I was a big fan of the East Village Momofuku Milk Bar. The infamous crack pie, the cereal milk, the chocolate malt cake and my favorite, the compost cookie. And then there was the birthday cake that I always yearned to try, but sadly that time never came around. I was a customer long after the no-cake-by-slice rule was imposed by Chang. It was painful to watch it, tall, beautiful and fun; plus I’m a devotee for rainbow sprinkles.
My birthday approached and as I searched for the treat-to-myself recipe, the light bulb went on and I thought of Momofuku’s birthday cake. I searched for Tosi’s recipe online but they all seemed quite tedious. They called for grapeseed oil, citric acid and clear vanilla extract, things that can be quite trivial to find in Costa Rica.
The recipe included four different steps: the cake, the soak, the frosting and the cake crumb. Too many steps and ingredients I didn’t have the time to look for. And so I decided to create my own funfetti birthday cake. Much simpler and still damn beautiful. Can’t tell if it was much better…but I still doubt it was.
It went simple. I adapted a birthday vanilla cake recipe, incorporated rainbow sprinkles, went for 3 layers (instead of 5), discarded the soak and swapped some ingredients for the crumb.
1 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
3 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of almond extract
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles
1 cup of dulce de leche
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside. Shift the flour, eggs, salt and baking powder. In an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar at medium speed for 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and the almond extract. Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Add the milk alternating with the dry ingredients. Add the ¼ cup of rainbow sprinkles until just combined. Pour the cake mix in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.
Leftover cake crumbs
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
¼ cup sliced almonds
Prepare baking sheet with Silpat and lower oven temperature to 300°F. After cutting the cake there will be some leftover cake. Crumble and toss it in the baking sheet along with the sugars, the salt, the oil, and the almonds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly golden and crunchy.
Cut the cake using a round mold that fits three times in the baking sheet. This way you will end with a three-layer cake. Place the first layer on a piece of cardboard. Spread an even layer of dulce de leche on the cake. Top with the second cake round and repeat the dulce de leche layer. Nestle the last layer of cake round and spread the remaining dulce de leche. Top with the cake crumbs.
Note. Sometime I heat the dulce de leche in the microwave for 10 seconds intervals. Once it is slightly melted it is easier to spread on the cake.