To me, the Momofuku Birthday Cake is not about the sprinkles. It’s about the crumbs. Sweet, crunchy crumbs with lots of sprinkles. Crumbs that are not only great scattered on TOP of cakes, they are also delicious BETWEEN cake layers. So looking to jazz up a simple cake? Just add some of these delicious crumbs!
Short post with lots of photos today. Short, easy recipe, too. I don’t have a lot of time to write, see. Have you read my last Work & Income Report? I talked (can we just call it ‘talked’?) about my editorial calendar in it. I’ve been trying to use an editorial calendar to get myself to a point where I finish blog posts 2 or 3 weeks in advance, so I have time to experiment a bit more with recipes (more room for error) and have room for fun, spur of the moment things. But I’m not quite caught up with my writing yet.
I’m actually writing this right before posting. And it doesn’t look like I’m going to catch up on my writing any time soon, because my poor little Baby Boy woke up with pseudo croup Saturday night and he’s had a fever for the past few days. Poor thing. So I’ve spent the last couple of days holding him, rocking him, nursing him, trying to get him to drink a little water… Whatever I could do to make him feel a bit better.
Luckily, he’s feeling a LOT better today, which is SUCH a relief! The Rocking Rebel and I have been crazy worried. Especially because pseudo croup comes with this really disturbing barking cough and rasping breath. And then there was the fever, which is NEVER fun. So glad he’s feeling better and playing again. He’s still coughing a lot, but as it’s not serious enough to stop him from climbing onto the window sills I’m not too worried.
But anyway, on with the Momofuku crumb.
As trusty readers know, I made the Momofuku Birthday Cake for my 29th birthday last February, and because people seem a bit daunted by the recipe (AND because I adapted the recipe to make a bigger cake, AND because I wanted to add the different recipes to my collection of Cake Building Blocks) I thought I’d do a post on each of the cake’s four elements: the funfetti cake layers, the funfetti crumbs, and the cream cheese frosting.
Oh, and I already did a post about the Vanilla Milk Soak, too. Great recipe!
Like the other recipes, this recipe makes enough for a 18-cm/7-inch cake, whereas the original recipe makes a 15-cm/6-inch cake. I like my cakes big!These delicious crumbs are at the center of the Birthday Cake’s awesomeness. Without the crumbs, it’s just a funfetti cake with cream cheese frosting. Yummy, but a bit boring, too. The crumbs add flavor, crunch, and make the cake a little more interesting. Wait, a LOT more interesting!
The crumbs are not just sprinkled on TOP of the cake (piled on top, I should say) they also go INTO the cake. They are hidden in the frosting between the cake layers, and the crunch of the crumbs paired with the silky frosting is just delicious!
The crumbs are super easy to make. I personally think all of the elements of the Momofuku Birthday Cake are easy to make (yes, I do. I’ve said it. I didn’t have any problems) but the crumbs are SUPER easy.
(Though not as easy as the soak or the frosting, but there’s no baking involved there, just mixing stuff up.)
Anyway, to make the crumbs you need granulated sugar, light brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, sprinkles, grapeseed oil, and fake vanilla extract. I bought grapeseed oil and clear vanilla extract (which is the fake stuff) especially for the Momofuku cake. They were quite expensive, but I was going for the ‘real’ Momofuku Birthday Cake experience.
Oh haha, wait. The original Momofuku recipe calls for cake flour, but by the time I was ready to make the crumbs I had already used all of my cake flour in the cake layers, so I used all-purpose flour for the crumbs. Worked fine! Not so real Momofuku experience after all, I guess…
Another thing you might like to know, especially if you’re not from the U.S., is that there’s a lot of salt in these crumbs. I’ve been told that most Americans like the contrast of sweet and salty in their food, but to my Dutch palate, there was just a little too much of it. So while these crumbs are REALLY good as they are, salt and all, you could definitely cut back on the salt a bit.
Anyway, throw all of the ingredients together in a bowl and work the mixture with your hands until you can press it together into clumps. Bake. Done. Delicious Momofuku Birthday cake crumbs.
The crumbs are baked at quite a low temperature, and they don’t have to brown much. I baked them for 15 minutes, even though the original recipe says to bake them for 10-12 minutes, but after those 12 minutes they still looked a bit pale to me so I gave them another 3 minutes in the oven. As a result, mine were probably a bit crunchier than they were supposed to.
I love, love, love those crumbs! I’ve been thinking about leaving the sprinkles out for a more simple version, or maybe tint the batter to make colorful crumbs for a colorful cake. Or maybe add cocoa powder for chocolate crumbs? Sounds good to me!
But that’s it as far as crumbs go. I’ve you’re interested, here you can find the rest of the Momofuku posts:
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- 140g (or ½ cup + 3 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon)granulated sugar
- 35g (or 2 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoon, packed) light brown sugar
- 125g (or 1 cup) all-purpose flour*
- 2.8g (or ½ teaspoon + 1 pinch) baking powder
- 2.8g (or ½ teaspoon – 1 pinch) table salt
- 28g (or 2 tablespoons + 2½ teaspoons) rainbow sprinkles
- 56g (or ⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon) grapeseed oil
- 16g (or 1 tablespoon) clear vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F (standard oven setting) and line a cookie sheet with baking parchment. Set aside.
- Combine granulated sugar, light brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in a medium bowl. Add oil and vanilla, and using your hands, mix until no dry spots remain and large clumps form when mixture is pressed together. Break the dough up into clusters (some small, some large) and spread onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the middle of the oven, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the crumble is light golden brown and crunchy, 10–12 minutes (it will firm up as it cools).
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Crumbs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for five days.
I’ve made this, and as an American, I can agree that it is a bit salty. But, I also don’t like my food very salty in general. The other thing I noticed is I make sure to do volume instead of weight for the Milk Bar recipes when it is for small amounts of ingredients, like salt or baking soda. The weight on my scale doesn’t do the small amounts as accurately and then I use too much.
The Tough Cookie says
Hi Aly, glad to know I’m not the only one who was a bit surprised at how salty the crumbs are! Next time I’m making a Momofuku recipe, I think I’m going to cut back on the salt a bit 😉
Measuring small amounts by volume rather than weight is a great idea when you don’t have a very accurate kitchen scale. To measure those small amounts by weight, you really do need a scale that has at least 0.5g precision.