Yeah – so I guess THIS was not my longest post, ever.
This one is.
And it’s TOTALLY worth it.
Since I started making the Birthday Layer Cake from the incredible Milk Bar cookbook, I’ve been dying to try another one. I love the use of the cake ring, the different layers and textures of crumb and filling, and the so-modern look of the unfrosted sides.
Being a malt-fanatic I knew which would be next on my list – I just needed the right occasion to make it.
And when Mike invited a co-worker from Rome here for dinner, I knew the time had come.
I mean, what is more American than a decadent, multi-layered chocolate cake I ask?
And it was – by all accounts – a huge hit.
Like the birthday cake, there are many components (actually this one has even more) – but none of them are hard. And as the cake can be assembled and frozen for up to 2 weeks, you can go at your own pace. The recipe is written in the order in which I made each component, which will hopefully streamline the process a bit (I made the sauces, cake and crumb on one day, and the soak, marshmallows and assembly the next).
And – once again – I strongly encourage you to invest in a food scale. It will minimize the pans, bowl and clean-up and I promise you’ll never go back to the traditional method of measuring again!
I’ve received lots of comments and e-mails asking for more clear direction on how the acetate strips are used – I took some more pictures of the “making of” the birthday layer cake, and I’ve added some additional photos of the process right here.
Enough talking – let’s get to it!
from Momofuku Milk Bar
1 ounce bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (300 g.) sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Fudge Sauce
1 1/4 cups (155 g.) cake flour
1/2 cup (70 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Malt Fudge Sauce
2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (80 g.) malt-flavored Ovaltine
1 teaspoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup (50 g.) sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Malted Milk Crumb
3/4 cup (60 g.) milk powder, divided
1/4 cup (40 g.) flour
2 tablespoons (12 g.) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (25 g.) sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped, divided
3/4 cup (60 g.) malt-flavored Ovaltine
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons malt-flavored Ovaltine
2 3/4 cups (150 g.) mini marshmallows
Make the fudge sauce:
Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and salt in the bowl of your mixer. Over high heat, bring the corn syrup, sugar and heavy cream to a boil, stirring occasionally. Immediately pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed till ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium and whisk till sauce is glossy and smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze (the leftover sauce is amazing – warm or cold – over anything you can possibly think to put it on).
Make the malt fudge sauce:
Place the chopped chocolate, Ovaltine, molasses and salt in the bowl of your mixer. Over high heat, bring the corn syrup, sugar and heavy cream to a boil, stirring occasionally. Immediately pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed till ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium and whisk till sauce is glossy and smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze.
Clean and dry the mixer bowl.
Make the chocolate cake:
Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray a quarter sheet pan with a non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam). Line with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, combine butter and sugar. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
On low speed, add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the fudge sauce and mix on low speed till fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides.
Add cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Beat on low speed for about a minute, scrape down the sides and beat again for just another minute.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and spread evenly, using a small angled spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or till cake bounces back when lightly pressed and is no longer jiggly in the center.
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and use immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and store in fridge for up to 5 days.
Clean and dry the mixer bowl and whisk attachment.
Make the malted milk crumb:
Pre-heat oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Combine 1/2 cup (40 g.) of the milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Toss to mix. Add the melted butter and toss till the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
Spread clusters on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Crumble any clusters that are larger than 1/2″ in diameter and place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (20 g.) milk powder and toss till it is evenly distributed.
Melt 3 ounces of the white chocolate in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Pour over the crumbs and toss till the clusters are completely coated. Continue tossing every 5 minutes, until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.
Add the Ovaltine and toss till evenly coated. Melt the remaining 3 ounces white chocolate and pour over crumbs, tossing till clusters are completely coated. Continue tossing every 5 minutes, until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.
Make the Ovaltine soak:
Whisk the milk and Ovaltine in a small bowl until the Ovaltine is completely dissolved.
Make the charred marshmallows:
Pre-heat your broiler. Place the marshmallows in a single layer on an unlined baking sheet. Broil till tops are charred but bottoms are still white (you can also use a kitchen torch or wand lighter). Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, to firm up the marshmallows and make them easier to work with. Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Assemble the cake:
Place a sheet of parchment paper (or a Silpat) on your counter. Invert the cake over it and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake.
Using the cake ring, “stamp” two circles out of the cake. DO NOT DISCARD THE SCRAPS!
Clean the cake ring and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Line the inside with one of the acetate strips. Put all of the cake “scraps” in the ring and press into an even layer, using the back of your hand. Using a pastry brush, soak the cake with half of the Ovaltine soak.
Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the malt fudge sauce evenly over the cake (if you warm up the sauce it will be easier to spread).
Sprinkle half the malted milk crumbs and one-third of the charred marshmallows evenly over the malt fudge sauce. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the malt fudge sauce evenly over the crumbs and marshmallows.
Gently tuck the second acetate strip in between the cake ring and the top 1/4” of the first strip – you should have an acetate ring that is about 5” tall. Gently place one cake round (use the less pretty of the two) on top of the frosting. Repeat the soak/malt fudge sauce/crumb/marshmallow/malt fudge sauce steps from layer #1.
Place the remaining cake round on top of the sauce. Cover the top of the cake with the reserved fudge sauce. Garnish with remaining charred marshmallows.
Place the cake – still on the sheet pan – in the freezer and freeze for at least 12 hours (or up to 2 weeks).
At least 3 hours before serving, take the cake out of the freezer, and – using your fingers and thumbs – pop the cake out of the ring. Gently peel off the acetate and place in the fridge. If not serving that day, wrap well in plastic and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver
More Milk Bar love here: