Milk Bar Birthday Cake Truffles
There are two things in this world that I will always love: birthdays and Funfetti cake. So a recipe that combines both of those things into a delicious hand-held form will definitely be met with some serious cartoon heart eyes on my end. I’ve been to Milk Bar in NYC a few times on trips down there, so when I heard that my spirit animal Christina Tosi was opening a Milk Bar in Boston recently and birthday cake truffles would be just a short trip across the river, I could not have been more excited. So in celebration of the new Boston Milk Bar, and my birthday today, I’m giving you Christina’s recipe for b’day truffles so you can celebrate properly.
Last weekend we did a girl’s night out in Harvard Square, conveniently at a beer hall right next to the new Milk Bar. So after dinner and drinks, we had a choice to make: stay out for another drink or go check out the new Milk Bar. I know I picked my friends wisely when the decision to sample everything from Milk bar was unanimous. We got a piece of crack pie (yum), soft serve cereal milk ice cream with the corn flake crunch (double yum), and three b’day truffles (triple yum).
I had just gotten a copy of Christina Tosi’s new book All About Cake, which has the recipe for b’day truffles, so the next morning I got up early and got all the ingredients so I could make them right away. And if you have patience and take the time to follow the recipe to a T, it actually tastes just as good (if not better)than the truffles we got at Milk Bar.
I’d be lying to you if I didn’t eat some of the birthday crumb sand straight with a spoon. I need to find some other ways to incorporate that into recipes soon because that’s definitely my version of crack. I made a few important baking discoveries when making this recipe. First, making homemade cake will always be worth the extra effort over box mix, and making it in a sheet pan is so much faster and allows for the optimal frosting to cake ratio. Secondly, clear vanilla extract is a thing and it’s amazing. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve made vanilla frosting and overdone the brown vanilla extract. The clear extract means you can put a lot more vanilla flavor in without changing the color of cake or frosting. Amazing.
While this recipe takes a little love and patience, it is definitely worth it. Don’t let the four mini recipes required to assemble these scare you. It actually just organizes the ingredients and steps much more clearly so you don’t miss anything. I probably “quality assurance tested” at least four before bringing into work this week. So whether you’re celebrating a friends birthday, your birthday, or maybe you just want to celebrate mine today, whip up a batch of these Milk Bar b’day truffles to really get the party started.
- 1 recipe birthday cake (recipe below)
- 2-4 tablespoons vanilla milk (recipe below)
- 3 ounces white chocolate, melted
- 1 cup birthday cake sand (recipe below)
- Remove the cake from the sheet pan. Break the cake down into crumbs and combine with half the vanilla milk soak in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands until most enough to knead into a ball. If necessary slowly add more soak, a little more at a time, and knead it in. You want the filling to be moist and soft, not chewy.
- Use a tablespoon (or small cookie scoop) to scoop even amounts of the cake truffle filling, each scoop approximately half the size of a ping-pong ball. Roll each scoop between your hands. I chilled the balls in the fridge for a half an hour before the next step.
- Put the birthday sand in a medium bowl and set aside.
- With latex gloves on, put two tablespoons of white chocolate coating in the palm of your hand and roll each ball between your palms, coating it in a thin layer of melted chocolate; add more chocolate to your palm as needed.
- Put 3 or 4 chocolate-covered balls at a time into the bowl of birthday sand. Immediately toss them with the sand to coat, before the chocolate shell sets and no longer acts as a glue.
- Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes to filly set the chocolate shells before eating or storing. The truffles will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge or up to 1 month in the freezer.
makes 1 quarter sheet pan
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles
- heat the oven to 350°f.
- combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
- on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50 g (¼ cup) rainbow sprinkles. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 25 g (2 tablespoons) rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter.
- bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
- take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed
2/3 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1. heat the oven to 300°f.
2. combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.
3. add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. the wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small sandy clusters; continue paddling until that happens.
4. bake for 15 minutes
5. let the crumbs cool completely before using. grind down in a food processor if the crumbs are not small and sandy enough (they will not glue to the white chocolate coating in the birthday cake truffle recipe!) stored in an airtight container, the sand will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.