For Veto's birthday, Saucy wanted to recreate a cake that she, Loopy and Trooper ordered up while visiting the Momofuku Milk Bar earlier in the month. It was petite and decadent... perfect for a small group to enjoy but also deceptively able to serve plenty of people. It is a six-inch cake, but the height and the layers make even the smallest slices into a very nice serving.
The problem with this cake - it is a lot of work. It requires much prep before actually baking the sheet cake and assembling it, and you also need some special equipment:
a 6" cake ring (like this one at Sur la Table) - thanks to JL and The Adorables at Girls Glitter 'n Giggles who were kind enough to track one down on their recent Disney vacation
a deep jelly roll pan or professional sheet cake pan
acetate strips to line the ring and ensure the cake keeps its form (Trooper actually found these for Saucy to try the cake)
special ingredients such as citric acid, glucose, kosher salt, clear artificial vanilla
Saucy isn't going to post the recipe here, it was incredibly labour intensive and it would be more labour to retype it in its entirety. You can find it on the Momofuku website or you can purchase the beautiful cookbook that includes photographs and step by step instructions. This is just a brief overview.
Days before making the cake, Saucy made a recipe of Birthday Cake Crumb (for the layer filling and the topping), as well as two recipes of the cream cheese frosting.
The frosting is absolutely delicious. It's very smooth and not too sweet. It has a lovely consistency for an application like this and chills beautifully. Following the advice of another blogger who attempted this cake (and there are many), Saucy made two recipes of the frosting because it was advised that one recipe was scant for this cake.
On birthday cake day, Saucy made the sheet cake in the jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. After thoroughly cooling it, she cut the first layer of cake, using the cake ring as a template (cut around the inside).
The stacking and assembly was quite quick, after measuring the acetate strips inside the ring and using tape to fasten them together. Each layer of cake gets brushed with a recipe of Cake Soak, this ensures a moist cake but also helps the entire structure deepen and sink into the mould during chilling - making it structurally sound and easier to cut.
After getting brushed with cake soak, each layer gets a generous dollop (in this case, three) of the frosting and a sprinkling of the Cake Crumb recipe:
For the middle layer, you might have to piece together bits of cake to make it work. It's not that difficult, just tamp them into place after you cut them to fit.
Keep building, soaking each cake layer and tamping it down lightly as you add layers of frosting and crumb. You will need to add a second strip of acetate as you build above the ring.
After the cake is constructed within the cake ring, keep it in the ring and place in the refrigerator overnight - but at least four to six hours before serving. Then it can quite easily be popped onto a serving platter and the ring lifted off, revealing something like this:
Before the cake warms up to room temperature, gently peel back the acetate strips to reveal your "naked cake".
The finished cake is a showstopper. Saucy and Loopy served it to Veto on the eve of his birthday with just one lone white candle in it and it was really smart-looking.
If you decide to attempt this cake, here are some tips from Saucy's kitchen to yours:
Locate all of the unusual ingredients and do your very best to find them. For instance, citric acid is called for in the frosting and that adds a very nice "bite" and cuts the sicky-sweet flavour of typical cream cheese frostings against the overpowering sweet flavour of the cake. For local peeps, Saucy found citric acid at Bulk Barn. She substituted glucose with a simple syrup recipe (close enough).
Make the frosting recipes early as well as the Cake Crumb. You can set them aside up to a day or two before actually making the cake, cutting your work on cake day drastically.
Use clear vanilla as instructed in this recipe. Artificial is totally fine. Chef Tosi who developed the recipe says it made her very nostalgic for the boxed-cakes she was served as a child and she tried to replicate that flavour.
Make two recipes of frosting as mentioned above - you will have extra, but it will come in handy and keeps well in the fridge for a while.
Add extra sprinkles between your layers, and also sprinkle them liberally before you bake the sheet cake. Sprinkles make the entire creation more festive!
As you add Cake Crumb between the layers use the smaller bits, reserving the larger chunkier bits for the topping. They're showstoppers and having the smaller pieces will make cutting easier.
Don't let the cake warm to room temperature all the way before slicing it. It slices very nicely if it's still just a little bit cool.
Save the scraps after cutting the circle layers from your baked sheet cake. There is a recipe on the website to make Birthday Cake Truffles and they are amazing!
Take plenty of photos to document your success... this cake is labour intensive as mentioned before and you really need to plan ahead but it is foolproof in its assembly, and you will be the hero of the party for it.
More Momofuku recipes coming soon... Saucy has tried the Chocolate Chip Marshmallow cookies and a few others. Thumbs-up, all the way around.
If you try this recipe, let Saucy know. She'd love to find out if these tips helped you. Good luck!