The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets


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Birthday Layer Cake

The final cake in the trio was the Milkbar’s Birthay Layer Cake because it’s not a birthday without birthday cake. This is probably the most famous cake from the Milkbar, and almost anyone loves a good confetti cake. If Milkbar would have a mascot, I think this would be it. I have make the birthday cookie numerous times, but it finally time to make the cake.

BIRTHDAY CAKE CRUMB:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBS light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TBS rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract

They suggest using a clear vanilla extract. I use the regular and don’t see much of a difference. Preheat oven to 300F. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients on low. Add the oil and vanilla to the mixture and mix until well incorporated. Evenly spread out the clusters on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking on the crumbs occasionally and breaking them up. Be careful not to overcook the crumbs. Take them out if they start to brown and allow to cool.

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BIRTHDAY CAKE

  • 4 TBS butter, room temp
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBS light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS rainbow sprinkles

Again, they use vegetable shortening where I prefer to use coconut oil. To each’s own. Preheat oven to 300F and have 3 6-inch cake rounds prepared with either pam spray or coconut oil and lined the bottom with parchment paper. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugars on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the eggs. Increase speed back up to medium-high for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, add the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high for 4-6 minutes. Mixture should be doubled and consistent. There should be no streaks in the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of the sprinkles. Mix on low speed for about a minute. Evenly distribute the batter between the 3 cake rounds and evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 TBS of sprinkles on the cakes. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will double in size and dome in the center. Test the cake with a knife and take the cakes out if it comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack.

BIRTHDAY CAKE SOAK

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl or pyrex, whisk the ingredients together.

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BIRTHDAY CAKE FROSTING

  • 8 TBS butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 TBS glucose
  • 1 TBS corn syrup
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2-4 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch baking powder
  • pinch of citric acid

I always seem to use more confectionary sugar than they suggest (1 1/4 cup) . In the stand mixer, cream the butter, coconut oil, and cream cheese on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On the lowest speed, add the glucose, corn syrup and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high for another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectionary sugar (one cup at a time), baking powder and citric acid. Mix on low to for about a minute and then increase the speed to medium-high for 2-3 minutes.

 

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

On a cardboard round, add the first cake layer in the center. With a serrated knife, level the cake and use 1 sheet of acetate to line around the cake. Give the cake a healthy layer or the cake soak and spread one-fifth of the cake frosting on the cake. Sprinkle about a third of the crumb on the frosting and anchor the crumbs using the back of your hand. Then add another layer of frosting.

Before adding the second layer of cake, using the knife again, level the cake. Then gently, add the layer to the cake. At this point, the cake should have met the top of the acetate so add a second layer around the cake. Follow the same pattern for the second layer.

For the final layer of cake, level the layer using the knife before adding it to the cake. Cover the top with the remaining frosting and garnish with the crumb. Cover the top using plastic wrap and transfer the cake to the freezer for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake.

Remove the cake from the freezer at least 3 hours before serving. Remove the plastic wrap and acetate and let it defrost in the fridge.


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Pistachio Layer Cake

My parents were coming in for a St. Patty’s celebration where my Aunt wanted to turn it into a St.Patty’s/Dad’s birthday. My dad is a huge fanatic when its comes to all things pistachio so this cake immediately popped into my mind, and I wanted to do it right… aka the Milkbar way.

I’m not going to lie, this was one of the more expensive cakes I have ever created.  You need buy both pistachio paste and oil, and if you want good quality paste, you have to put in some dough, pun intended. I also had to buy gelatin and acetate which wasn’t bad. Each came to about $9 and change on Amazon.

I did one recipe for three 6-inch cake tins. As I have said before, what’s great about Milkbar, is that you can make their cakes in parts. I was able to make the milk crumb and lemon curd earlier in the week and have it sit in the refrigerator until I was ready to put the cake together.

The cake came out beautifully and my dad really appreciated the cake. It is definitely one I would make again but maybe not too soon since I would have to buy some more paste…

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MILK CRUMB

  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBS arrowroot
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 3 oz white chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 250F. In a bowl, toss the 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, arrowroot, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and toss with your hands. The mixture will start become together in small clusters.

On a silpat baking sheet, evenly spread out the clusters and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Break down and crumb clusters that are over a 1/2 inch and put in a medium bowl. Add the remaining milk powder and melted white chocolate and toss until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Keep the crumb in an airtight container.

LEMON CURD

  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • 8 TBS cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Zest the lemons with the box-grater.  Milkbar makes a note to grate down as far down as the yellow part of the skin, and then squeeze 1/3 of lemon juice. In a blender, combine the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and clean the blender.

In a medium bowl, soak a sheet of gelatin in cold water. The gelatin has “bloomed” when it has become soft, after about two minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on it. If there is still hard bits, it needs to soak longer. If it is falling apart, it is too soft. You will have to discard the gelatin and start again. Remove excess water by gently squeezing it.

On low heat, whisk the lemon mixture. It will begin to thicken and once it boils, remove it from heat and transfer to the blender. Add the gelatin, butter, and salt. Blend until the mixture is thick and super smooth. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-proof container. Place in the fridge until completely cooled, at least 30 minutes.

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PISTACHIO FROSTING

  • 8 TBS butter, room temperature
  • 3 – 4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 3/4 cup pistachio paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Milkbar uses 1/4 cup sugar, but I normally have to add more for consistency and I don’t normally feel like I have enough to make layers. Either way, combine the butter and confectionary sugar in a standard mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add the pistachio paste and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then pick it up to medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. If the mixture is not cohesive, mix on high for another minute. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

PISTACHIO CAKE

  • 2/3 cup pistachio paste
  • 3 TBS glucose
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup pistachio oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven 350F and have 3 prepared cake tins. I used coconut oil and parchment paper for the bottom. In a standard mixer, with a paddle attachment, combine the pistachio paste and glucose on medium-low for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Reduce the speed to low, add the egg whites, one at a time. Make sure the egg whites are fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the confectionary sugar and almond flour. Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the pistachio oil and heavy cream. Mix on low for about a minute.

Scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is smooth. Evenly divide the batter into the three cake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. I had to bake mine a bit more because the cake did not come out clean on a knife. The cake will rise in the middle and the edges should be spongey to the touch. When the knife does come out clean, remove the cakes from the oven and have them cool on wire racks.

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ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

I do not have a 6 inch cake ring, as suggested, so I did this all using acetate. On a cardboard cake platter, place the first cake layer in the middle. Using a serrated knife, even out the top and fit a clear piece of acetate around the cake. Using a pastry brush, give a healthy layer of pistachio oil on the cake. Spread half of the lemon curd evenly over the cake and sprinkle a third of the milk crumb on the curd. Use the back of your hand to firmly set the crumbs. Spread a third of the frosting on top of the curd/crumb mixture.

For the second cake layer, I flattened out the top before putting in onto the first layer of cake. Then added the second layer of acetate to build the stack. Go back and follow the complete instructions for the first layer of cake.

For the final layer, cut the top of the cake so it is flat. Firmly set it in the frosting of the second layer of cake, and cover the top with the remaining  amount of frosting and garnish with the remaining milk crumb. Cover the top of the cake with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake. At least 3 hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer and gently remove the acetate and then place it in the refrigerator for defrosting. Serve and enjoy!


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Apple Pie Layer Cake

For a friend’s birthday, I decided to make a special cake and I was a little over zealous on this one. My friend is obsessed with minions and I thought it was a great idea to try to make a minion cake. It was either that or Olaf, and the minion seemed more attainable. I haven’t worked with fondant in a while so there were a lot of messy areas on the cake that I attempted with hide with other aspects of the minion. The cake recipe is from Milk Bar and it was delicious. There are many parts to this cake, but what is great about their recipes is that you can break it up over a span of a few days so it is not all done at once.

Their cakes are usually baked in a form of a sheet cake and then cut down into circles. I do not have an oven big enough so I made two 9-inch rounds. Well, I take that back, I thought I could get three rounds out of the batter and I was sadly mistaken so I had to make another cake layer. In the end, it worked to my benefit because the two smaller rounds were used to shape the minion.

I also bought one container of yellow fondant and one of white. Obviously I needed a lot of yellow and I wasn’t going to sit there making yellow fondant, but the rest of it was easy to dye and lucky it didn’t completely stain my hands when I tried to make black fondant…

pieBARELY BROWN  BUTTER CAKE

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS brown butter
  •  1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven 350F. Combine the butters and sugars in a standard mixer with a paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and mix on medium-high for another 2-3 minutes and scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

While on low speed, add in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high for 5-6 minutes or when it turns light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add cake flour, baking powder and salt. Mix for about a minute until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 45 seconds. In two prepared 9-inch cake pans, have the bottom lined with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes. The cake should be bouncy around the edge and the center should no longer be jiggly. Cool on a wire rack.

APPLE SOAK

  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon

Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.

APPLE PIE FILLING

  • cake1 lemon
  • 2 medium granny smith apples
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold water and the lemon juice. Peel the apples, halve and quarter them. Put each quarter on its side, remove the core and cut each apple lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise, cut apples into fourths. You should have 12 small pieces and place them in the lemon water.

Drain the apples, and in a medium pot, add the apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. With a spoon, gently stir as it heats up. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, but be careful not to cook the apples too much so they turn into applesauce. Transfer the mixture to a container and cool down in the fridge.

LIQUID CHEESECAKE

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1 TBS arrowroot (they use cornstarch)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 300F. In a standard mixer, mix the cream cheese on low for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the sugar, and mix on low for another 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a pyrex (they say medium bowl but for small quantities, I use a pyrex), whisk together the milk and salt. Whisk in the milk and then the egg until the slurry is homogenous. On medium-low speed, add the slurry to the cream cheese mixture and mix for 3-4 minutes.

cake1*NOTE: At this point, they say to line a 6×6 lab with plastic wrap. I felt weird about plastic and the oven so I did some research. I learned that not all plastic wraps are created equal and what the Milk Bar uses is an industrial type plastic wrap which is not the same as store bought. Also at the time I did not have parchment paper which I would have preferred so I used foil. It came out fine and worked well with the cake.

Bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer on the edges and jiggly in the center. If is not set on the sides, bake for another 5-10 minutes, but start checking after the first 5 to see if there is a change. If it begins to brown, take it out immediately. Allow the cheesecake to cool and set completely before using.

PIE CRUMB

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 TBS butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 TBS water

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a standard mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the butter and water on low speed until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Spread mixture on a Silpat lined sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes. (I usually go in halfway through and spoon the crumbs around a bit for an even bake). The crumbs should be golden brown. Cool completely before using (or eating! YUM).

cake2PIE CRUMB FROSTING

  • 1/2 recipe pie crumb (above)
  • 1/2 milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1/4-2 cups confectionary sugar*

Combine the pie crumbs, milk and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. In a standard mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Move the speed to low, and add the blended mixture to the butter and then pick speed back up to medium-high for another 2 minutes. The frosting should be a light color.

*I needed more sugar then the 1/4 they suggested. You learn to play around with confectionary sugar when making frosting. Sometimes you need more.

CAKE ASSEMBLY

On a cardboard cake circle, invert the first cake layer and remove the parchment paper. Dunk a pastry brush in the apple cider soak and give the cake a good healthy “bath.” Use the back of a spoon and spread half of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer. Sprinkle a third of the pie crumbs evenly over the cheesecake and use the back of your hand to pack them in place. Then spread one-half of the apple pie filling. Try to spread it as evenly as possible.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the second cake layer and invert it on the cake. Repeat the process from above. This is where our paths differ from the Milk Bar. I used the first two thin cake layers on top of the second layer. I used some frosting to keep it together, but I did freeze the cake for about 12 hours, as instructed to set it. The day of my friend’s birthday, I pulled out the cake, and shaved the top two layers into a dome shape. I spread a thin layer of frosting over the whole thing. I rolled out yellow fondant and to the best of my abilities I covered the cake. I took a few attempts and I must say I am still a novice at putting fondant on a cake, but with the white fondant, I died some of it blue, black and red to make the minion come to life and it turned out nicely.

The only downfall to this cake, is that it weighed A TON! Carrying around the streets of Philly for dinner was not ideal, but she loved the cake and it tasted awesome because Milk Bar knows what it’s doing.


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Confetti Cookies

It has been a hectic summer. I have moved into a new place and am still adjusting to the new changes. It is an old building which in this case also means, old appliances. Don’t get me wrong, this place is super charming. I love it, but I realized I was spoiled with my previous oven. My new one is much tinier and much, much hotter than my old one.

I decided to test it out on my newest baking treat. At work, we are planning a surprise Bridal Shower for my boss and I decided to make cookies. Not just any cookies, but Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Confetti Cookies also known as “Funfetti Cookies.” I have had this book for quite some time. I have looked at all the recipes multiple times, drooling over the images, and I knew from the get-go this would be my first recipe out of this book.

The day before, I made the “Birthday Cake Crumb” which is a key ingredient in the cookies I planned on making the following night. Not sure what I was up against with my new baking environment, I just dove right in and prayed for the best. The Birthday Cake Crumb is made up of:

  • compare 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBS light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TBS rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBS clear vanilla extract

Heat oven to 300F. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until well incorporated. Add the wet ingredients and mix until the mixture creates small clusters. Spread crumbs on a parchment/silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking up the clusters occasionally. They should be still moist when pulling it out of the oven. Let the crumbs cool completely and keep in an airtight container at room temp for a week or in the fridge for a month.

When I placed the tray in the oven, I wasn’t thinking and put it on the bottom rack. Well, as you probably could have guessed, it burned a bit. I had some time left before I had to start getting ready for work, and I took another crack at it. This time, placed the tray on the top rack and checked the oven from time to time. The crumb looked much better. I placed it in a Mason jar and went about my day.

WARNING! The crumbs are super addicting, you need to walk away. Trust me, you will catch yourself standing there with a handful of this stuff if you are not careful!

cookiesConfetti Cookies

  • 16 TBS butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 TBS glucose
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp clear vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup milk powder
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/2 recipe of Birthday Cake Crumb

Combine the butter, sugar and glucose in a mixing bowl and cream on med-high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (The batter will be light and fluffy at this point)

Reduce mixing speed to low and add the flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sprinkles. Mix  just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the Birthday Cake Crumb and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.

When placing the cookies on the parchment paper, Tosi says to use an ice cream scoop and then pat the tops of the dough dome flat. I don’t have an ice cream scoop so I just used a spoon. IMPORTANT STEP: refrigerate for at least 1 hour. DO NO PUT THE COOKIES DIRECTLY IN THE OVEN AT ROOM TEMP! They will not come out the way you want them to!cookies1

I went back and forth on whether or not, I make the cookies today or just prep and bake the following day. Remember how I said my oven was tiny, my trays are about 15″ long and per the directions, I needed about 4 inches of space between the cookies, so I could only fit 6 on a tray. I had to make them tonight. The recipe says to bake at 350 for 18 minutes. My cookies were baking within 13 minutes. I kept an eye on them and when I saw the first signs of browning on the bottom, I pulled them. I let them sit on the tray for a couple more minutes, but let them finish cooling on racks.