Last week I had the honor of attending a cake class at Momofuku Milk Bar! I’ve been wanting to go to this bakery for a while, and when I found out it was offering a few classes corresponding to its recipe book, I jumped at the chance! At the class, Christina Tosi, the brains behind Milk Bar, would lead us in assembling their popular Birthday Cake and in making cake truffles.
First I bought the book, which happened to come a half hour after I left for the class. I ended up not needing it, though, so that was fine. My dad, my grandma, and I drove into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the class was being held, and I hopped out and into the small storefront. The guy working the counter told me to go around through the garage and into the warehouse behind. It was a large, metallic room with boxes of supplies in the corners. After a few minutes of waiting, the class was guided by Christina Tosi herself (my idol!) and the other bakers to a set off area, with tables in a U-shape facing a central bench. There were two people to a table, and each person was equipped with a cake ring, a flat sheet of cake, frosting, cake crumbs, acetate strips, a soak, a spoon, an apron, and a bandana. The bandana was the coolest thing, of course. Mine is hanging proudly in my room.
Tosi, as I noticed she was called, led the class through the cake assembling process. All the baking had been done already, she explained, to save time. Milk Bar has a special technique to its cake building. Two circles are cut from the rectangular cake ring, and the third layer is pieced together from the scraps.
This less pretty layer is placed at the bottom of the cake ring…
…surrounded by acetate, soaked with a mixture of milk and vanilla, and topped with a healthy amount of frosting.
On top of the frosting went cake crumbs, which are crunchy bites of Funfetti-flavored goodness. We all snacked on the cake crumbs as we stacked.
And then more frosting, and then two more layers of this.
The cakes, which were surprisingly small! at only six inches across, were then whisked away into the freezer. Using the scraps of cake from when we cut out the circles, Tosi demonstrated the art of cake truffles, similar to cake pops. The scraps are worked into small bits and then moistened with the soak used on the cake, then rolled into balls, and coated in chocolate and ground-up crumb. I think these were the most heavenly bites of cake I have ever had. Soo much better than any cake pop.
I couldn’t take pictures of the actual process because I was helping to make them!
To close, we got our cakes back and covered them in one more layer of crumb, then transferred the cuties into little boxes to take home.
You’ll also notice a couple of cake truffles that I nabbed.
Overall, the class was fantastic. I had never really understood the whole process of putting together the Milk Bar cake that I had ogled over for so long, and now I think I can replicate it at home! With the help of my beautiful recipe book, of course. Tosi was so nice and informative, and I personally think she’s amazing. She helped to develop these recipes and unheard of flavor combinations and cake layering process and start a chain of successful bakeries. It’s my dream to be like her.
She’s like the ultimate.
At home, I got to actually try the cake. Take the word “try” loosely. I ate almost three quarters of it by myself. Yeah…
It was a bit difficult to cut at first. The cake crumbs on top and in the middle made me timid, but with a serrated knife I cut all the way through it. It was so tall that I found it difficult to relocate to a plate. But who cares what it looked look, really. I ate the cake all up with a spoon and licked the plate. Yum.
The cake and frosting were both designed to taste like storebought Funfetti cake and vanilla frosting, and they certainly complete this goal and go beyond it. The cake is soft and fluffy, and the frosting is addictive. The cake crumbs really serve their purpose of changing up the texture and are actually pretty cool on their own.
I really would like another Milk Bar cake. I think I’ll make one!
The only odd thing about Milk Bar cakes is that because Tosi is a genius, she experimented with a lot of different ingredients to create the exact flavors and textures of the desserts. So, some of the ingredients and supplies are a little out there. Everything can be easily found on Amazon, though. I asked Tosi how she came up with her recipes, and she said she just kept experimenting with different ingredients and saw how they came out. She writes more about this in the cookbook.
If you live in NY or visit us, I would highly recommend taking one of the Bake the Book series classes offers based off their books. Find more info here.