“Momofuku Style” Gooey Butter Funfetti Layer Cake with Birthday
Cake Crumb, & Whipped Rainbow Chip Frosting
For the Gooey Butter Funfetti Cake Layers:
2 Boxes of Funfetti Cake Mix (preferably white in color, but yellow cake can be used)
2 Extra Large Eggs, Room Temperature
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Melted
Extra Rainbow Sprinkles (optional)
2 8oz Blocks of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
4 Extra Large Eggs
32oz Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
2t Clear Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
For the Funfetti Milk Crumbs:
3T Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 ½C Cake Flour
1t Baking Powder
¼C + 2T Rainbow Sprinkles
½C Grapeseed Oil (canola + vegetable can be substituted here)
2T Clear Vanilla Extract
For the Whipped Rainbow Frosting:
5T AP Flour
1T Clear Vanilla Extract
2 Sticks of Salted Butter
8oz Whipped Cream Cheese or Mascarpone, Softened
1 ½C Homemade Rainbow Chips (plus extra for decorating and garnishing)
1. For the Gooey Butter Cake Layers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then prepare your three cake pans by lining them with parchment paper and spraying them with Pam. (either 8 or 9inch pans will work here, as long as you have a 6inch cake ring). In a mixing bowl, mix together the cake mixes, eggs, melted butter, milk, and some extra sprinkles until combined. Separate the dough into thirds and press the dough into the prepared pans, making sure the cake is in an even layer. In another mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Pour this over the cake layers evenly. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven and pan size. You need to make sure that these are completely set in the middle or they will ooze and drip a lot when you go to eat the cake (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but not pretty for presentation). Remove the cake pans from the oven and let them cool completely to room temperature (on a cooling rack). Once they have cooled, you need to invert them out of the pan onto a silpat or cutting board. Next, spray your 6inch cake ring with Pam and use it to cut out the cake center (think of it like a large cookie cutter). Repeat with the other cakes, you should have three perfectly round and trimmed cakes (there will be a lot of leftover cake, which means you get to share it or snack on them while you’re decorating). After cutting them, you need to refrigerate them overnight or partially freeze them for a few hours, so that they will be firm in consistency and will hold their shape when assembling the cake.
2. For the Funfetti Milk Crumbs:Heat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fit with the paddle attachment, combine the sugars, cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles. Mix on low speed until well combined. Add in the oil and vanilla extract and paddle again until small clusters have formed. Spread the clusters onto the prepared baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (while making sure to continually check them and break them up occasionally). The milk crumbs might be soft to touch until they have completely cooled; they will harden as they sit.
3. For the Whipped Rainbow Chip Frosting: In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla. While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. Once it has reached the consistency that you like, gently add in the mascarpone or whipped cream cheese, and beat it lightly to make sure that it is combined. It should be fluffy and light, but smooth. Gently beat or fold in the homemade rainbow chips until incorporated throughout the frosting.
4. Assembling the Cake:This cake could easily be assembled any which way you like, but I decided to make it based off of the famous technique used by Momofuku Milk Bar. This requires a 6inch cake ring, strips of acetate, and pastry frosting bags. Since you have already cut the three cake layers with the 6inch cake ring, those no longer need to be trimmed. But, you will need to prep the cake ring for perfect layering. Place the cake ring onto your serving plate and line it with the acetate. Put one of the layers of cake into the ring, making sure to keep the gooey butter topping facing upwards. Sprinkle about 1C of the prepared birthday cake milk crumbs over the gooey butter topping, make sure to gently press the crumbs into the gooey layer, so the layers will mesh together (or a little more or a little less of the milk crumbs, it doesn’t have to be exact). Either using a pastry frosting bag or a large rubber spatula, add a third of the frosting on top of the milk crumbs and smooth it out over the crumbs until they are all completely covered. Garnish the frosting with an even layer of sprinkles. Repeat this layering process until all the ingredients have been used (you should have 3 gooey butter cake layers, 3 layers of birthday cake milk crumbs, and 3 layers of whipped rainbow chip frosting). You can garnish the cake any way you like, but I just made a mound of more crumbs & extra sprinkles for our presentation. Transfer the tall, layered, assembled cake into the freezer and let it chill for 12 hours (keep the cake in the cake ring and lined with the acetate for the freezing process). At least 3 hours before you want to serve the cake, remove it from the freezer and pop it out of the ring and gently peel off the acetate liner. Let it defrost in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Slice the cake into wedges and serve immediately.