Milk Bar Birthday Cake

Milk Bar Birthday Cake – the popular Milk Bar Birthday Cake with funfetti cake layers, a whipped vanilla buttercream and cookie crumbs.

New York Staple

Last week, while in New York for work, I made a pit stop at Momofuku Milk Bar in East Village for their birthday cake and chocolate malt cake truffles. Both are incredibly delicious and flavorful, and while I usually choose chocolate before all else, the birthday cake truffle is actually my favorite. They use scraps of their birthday cake, mixed with milk, coated in white chocolate and their crunchy coating (a combination of birthday cake, vanilla milk, white chocolate and birthday cake sand). So good, you guys!

After enjoying my delicious truffles and heading off to work, I regretted not pre-ordering their 6-inch birthday cake. (One of these days I’ve got to be a little more prepared before heading out there!). Since I missed my chance at having the real thing, I went for the next best thing and made it myself. Milk Bar is awesome and has actually published a ton of their recipes. You can find them all here.  

Milk Bar Birthday Cake

The birthday cake is made up of four parts: birthday cake, birthday cake soak, birthday cake frosting, and birthday cake crumbs. Don’t leave out any of these! You want the full experience and it’s so worth the time of each step.

There are also a handful of items that you may not be familiar with and/or can’t find at your local grocery store:

  • Clear vanilla extract – you should be able to find the McCormick brand at the grocery store, or Joann’s and Michael’s usually carry the clear vanilla extract in their cake isles. Milk Bar says the clear vanilla extract is NOT interchangeable with the typical brown extract because the clear vanilla isn’t actually flavored by vanilla and gives the cake a more “guilty tub-of-frosting, box cake” flavor.
  • Glucose – you might actually find this at Joann’s and Michael’s, as well. If not, check a specialty baking store (Orson Gygi, if you’re in Utah or Surfas, if you’re in Los Angeles).
  • Citric Acid – you can actually use fresh lemon juice if you can’t track down a bottle of citric acid.
  • Acetate sheets – another specialty item, but if you’re already at a craft store getting clear vanilla extract or glucose, grab a sheet of thick plastic from the stenciling or quilting section. You can make your own strips.

Make sure to follow Milk Bar’s tips about mixing times, and don’t rush the process. You’ll be combining a lot of fats with liquids and want the mixture to be completely homogeneous. There should not be any streaks of fats or liquids when you’re done mixing the batter.

You’ll use a baking sheet to cook the cake, and then make cutouts with a 6-inch spring form pan. The recipe calls for three layers, but I ended up doing four layers since there was extra cake and you can piece it together since it’s supported by the acetate sheets and spring form pan.

Don’t worry if your cake rounds fall a part a little. You can fill in holes and crevices with extra cake scraps.

I also placed my cake layers top-side down so that the cake soak could really soak in.

Find all the recipes and instructions over at MilkBar. Click HERE for a direct link to the birthday cake.

Can’t wait to hear what you think!

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Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Did you make more frosting than specified or did it work with 4 layers and the frosting amount in the recipe?

  2. I’ve made this cake once before and it was delish!I noticed that Milk Bar does a lot of 6 inch 3 layer cakes. Could this be made as an 8 inch 2 layer cake? How would you adjust the bake time?

    1. I would actually double the recipe and make it three layer 8-inch. It will bake a little longer and you’ll need a half sheet pan.

  3. What was the dimension of your baking sheet and ring cutout in order to get 4 layers?

    Did you make any modifications to the recipe? (Double amount of icing, etc.?)

  4. I followed the directions to a T and the bake was unsuccessful, although the flavor was good. By then I was short on time so I redid it using your funfetti recipe baked in rounds. It turned out perfectly, without the hassle of cutting and piecing. Plus my family thought your funfetti recipe was tastier! 😋

  5. What is the height of the acetate sheets used? Ive been searching for the correct size but cannot find it on the Milk Bar’s website either. Btw I love your website and all your cakes! I love how detailed your recipes are! Thank you so much for all you are doing!

  6. Can you go back and frost a milkbat style cake after freezing it so it’s not the naked look but still had all the textures?