About a month ago, I got to do one thing that combined a number of my interests: I was able to make a cake at Momofuku and nerd out hardcore over the amazing team that works with Christina Tosi. If you read my post about my first trip to Momofuku Milk Bar back in September, you know that I have one gigantic girl crush on Tosi. My sweet tooth and I pledge our loyalty to her and all her amazing ideas. What she understands about dessert is that it should be yummy, fun, and inventive. Tosi takes classics and puts a new spin on them so that even if your mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies, you can enjoy these new riffs. She also wants to make her goodies accessible to those who aren’t based in New York for everyone to enjoy her treats. This is accomplished in a number of ways, including options like cookbooks, shipping out Momofuku desserts, and baking classes. All of these options sound fantastic to me, but the latter one was something I was all about when I first heard of it in August.
Eventually, on a rainy day at the beginning of November, I went up to New York to visit my friend Rachel and participate in one of these ‘Bake the Book‘ classes. Though the weather was less than stellar and we had to trek over to Hipsterville (AKA Williamsburg) to participate, I had a boatload of fun. With adorable baking headscarves we got to take home, encouragement from our teacher to snack while we were creating our cakes, and bottles of Brooklyn Lager to add to our enjoyment, this small class was both exciting and informative. I returned home with a gigantic cake, some cake balls, and a smile the size of my favorite comic book store. If any of you are able to make it to New York and are willing to splurge on a food geek activity, I’d certainly recommend checking it out.
I’ve reproduced the recipe below for the Mint Cookies and Cream Cake that I made because it was astoundingly awesome, but you can also find it on their website here, which is a bit more technical. It’s involved, but trust me, it is more than worth it. Once you get the layering and basic premise of the recipe down, there’s no end to the ways you can change it up and create your own unique cake.
Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
Yield: 1 Layer Cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. Serves 6 to 8.
1 recipe chocolate chip cake (recipe below)
1 recipe chocolate crumb (recipe below)
1 recipe mint cheesecake (recipe below)
1 recipe cookies and cream frosting (recipe below)
1 (6-inch) cake ring
2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long
1. Put a piece of parchment or a silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
2. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
3. Put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
4. Dunk a pastry brush or spoon in the milk and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the milk soak.
5. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.
6. Sprinkle one-third of the chocolate crumbs evenly over the cookies and cream frosting. use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
7. Use the back of a spoon to spread a one half of the mint cheesecake as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for this layer.
layer 3, the top
9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the mint cheesecake. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining cookies and cream frosting, and spread evenly. garnish the frosting with the remaining chocolate crumbs.
10. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
11. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).
12. Slice the cake into wedges and serve.