I left mine it the metal ring (with the acetate strips hanging a bit over the top) and put it on the cake plate, then wrapped the top with foil. I left it covered like that in the fridge until about 1 hour prior to serving, then sit it out at room temperature on its serving plate and unwrapped it to come to room temperature.

      Hope this helps!

  8. In the assembly section, step 3 says to use 1/3 of the cake soak mixture on the cake-scrap layer but you never indicate soaking the other layers? Please clarify?

  9. was looking for this particular cake to make on my birthday, your post was the first that popped up in my search, and my birthday just happens to be on the same date! it must be a sign that I should make this. great presentation! Happy Birthday!

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