Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake & Banana Cake Recipe

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake & Banana Cake Recipe

I know. It’s intense. I posted on Lamb 5 Ways on Follow Me Foodie’s Sunday Night Dinner Series yesterday and I couldn’t leave you hanging with only photos of these cakes. Both these cakes are from the Momofuku Milk Bar recipe book, but the recipe was increased by 6. The two cakes took 3 days to make and I really give credit to my friend Tanis for putting in the effort and having the patience to do it.

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake Recipe

This is the definition of reinventing the classic American Birthday Cake! The cake is supposed to replicate the flavour of a $1.99 boxed cake. It wasn’t a fluffy moist Betty Crocker cake, but more like a pound cake and similar in flavours to the slabs of mass produced cake from Superstore. You know the kind with the custard? It’s meant to taste like that, but the crumb layer makes the difference. Also in this case the frosting was cream cheese, but I actually would have added a few layers of custard in between for more contrast, texture and moisture. Although it was very good, I’m not sure if it was satisfying enough after I consider the cost, time and labour that went into making it.

The crumb topping was amazing and I would make that and eat it as is. The top tasted like candied Mr. Christie Rainbow Chips Ahoy! cookies, but even better! They were really crunchy, sweet, and a bit salty and that was my favourite part. The cake is intentionally a bit dry, so I actually enjoyed mine with vanilla ice cream.

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake Recipe

This recipe is courtesy of “Momofuku Milk Bar” by Christina Tosi/Random House, 2011 and can be found on Oprah.

Makes one 6-inch birthday cake

Birthday cake crumbs

  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 25 grams light brown sugar
  • 90 grams cake and pastry flour
  • 2 grams baking powder
  • 2 grams salt
  • 20 grams rainbow sprinkles
  • 40 grams grapeseed oil
  • 12 grams vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or a piece of parchment.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles and mix them on low speed until they are evenly mixed.
  3. Add the oil and the vanilla and continue beating the mixture until the ingredients clump and form small clusters.
  4. Carefully spread the delicate clusters in a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake them for about 20 minutes. They dry and harden as the cool into crispy crumbs. Let them cool completely before using them. By the time you’ve made the cake and frosting, they will be ready to be used anyways.

Birthday cake

  • Pam or vegetable oil for preparing the pan
  • 245 grams cake and pastry flour
  • 6 grams baking powder
  • 3 grams salt
  • 50 grams rainbow sprinkles
  • 55 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 60 grams vegetable shortening
  • 250 grams granulated sugar
  • 50 grams light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 110 grams buttermilk (made from skim milk and white vinegar)
  • 65 grams grapeseed oil
  • 8 grams vanilla extract
  • 25 grams rainbow sprinkles
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (use an oven thermometer to verify the temperature). Prepare a rimmed quarter sheet pan (mine is a 10-x15-inch pan with a 1-inch rim) by spraying it all over with Pam and then covering the base with a sheet of parchment. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 50 grams of sprinkles in a small bowl. Set the dry ingredients aside for later.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, shortening, and the sugars on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the eggs (all at once) and then beat again on medium-high for another 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
  5. In a 1-cup measurer, weigh out the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the wet ingredients in a steady stream. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for another 4 to 6 minutes. The mixture will double in size almost, and will appear light and fluffy. There will be no trace of oil left.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, and mix for another minute or so until the ingredients are all combined.
  7. Pour out the batter into the prepared sheet pan, spreading it out into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 25 grams of rainbow sprinkles.
  8. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the cake bounces back slightly when gently pressed in the corner. The center of the cake should no longer jiggle when the pan is shook. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Birthday cake soak

  • 55 grams milk (I used whole milk—3.25% fat)
  • 4 grams vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small cup or bowl. Set aside for later.

Birthday cake frosting

  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 2 grams salt
  • Pinch baking powder
  • Pinch citric acid
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 50 grams vegetable shortening
  • 55 grams cream cheese
  • 25 grams glucose
  • 18 grams clear corn syrup
  • 12 grams vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid in a medium bowl. Set aside for later.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening, and the cream cheese for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the bowl periodically.
  3. Add the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla, and beat the mixture on medium-high again, for 2 to 3 minutes until it is silky smooth and a little glossy. Scrape down the bowl a few times.
  4. Now add the whisked dry ingredients and incorporate them on low speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium–high and beat the frosting until it is creamy and fluffy, just like the kind that comes in a can.
  5. Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small cup or bowl. Set aside for later.
  6. Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small cup or bowl. Set aside for later.

Birthday cake assembly

  • 1 batch birthday cake
  • 1 batch birthday cake soak
  • 1 batch birthday cake frosting
  • 1 batch birthday cake crumbs
  • 4 8-x3-inch strips of acetate
  • 1 6-inch cake ring that is 3 inches high (or a springform ring)
  • 1 8-inch square of parchment
  1. Cut the sheet cake into two 6-inch circles plus two half-circles using your cake ring as a template. Use a spatula to gently loosen and lift (carefully!) the circles and set them aside.
  2. Place the cake ring on a baking sheet lined with the 8-inch square of parchment. Line the inner rim of the ring with two pieces of acetate so that they overlap a little.
  3. Fill the bottom of the ring with the two half circles of cake. Press them slightly so that they are even. If there are any holes, fill them with the rest of the cake scraps.
  4. Brush half the birthday cake soak over the base of cake.
  5. Spread about 100 mL (one-fifth) of the birthday cake frosting over the base layer. Then sprinkle with one-third of the birthday cake crumbs, pressing them gently into the frosting. Top with another 100 mL (another fifth) of the birthday cake frosting, carefully spreading it so that it is even, but without disturbing the crumbs.
  6. Top with a full circle of cake, brush the rest of the cake soak over this layer, top with more frosting, cake crumbs, and another layer of frosting.
  7. Squeeze in the other two strips of acetate between the inner rim of the ring and the first acetate strips (you are essentially making your cake ring taller at this point). Top with the last circle of cake. and the remaining frosting, spread evenly. Top with the remaining cake crumbs.
  8. Freeze the cake as is for at least 12 hours to set everything and making the unmolding process much easier.
  9. Three hours before serving, retrieve the pan from the freezer, and gently push the cake through the ring. Place it on a cake stand or cake plate. Now gently pull off the acetate ribbons.
  10. Let the cake defrost in the fridge before serving. Cut neatly with a large chef’s knife.

Momofuku Milk Bar Banana Cake Recipe

Holy @#$%! Seriously. This is definitely one of the top 5 cakes I’ve ever had in my life. And if you know me or this blog, you know I’ve had a lot of cake! It’s actually Oprah’s favourite cake and that multi-billionaire woman has good tastes and knows what she’s talking about. Honestly I would spend 3 days to make this cake alone just to relive the experience. I loved it!

This is not just a “banana cake” or banana cream pie or anything to that degree. This was almost 3 cakes in one and there are so many layers that it requires patience and time. It’s incredibly moist and it almost tastes half baked and half cooked, but the flavour isn’t raw. The real banana flavour is intense and the hazelnut crunch and chocolate, praline topping and banana cream is a combination that will make your toes curl. I can barely describe it without having them curl as I write about it. This is definitely a must try cake. Thinking about it makes me want to cry.

Momofuku Milk Bar Banana Cake Recipe

This recipe is courtesy of “Momofuku Milk Bar” by Christina Tosi/Random House, 2011 and can be found on Oprah.

Servings: Serves 12–16
Banana cream
  • 3/4 pound very ripe bananas , cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream , cold
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter , cut into pieces

Hazelnut brittle

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Hazelnut crunch

  • 1/2 recipe hazelnut brittle
  • 1 cup hazelnut paste
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups crisp rice cereal

Banana cake

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 pound very ripe bananas , mashed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Hazelnut frosting

  • 1/2 cup hazelnut praline paste
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate hazelnut ganache

  • 1/2 cup hazelnut praline paste
  • 4 ounces Gianduja chocolate , coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. good-quality hot fudge sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream , cold
  • 1/3 cup whole milk


Note: Gianduja (a hazelnut-flavored chocolate) and hazelnut praline paste are sold at The first 9 steps can be done in advance.

To make banana cream: Combine bananas, 1/2 cup milk, and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over remaining 1/4 cup milk.

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in banana mixture, egg yolks, and 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth and well blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. Reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in butter and reserved gelatin mixture and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, to dissolve gelatin. Pour mixture into a bowl and set in a larger bowl of ice water; stir occasionally until cool.

Whip remaining 3/4 cup cream just until stiff. Fold into banana mixture. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

To make hazelnut brittle: Preheat oven to 350°. Spread hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet; bake 12 to 15 minutes until toasted. Remove from oven and immediately rub nuts with a clean dish towel to remove as much of skins as possible; let cool. Spray another baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat, swirling pot occasionally, until sugar melts and is amber in color. Stir in hazelnuts to coat with caramel, and pour onto prepared baking sheet. Spread nuts in a single layer with fork; let cool.

To make hazelnut crunch: In a food processor, grind half of hazelnut brittle to a powder.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat powder, hazelnut paste, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until blended. Add rice cereal and beat until blended.

To make cake layers: Adjust 2 oven racks to divide oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease three 10″ x 2″ round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment. Grease paper and dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy. Gradually pour in sugar; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk, and oil; blend until combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Divide batter between prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around sides of pans and turn cakes onto racks. Remove parchment paper; let cool.

To make hazelnut frosting: In a small bowl, beat hazelnut paste, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until firm enough to spread, about 15 minutes.

To make chocolate hazelnut ganache: In a medium bowl, combine hazelnut paste, chocolate, fudge sauce, and salt. Microwave on medium for 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds. Remove and stir until chocolate is melted. Gradually whisk in cream until blended. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Right before assembling, set bowl with ganache in a larger bowl of ice water and beat with a handheld mixer until ganache is fluffy and thick enough to spread.

To assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate; brush top with whole milk. Spread with half the ganache. Sprinkle evenly with half the hazelnut crunch. Spoon half the banana cream over top and spread evenly. Repeat layering once, then top with last cake layer (brush top with milk), and spread the top with hazelnut frosting. Refrigerate cake at least 1 hour, covered loosely with plastic wrap. To serve, break remaining hazelnut brittle into small pieces and arrange on top of cake.

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**If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the recipes, tweet me @followmefoodie #FMFdinners or leave a comment here.

My posts for Momofuku Milk Bar, Momofuku Má Pêche and Momofuku Noodle Bar.


  • Jay says:

    Becareful with some of the Momofuku Milk Bar recipes for fact I’ve tested some of them but they were WAYYYY OFF of the chart and inconsistent compare to Original Momofuku cookbook which has better accurate recipes (some I find it’s off) also I find some of the recipes are sort of hiding in the secret like Chicken wings I doubt they do the steam smoke deep fry rather I’m guessing they are using Immersion circulator to cook those wings Which I’ve tried and worked way better than the cookbook! 🙂 But don’t get me wrong I love Momofuku well I mean most of the chef do especially David Chang (genious and badboy attitude who leads this current culinary world in N.Y.)

  • Degan says:

    holy smokes! that’s huge! you must have been feeding a million people. but I have to say, it’s one of the best looking cakes I’ve ever seen.

  • Mijune says:

    @Jay – are you in New York already!??! Yes the Birthday Cake recipe turned out slightly drier, but I’m not sure if it was intended to be and I think that it was since it sits in so many stages before you eat it. Thanks for the heads up though! So far these recipes worked out according to plan since Tanis followed step by step! Let me know what other delicious things you see happening in New York! I’d love to hear your updates!

    @Degan – lol it was amazing!!! The funny thing is that it was only for I think 40 people lol… we barely made a dent.

  • Properfare says:

    Hi Mijune great post! So glad you loved the cake and people are going to give it a try. I thought I would weigh in on this as it seems there are some questions and since I did them I can help out ;). So the cakes themselves if followed from the cookbook are REALLY small but they are three layers so they are tall. Since we were having 40 people I knew a 6 inch round cake was not going to cut it. So I doubled the recipe and then did it 3 times. I did this because I know that in baking if you just quadruple or more a recipe it often needs tweaks. This way I didn’t really have to worry and when I did this it turned out perfect. I used a 16X24 cake pan to bake the cake. For the banana cake the hazelnut paste was hard to find and I had to go to Gourmet Warehouse to find it and I felt it was really expensive at $14/can and I needed 4 to do the size I did. I also made some from scratch from a recipe I found online with hazelnuts and egg whites that I might do exclusively next time to save time traveling and money. The banana flavoring I got from Well Seasoned it was called banana cream and I needed 4. Also I didn’t have feulletine and never found it anywhere so I used rice krispies. The cake was not hard to do but just really time consuming cause of the size I did. Its is soooo worth it though. I’m still getting calls from people saying they loved it so much. One other thing to mention is that the cake freezes really well. We froze the leftovers from the party and defrosted it again the following weekend for another party and it was just as good as the first time. The leftovers from THAT party were frozen and eaten again the next week!! lol the cake that goes on forever. Oh and one more thing the acetate (the plastic used to help keep the cake from falling apart) I found at Staples.
    Can’t wait to see you Sunday xox

  • Linda says:

    holy guacamole! i hope they have a version of this at milk bar! nomnomnom 🙂 now if i can only find a decent recipe for chinese birthday cake lol

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – lol Chinese birthday cake is just sponge cake, fruit and whipped cream!

  • Linda says:

    but it’s special super moist sponge cake 😉

  • Mona says:

    Hi Mijune and Tanis,
    I thinking about making the birthday cake for my Dad’s birthday. Going through the list of ingredients I’m wondering where you would get citric acid and glucose in Vancouver., or did you use substitutes? By the way awesome job on the cakes , that’s some serious baking right there. And Mijune , we totally loveeeee ur blog …. i’ve checked out quite a few restaurants kudos to ur reviews! my friend Amelia introduced your blog to me ! 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Mona!! That is so sweet!! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

    For the citric acid and glucose you can call Gourmet Warehouse and see if they have it. They should, but call just in case so you don’t go down for nothing. It’s an ambitious cake, but well worth it! And it freezes well!

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