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.

confetti cake 8478

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…”

confetti cake 8471

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 ]

in the kitchen with zoe

cake krispy treats

My family is by no means a small one – from my one sister alone I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews. However, they are all 2,000 miles away. Despite my best efforts, it’s hard to be a good aunt from the opposite side of the continent. I miss the times when I used to spend hours or even days with my nieces and nephews. So, naturally, I was really excited when the BF’s niece, Zoe, asked when she could come over and bake with me.

Of course I told her that she was welcome to come over any time, and since Saturdays are my usual baking day anyway, we set a date for that Saturday. Zoe is an amazingly energetic, beautiful, smart, and quirky 10 year old. She talks a million miles a minute and is super excited about pretty much everything in the whole world. 

When Saturday morning finally arrived, Zoe showed up at 10:45 am with a candy-striped apron and a big smile. I set up a couple quick and easy things to make, as well as stuff for snickerdoodles (per her request) and we got straight to work, stopping only for a short break to refuel with some lunch.

It was actually really nice to have someone else in the kitchen with me, since usually I’m just toiling away in the kitchen alone on the weekends. It’s nice to have someone else around – both to chat with and to do a good amount of the work (she even offered to help clean up!). It was like having a really excited, mini sous chef around. We had some good chats, too – about school, movies, and her birthday (she wants a pet rat – I’m sure her parents are thrilled).

When all was said and done we had made snickerdoodle blondies, Puppy Chow (aka “muddy buddies”), and birthday cake rice krispy treats . The krispies must have been really good, because they prompted her to have the genius idea of having a “rice krispy birthday cake”. I had a blast and I can only assume she did too, since she asked to if we could do it again next weekend. :)

Birthday Cake Rice Krispy Treats

Printable Recipe

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 10-ounce(ish) bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup yellow cake mix
  • 6 C rice krispies cereal
  • 1 1.75-ounce container of sprinkles
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined.
  2. Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix.
  3. Press into a greased baking dish (9 x 13 for thinner treats, smaller for thicker) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Tips

* The ¼ C cake mix lends a subtle birthday cake flavor, I’ve seen recipes for this that go up to ¾ C cake mix, but this recipe is the “original” one from the rice krispies box.

* Sometimes I find using the whole 6 cups of krispies make them dryer than I’d like, so we filled up my 4 C measuring cup almost to the top (making it close to 5 cups total) and called it a day.

* If you add the sprinkles too soon (like I may have), they will get a bit melty and not look as pretty.

Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies)

Printable Recipe

  • 9 C Chex cereal
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ C peanut butter
  • ¼ C butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ – 2 C powdered sugar1. Measure cereal and set aside
    2. Melt chocolate, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in the microwave or in a pan over low/medium low heat.
    3. Add chex and stir until completely coated.
    4. Pour ½ of powdered sugar into a bag, add cereal mix, and top with remaining powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake shake shake until it’s thoroughly coated. Spread on baking sheet to cool.

Tips

* I’ve made this with rice chex, corn chex, and even chocolate chex – all are delicious.

* Just like rice krispies – I feel like they end up a little dry if you use all of the cereal called for in the recipe, so I usually cut back by about a cup.

* The best way that I’ve found to shake these (maybe it’s because it’s how I’ve been doing it since junior high) is to dump it all in a paper bag, fold over the top, and go outside to give it a good shake. You may end up covered in a bit of powdered sugar yourself, though. :)

[Original recipes available here & here ]