vegan momofuku milk bar funfetti cake

vegan funfetti 2

well that name’s a mouthful.

anyways, some backstory. the other day, a friend sent me a picture of christina tosi’s visually arresting funfetti cake. she’s one of the most creative bakers out there – it’s a treat to read through her recipes and marvel at the playful presentation of her desserts.

I actually took on the milk bar funfetti cake years ago. thankfully no pictures survive. my sister had requested it, and even though at that point the only cake products I’d made were muffins and brownies, I took on tosi’s recipe. it began to feel like the inception of cake recipe – layers upon layers of preparation of different components, then the assembly of said components into one round 6-inch cake.

first of all, man, does tosi have a sweet tooth. anyone who knows me (even if they’ve known me for only one day) can attest that I’m an unabashed sweets fiend, but even I have a limit to how much saccharine sweetness I can handle. the icing was fine, but the cake itself was sweet to the point that we all had two bites and just couldn’t take any more. I had also tried to assemble the cake without the acetate, and even though my cake layers were quite squat, the cake still managed to sag to one side. if I remember correctly, I also dumped too much liquid into the icing, so by the end of the meal, the icing had started to squelch out into a sad moat around the cake. so that was the last time in a looooong time that I tried to make a layer cake.

then earlier this year that I attempted a tosi-inspired cake again. and it actually won an office competition! (and made some enemies – success!) when my friend sent me that funfetti picture, I figured it was time to take on a real tosi recipe.

except then I didn’t. I veganified it so all my friends could enjoy it, and would you believe me if I said you really can’t tell it’s vegan? it’s just a really awesome, intensely vanilla cake filled with sugary pops of color. tosi recommends clear vanilla extract, which results in a whiter cake and a true boxed mix flavor, but I just love the savory undertones of vanilla beans. also, be careful with the sprinkles, I recently learned that some sprinkles use confectioner’s glaze, which is apparently the excrement of some kind of beetle?! (sorry if I just ruined your appetite…but hey, at least this cake is excrement-free!)

p.s. if you’re wondering, I’ve heard mccormick makes some vegan sprinkles, but I had no luck at my supermarket. I found my generic brand confectioner’s glaze-free sprinkles at a value store.

vegan funfetti
makes one 6-inch, 3-layer cake

360g almond milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
210g sugar
68g vegetable oil
18g vanilla paste
250g all-purpose flour
27g cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
53g + 1 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
vanilla frosting
153g vegan butter (I used earth balance)
102g vegetable shortening
285-330g powdered sugar, sifted
13g vanilla paste
2 tbsp almond milk
cake crumbs
100g sugar
25g light brown sugar
90g cake flour
2g baking powder
2g kosher salt
20g rainbow sprinkles
40g vegetable oil
9g vanilla paste
milk soak
27g almond milk + 2g vanilla extract

christina tosi. momofuku milk bar. new york: clarkson potter, 2011.
isa chandra moskowitz. vegan cupcakes take over the world: 75 dairy-free recipes for cupcakes that rule. new york: da capo press, 2006.

cake|1 mix together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for at least 5 minutes. grease three 6-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. preheat oven to 350ºF.
2 in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together sugar, oil, and vanilla paste until frothy.
3 in a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. using a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined, then gently mix 2/3 cup sprinkles in to the batter.
4 pour into the cake pans (~330g/pan), tap on the counter to level the batter, then bake for 22-25 minutes, until the tops are springy. let cool in pans for another 15 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool.
frosting|1 in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and shortening for 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy.
2 add powdered sugar and beat on low to incorporate, then beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. add vanilla paste and beat for another minute until well-combined.
crumbs|1 preheat oven to 300ºF.
2 in a small mixing bowl, combine sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles. using a fork, stir ingredients until well-combined.
3 add oil and vanilla and mix again with the fork until the mixture forms clusters.
4 pour crumb mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. let cool completely before using.
milk soak|1 combine almond milk and vanilla. set aside.
assembly|1 if cakes are domed, level each layer. place the 2nd best-looking layer on the bottom and brush with the cake soak. dollop some icing on top, then spread almost to the edges. scatter some birthday crumbs on top, then press into the icing (with the back of your hand or a knife). spread some more icing over the top of the crumbs.
2 place the worst-looking layer on top, brush with cake soak, dollop icing on top, scatter crumbs, press them into the icing, and spread on more icing.
3 place the remaining cake layer on top. cover the top with icing, then crumb coat the cake with the remaining icing. press the remaining birthday crumbs into the top of the cake.
4 transfer the cake to the freezer and freeze for at least 12 hours to set the cake. at least 3 hours before serving, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and defrost in the fridge.

4 thoughts on “vegan momofuku milk bar funfetti cake”

    1. Hi Serena! I use Nielsen Massey vanilla paste. I’m a fan of their Pure Madagascar Bourbon paste, but their pure vanilla paste is great too.

      If you don’t have vanilla paste, you can always use vanilla extract (with the same measurement).


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