CopyCat Milk Bar Birthday Cake
Funfetti cake stacked sky-high, filled with cream cheese frosting and topped with crunchy Funfetti crumbles. This is the ultimate birthday treat you will crave all year-long.
Today’s my birthday. Another year older and a little more fluffy. The fluff I can fix, the age…I will embrace. It’s just a number…that’s what people tell me anyway. So, I try not to think about the “number” and focus on how brilliant I’m becoming. Right, older and wiser? So, I’m nearing Einstein territory if you add up the years.
The fact of the matter is, I still feel young. I forgot to grow up. I still giggle at farts and make stupid, immature jokes. I just know now when not to be inappropriate and have a better filter. I still feel like the same “girl” that used to dress like 80’s Madonna and thought the most important thing in the world was boys. (I don’t feel that way anymore, FWIW.) I just know more stuff. The things that everyone used to tell me, “I wish I knew then what I know now” and I would share the most exaggerated eye roll ever. The adults in my life loved it. I know they did.
Now, I get it. I understand how they felt because I try daily to share my wisdom and brilliant life lessons with my 19 year old daughter. She, too, has perfected the eye roll. But really…it’s wasted energy because we all have to make our own mistakes in life, it builds character. It creates the human being that you become later in life. All the life challenges and missteps I took during my 42 years (yep, there it is) has made me into the most secure, happy, confident person I am today. It’s made me willing to take on more opportunities and take more risks than I ever thought I could. And because of that, my experiences are so much more fulfilling and honest…..and tremendously rewarding.
For my 40th birthday, I ordered the Birthday Cake from Milk Bar in New York City. I was in a New York state of mind, I’ve always been in love with the city and a trip to the Big Apple was part of my birthday celebration. I trekked down 5th avenue in sub-zero temps, picked up my cake and hauled it back to the hotel where I proceeded to take the obligatory Instagram photo and immediately dove in with a fork. Heaven. I wanted to buy another and have it shipped to my home when we returned but the tally, including shipping, would have been a whopping $80. For a cake. A naked cake. One that I could easily make at home. One that I could make with a little bit of cheating, if you will. One that I would utilize boxed Funfetti cake mix.
And so, two years later I finally made the Milk Bar Birthday Cake with a little help from my friends at Pillsbury. Why reinvent the wheel when you’re going to load up the thing with a cake soak, whipped cream cheese frosting and ridiculously amazing cake crumbles. This cake is a little labor intensive because there are four components but it is really easy to make…so easy I made two in a week. One for Landon’s birthday party and then one for myself….because you always need a 10 pound, towering cake to eat all by yourself on your birthday when your pants are already strangling your waist.
This cake is amazing….I kid you not. If you can hold off on eating everything before assembling it will be the most epic Birthday Cake ever. Those cake crumbles are tough though, I was shoveling them in by the fistful.
Get the Recipe: CopyCat Milk Bar Birthday Cake
- 2-15.25 ounce boxes Funfetti Cake Mix, Prepare according to package instructions and bake in a half sheet pan
- For the birthday cake soak:
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- For the birthday cake frosting:
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, 24 tablespoons
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- For the birthday cake crumb:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons rainbow spinkles
- 1/2 cup grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- For the cake soak:
- Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside
- For the frosting:
- Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, stream in the corn syrup and vanilla. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and baking powder and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a smooth frosting. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- For the cake crumbles:
- Preheat the oven to 300°.
- Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.
- Slowly add the oil and vanilla and mix again to combine. Mix until small clusters begin to form.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 300°.
- Allow the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will last for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
- To assemble the cake:
- Lay a piece of parchment on the counter. Turn the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use an 8 inch cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These will be your top 2 cake layers. the remaining cake scraps will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
- layer 1, the bottom
- Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a silpat. Use 1 strip of parchment (4 inches wide x 24 inches long) to line the inside of the cake ring.
- Place the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to press the scraps together into a flat even layer.
- Dip a pastry brush in the cake soak and brush the soak over the cake scraps.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.
- Sprinkle one-third of the birthday crumbs evenly over the frosting. Use the back of your hand to press them in place.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the birthday cake frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
- layer 2, the middle
- With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of parchment (same size) between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is uglier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
- layer 3, the top
- Place the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the frosting with the remaining birthday crumbs.
- Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the parchment, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Allow it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).