Photo Fun!

One thing that really bothers me is when people see a photo and say “whoa you have such a good camera!”. Yes, the camera is part of it, but the photographer makes the magic happen. My friend Kristen is a phenomenal photographer and I was lucky enough to spend the past two weekends doing a full photoshoot of the baking process with her. From the messy mixing to the polished final product, these photos tell a perfect story of my life in the kitchen.

Kristen and I met when I was interning and she worked at Nat Geo Channel in DC. We sat directly next to each other but we didn’t talk until my LAST day when I brought in cookies. People love cookies.collage2

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Momofuku Milkbar’s Birthday Cake Truffles

There is a very elevated level of pressure that comes with recreating any recipe from Momofuku Milkbar. A good friend of mine got me the cookbook for my birthday last year, and every time I attempt a new recipe I make sure to block out an entire weekend. Their bagel bombs are definitely my favorite thing to make, but these birthday cake truffles come in close second.

They’re small cakeballs that mix the exciting youthful crunch of rainbow sprinkles with the growing confectionary trend of bite size truffles.

Birthday Cake Truffles:

1 recipe birthday cake (below)
2-4 tablespoons vanilla milk (below)
3 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 cup birthday cake sand (below)

1. Using a fork, tear apart the cooled cake into crumbs. You might have to use your hands (yay!). Combine fine cake crumbs and vanilla milk in a medium sized bowl and toss with your hands until moist enough to knead into a ball. if it is not moist enough to do so, add up to 2 tablespoons more vanilla milk and knead it in. Depending on how moist/dry your cake is you might not need more than 2 tbsp

2. roll the balls to be 1 inch. The original recipe says into 12 balls, but I made 24 because more cake truffles = better. Roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.

3. put 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate 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 as needed.

4. put 3 or 4 chocolate-covered balls at a time into the bowl of birthday cake sand. immediately toss them with the crumbs to coat, before the chocolate shell sets and no longer acts as a glue (if this happens, just coat the ball in another thin layer of melted chocolate).

5. refrigerate for at least 5 minutes to fully set the chocolate shells before eating or storing. in an airtight container, the truffles will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Birthday Cake Recipe:

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butt, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour (you can make cake flour using flour + cornstarch. remove 2 tbsp flour per cup and replace with cornstarch)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. 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. Add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. 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 twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely combined. don’t rush the process.

4. on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and mix just until combined (45 seconds). Take bowl off of the mixer and add ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles. Fold in with a rubber spatula.

5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan (9×13) and line it with parchment. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter.

6. 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.

7. take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer.

Vanilla Milk:

– 1/4 cup milk

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

whisk together in a small bowl

Birthday Sand:

– 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. let the crumbs cool completely before using

I was too stressed during the process to take pictures, so here are some of the final product!

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