Momofuku Milk Bar’s 4th of July Cake

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This gorgeous 4th of July Cake is a delicious, layered funfetti cake and it’s a real show stopper! It’s based on the incredible Momofuku Milk’s Bar’s cake, with a few twists!

4th of july cake on a table

I love experimenting and creating my own recipes, but sometimes it’s nice to follow a popular recipe from someone who bakes for a living. It’s actually how I learned how to bake in the first place!

When I saw Momofuku Milk Bar’s Birthday Layer Cake, and the technique she used to make it on Chef’s Table, I had to try it! I thought it would make a perfect cake for the 4th of July, so I altered the sprinkle color (blue and red only), made a few other small changes, and it turned out amazing!!

I can’t rave enough about this cake…the flavor, the crunch and the way it looks! It’s all just perfect. It’s a true vanilla cake, using clear vanilla extract and the softest buttercream frosting. Really can’t go wrong with this delicious cake recipe!

top down shot of 4th of july cake

How To Make This 4th of July Cake – Step by Step

For the 4th of July cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13×9″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray; set aside.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup sprinkles in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat granulated sugar, shortening, butter, and light brown sugar in another large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Continue to beat mixture, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until almost doubled in volume and very light, airy, and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
  • With mixer on low, add buttermilk mixture until incorporated. Add dry ingredients, beating until just combined, about 1 minute.
  • Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sprinkles. Bake until cake is light golden brown, the center springs back when gently pressed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30–35 minutes.
  • Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer

Crumbs for the 4th of July Cake

  • Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Combine flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, sprinkles, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add oil and vanilla, and using your hands, mix until no dry spots remain and large clumps form when mixture is pressed together. As though you were making a crumble topping.
  • Break mixture up into clusters (some small, some large) and spread onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until crumble is light golden brown and crunchy, 10–12 minutes (it will firm up as it cools). Let cool completely.
  • If you want to make it ahead of time, wrap crumbs tightly in plastic and store at room temperature up to 5 days.

Frosting for the 4th of July Cake

  • Combine butter, shortening, and cream cheese in large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until mixture is smooth and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl and slowly stream in corn syrup and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Beat until mixture is silky smooth and glossy white, about 3 minutes.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl and, with mixer on low, add powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid until just combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting, about 4 minutes until super white and fluffy.
  • Store frosting in an airtight container in fridge up to 1 week.

Assembling the 4th of July Cake

  • Place a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment on a counter. Invert cake onto mat, then peel off parchment. Use cake ring to punch out two 6″ rounds from cake (or, using a springform pan as a guide, cut out 2 rounds using a paring knife). These are your top 2 cake layers (the remaining cake scraps will form the bottom layer of the cake).
  • Line a sheet pan with a clean piece of parchment. Clean cake ring and place it in center of the pan. Use 1 acetate strip to line inside of cake ring. Place cake scraps inside ring and use the back of your hand to press scraps together into a flat, even layer (you never see this layer, so it’s okay that it’s messy—but since it’s the base of the cake, it needs to be flat).
  • Combine milk and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl. Dunk a pastry brush in milk mixture and use half of it to generously moisten the base layer.
  • Use the back of a spoon to spread about 3 Tbsp. frosting evenly over cake. Sprinkle ⅔ cup birthday crumbs evenly over frosting. Use the back of your hand to press them in place. Use the back of a spoon to spread another 3 Tbsp. frosting as evenly as possible over crumbs.
  • With your index finger, gently tuck second acetate strip between cake ring and the top ¼” of the first acetate strip, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5–6″ tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Top with a cake round (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is less pretty than the other, use it for the middle layer and save the most perfect one for the top). Brush layer with remaining milk mixture. Repeat frosting-crumb layering process.
  • Nestle remaining cake round into frosting. Cover top of cake with remaining frosting. Use an offset spatula to form decorative swirls, or do as they do at Milk Bar and shape it into a perfectly flat top. Top with remaining birthday crumbs.
  • Transfer cake to freezer and freeze at least 3 hours to set cake and filling.
  • At least 3 hours before serving the cake, pull sheet pan out of freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop cake out of cake ring. Gently peel off acetate and transfer cake to a platter or cake stand. Defrost in fridge at least 3 hours.
4th of july cake with sparklers

Some Items You’ll Need For This 4th of July Cake

I did have to purchase a few ingredients I didn’t have, like the transparent cake edge, the clear vanilla extract and 6″ stainless steel cake cutter. You can get all of these on Amazon and I’m happy I have them now because I’ll be baking this cake more than a few times! The sparkler stars are from Tops Malibu.

slice of the funfetti dessert on a plate

4th of July Cake – A Glorious Funfetti Tower!

It may look a bit daunting if you’re not a regular baker, but I pretty much followed the recipe directions and overall it’s fairly easy! So even if you’re not a whiz at whipping up cakes, this is a great three layered dessert that’s straightforward and impressive – give it a try!

You can make the cake, frosting and crumbs ahead of time as well!

slice of funfetti dessert on a plate with strawberries

Inspiration Behind Milk Bar’s Famous Cake

This 4th of July Cake is based on Milk Bar’s famous Birthday Cake.

It took Tosi + the Milk Bar team over three (almost) sleepless years to deconstruct and finally arrive at that perfect, nostalgic, funfetti flavor. 

The cake takes the best parts of childhood and added heaps of made-from-scratch birthday cake and frosting (inspired by the boxed supermarket stuff we grew up with). This cake is packed with b’day crumbs in the middle, even more on top and dreamy vanilla vibes throughout.

Top Tips For This 4th of July Cake

  • You can make the crumbs and frosting ahead of time.
  • Use a preheated oven.
  • If you need the cake to cool quicker, prior to frosting, you can place in the fridge or freezer.
  • Use and offset spatula to create decorative swirls in the frosting.

Check Out These Other Delicious Cake Recipes

Ricotta Cheesecake

American Flag Cupcake Cake

Gingerbread Snowman Cake

The Best Devil’s Foodcake

Fresh Strawberry Cake by Once Upon A Chef

Carrot Cake by Jo Cooks

overhead shot of 4th of july cake

If you have tried this 4th of July Cake recipe or any other recipe on Sugar and Charm, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! 

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Recipe is from Bon Appetit with a few slight changes.

4th of July Dessert Cake

Momofuku Milk Bar 4th Of July Cake

A layered cake perfect for 4th July celebrations!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings (makes 1 Three layer 6″ cake)
Calories: 738kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons blue and red sprinkles, divided
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, (1/2) stick
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 large organic eggs

For the crumbs

  • 3/4 cup cake or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons blue and red sprinkles
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup grapessed oil
  • 1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon clear imitation vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup whole milk this is for brushing the cake not for the frosting mixture

Instructions

For the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13×9" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray; set aside.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup sprinkles in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat granulated sugar, shortening, butter, and light brown sugar in another large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Continue to beat mixture, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until almost doubled in volume and very light, airy, and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
  • With mixer on low, add buttermilk mixture until incorporated. Add dry ingredients, beating until just combined, about 1 minute.
  • Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sprinkles. Bake until cake is light golden brown, the center springs back when gently pressed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30–35 minutes.
  • Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer

For the crumbs

  • Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Combine flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, sprinkles, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add oil and vanilla, and using your hands, mix until no dry spots remain and large clumps form when mixture is pressed together. As though you were making a crumble topping.
  • Break mixture up into clusters (some small, some large) and spread onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until crumble is light golden brown and crunchy, 10–12 minutes (it will firm up as it cools). Let cool completely.
  • If you want to make it ahead of time, wrap crumbs tightly in plastic and store at room temperature up to 5 days.

For the frosting

  • Combine butter, shortening, and cream cheese in large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until mixture is smooth and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl and slowly stream in corn syrup and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Beat until mixture is silky smooth and glossy white, about 3 minutes.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl and, with mixer on low, add powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid until just combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting, about 4 minutes until super white and fluffy.
  • Store frosting in an airtight container in fridge up to 1 week.

For the assembly

  • Place a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment on a counter. Invert cake onto mat, then peel off parchment. Use cake ring to punch out two 6" rounds from cake (or, using a springform pan as a guide, cut out 2 rounds using a paring knife). These are your top 2 cake layers (the remaining cake scraps will form the bottom layer of the cake).
  • Line a sheet pan with a clean piece of parchment. Clean cake ring and place it in center of the pan. Use 1 acetate strip to line inside of cake ring. Place cake scraps inside ring and use the back of your hand to press scraps together into a flat, even layer (you never see this layer, so it’s okay that it’s messy—but since it’s the base of the cake, it needs to be flat).
  • Combine milk and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl. Dunk a pastry brush in milk mixture and use half of it to generously moisten the base layer.
  • Use the back of a spoon to spread about 3 Tbsp. frosting evenly over cake. Sprinkle ⅔ cup birthday crumbs evenly over frosting. Use the back of your hand to press them in place. Use the back of a spoon to spread another 3 Tbsp. frosting as evenly as possible over crumbs.
  • With your index finger, gently tuck second acetate strip between cake ring and the top ¼" of the first acetate strip, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5–6" tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Top with a cake round (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is less pretty than the other, use it for the middle layer and save the most perfect one for the top). Brush layer with remaining milk mixture. Repeat frosting-crumb layering process.
  • Nestle remaining cake round into frosting. Cover top of cake with remaining frosting. Use an offset spatula to form decorative swirls, or do as they do at Milk Bar and shape it into a perfectly flat top. Top with remaining birthday crumbs.
  • Transfer cake to freezer and freeze at least 3 hours to set cake and filling.
  • At least 3 hours before serving the cake, pull sheet pan out of freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop cake out of cake ring. Gently peel off acetate and transfer cake to a platter or cake stand. Defrost in fridge at least 3 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 738kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 0.9mg
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