It was my birthday and I wanted to bring cupcakes to work for my co-workers – reminiscent of those grade school days when your mom would bake cupcakes for the whole class on your birthday. There’s a birthday layer cake recipe in the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook that I’ve been wanting to make (*surprise!) and I thought this would be a good opportunity. What makes this a birthday recipe is the rainbow sprinkles and the vanilla theme (btw, the recipe calls for clear vanilla extract to keep the cake white, but you can use regular extract if you don’t mind the colour). The cake recipe comprises 4 mini recipes: the cake, the cake soak, the frosting, and the cake crumb. I took these components, adapted them a bit, and made cupcakes instead of a cake.
Check out the verdict at the end of the post!
Funfetti Birthday Cupcakes
Makes about 20 cupcakes
Birthday Cake Crumb (Make this first, or even a few days before putting the cake together)
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
¼ + 2 Tablespoon cake flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
3 Tablespoon oil
½ Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Mix sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles in a bowl.
3. Add oil and vanilla and mix until there are small clusters.
4. Spread the clusters on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool before using.
¼ + 1/3 cup salted butter at room temperature (original recipe calls for 1/3 cup shortening instead)
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (regular extract is fine, but will darken the colour of the cupcakes)
2 cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Beat butter and sugars in a bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer until fluffy (2-3 minutes).
3. Add eggs and mix for 2-3 minutes.
4. With the mixer on low, stream buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase sped to medium-high for 5 minutes. The mixture should be doubled in volume and homogenous (no streaks of fat).
5. On low speed, add cake flour, baking powder, and ¼ cup of sprinkles until it comes together (60 seconds max).
6. Scoop into cupcake pans, and sprinkle the remaining sprinkles on each cupcake. Bake in oven and check for doneness at 15 minutes with a toothpick. If it doesn’t come out clean, bake for an extra minute or two. Cool completely before frosting.
½ cup butter (original recipe calls for ¼ cup of shortening and ¼ cup butter)
2 oz/55 g cream cheese
1 Tablespoon glucose (or 2 teaspoons corn syrup)
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1 ½ cups icing sugar
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of citric acid (I used a squeeze of lemon juice instead)
1. Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
2. With the mixer on low, stream glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until silky.
3. Mix in icing sugar, baking powder, and citric acid, and beat until smooth.
Mix ¼ cup milk and 1 teaspoon of clear vanilla extract in a small bowl.
1. With a pastry brush, apply the Vanilla Soak to the cupcakes.
2. Pipe frosting (I used Ateco tip 847), and sprinkle with Birthday Cake Crumb.
3. Store in the refrigerator and leave out for 30 minutes before serving.
Verdict: The Milk Bar recipe does it again! My colleagues were super happy to receive cupcakes and I was happy to celebrate my birthday by sharing these sweet and very vanilla-y mouthfuls of deliciousness! And, I found my FAVORITE frosting. This frosting is sooooo good! I NEVER eat frosting out of the bowl, but I was spooning this stuff into my mouth. I wouldn’t call this a cream cheese frosting, because there is very little cream cheese, but it’s just enough to give the frosting an interesting flavor element. I’ll definitely be using this recipe again.
Btw, best birthday ever!!!