Milk Bar’s Pumpkin Pie Cake

Nov 25

This is the first holiday in ten and a half years of marriage that Ryan and I won’t be with one of our families. Now that we’re in Utah, making the trip home to Southern California for the short Thanksgiving weekend doesn’t quite make sense, especially when we’ll be driving down in a few weeks for Christmas.

I’m both a little sad and a lot excited for this Thanksgiving. Sad we won’t be with family (and in the warm weather), but excited for us to start a few of our own family traditions; one of which will be going out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner. With just the four of us, two of which are super picky eaters (errr!), it doesn’t seem worth the effort to spend hours in the kitchen for my kids to say they’d rather have a quesadilla. Instead, we made reservations to go out to dinner at Sundance. I love it there and I think it was the perfect decision for us. 

I love the ambiance and the food at Sundance (it’s also where Ryan proposed to me) and know it will be a feast to remember. However, I just couldn’t let this holiday pass without personally making at least one dessert!  And since you all know my aversion to pie, and my mission to make all the Milk Bar cakes, I decided to make the Pumpkin Pie Cake by Christina Tosi.

This beauty has layers of pumpkin cake, brown butter graham cheesecake, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ganache, and pie dough crumbs! Did you get all that? I know, pretty incredible, right? Ms. Tosi is extremely talented and inventive with her desserts, and I’ve never been disappointed.


This cake does takes some work but it’s certainly not hard and it’s totally worth your time. Allow about 3 hours to get it all done if you’re trying to do it all in one day. Each part of the cake can be made ahead of time too. Most importantly, you want to leave time to refrigerate it before serving, preferably overnight. 

If you’re not a fan of pumpkin, don’t fret! Milk Bar also has an apple pie cake that is just as awesome. I made it just a little while ago for my blog post with Maggie Sottero about fall-inspired wedding cakes. I actually took this cake into their office for a taste test and it was a huge hit. People couldn’t believe how much it tasted like an apple pie but in cake form.

The one component that blew me away and proved Christina Tosi’s sheer baking genius in my mind was the pie crumb frosting. She blends pie crumbs and milk in a blender and then adds it to the frosting. You guys! It literally tastes like pie crust and makes the entire cake! In fact, I love this element of the cake so much, I kinda wish it was in the pumpkin pie cake too. But don’t worry, the pumpkin pie cake is incredible in its own right.

In the apple pie cake, you get a brown butter cake, apple cider soak, liquid cheesecake, pie crumbs, apple pie filling, and pie crumb frosting. Again, pretty mouth-watering, right?

Because these recipes are extremely long, and Milk Bar provides all the instructions on their site, I’m going to send you over to their site for the recipes: Milk Bar Recipes and How To’s 

I hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday, and if you make one of these cakes (which I hope you do), let me know what you think!

6 thoughts on “Milk Bar’s Pumpkin Pie Cake

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  1. Which Milk Bar cookbook do has these two recipes? Momofoku Milk Bar or Milk Bar: All About Cake? Thank you!

      1. That is the book I got but I am so disappointed that the pumpkin pie cake is not in it. Only the apple pie cake and also pumpkin ganache but not the p.p. cake. Any suggestions? I also bought the cookbook for kids (all online which is why I couldn’t flip through and book in advance) and while the recipes look amazing I don’t also want to shell out for a third book at this point all for the one recipe.