mint chocolate chip layer cake

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. serves 6 to 8

1 recipe Chocolate Chip Cake (recipe below)
65g Milk
1 recipe Chocolate Crumb (recipe below)
1 recipe Mint Cheesecake (recipe below)
1 recipe Cookies and Cream Frosting (recipe below)

special equipment
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.
layer 1, the bottom
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 in the milk and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the 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.
layer 2, the middle
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 layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
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.

chocolate chip cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

115 g butter, at room temperature 8 tablespoons (1 stick)
250 g granulated sugar 1 1/4 cups
60 g light brown sugar ¼ cup tightly packed
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk ½ cup
75 g grapeseed oil ½ cup
12 g vanilla extract 1 tablespoon
185 g cake flour 1 ½ cups
4g baking powder 1 teaspoon
4g kosher salt 1 teaspoon
Pam or other nonstick
cooking spray (optional)
150 g mini chocolate chips ¾ cup

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the butter 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. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
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 practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you’re scraping, mix for another 45 seconds.
5. Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Give the bottom of your sheet pan a tap on the countertop to even out the layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cake 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 (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

chocolate crumb

makes about 350 g (2 ½ cups)

105 g flour 2/3 cup
4 g cornstarch 1 teaspoon
100 g sugar ½ cup
65 g cocoa powder, 2/3 cup
preferably Valrhona
4 g kosher salt 1 teaspoon
85 g butter, melted 6 tablespoons
1. Heat the oven to 300°F.
2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed.
3. Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
4. Spread the clusters on a parchment-or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.

5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using; place 40g aside for the mint cookies and cream frosting.

mint liquid cheesecake

makes about 325 g (1 ½ cups)

225 g cream cheese 8 ounces
150 g sugar ¾ cup
6 g cornstarch ½ teaspoon
2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
25 g milk 2 tablespoons
1 egg________________________________________
2 g Mint Extract
2 drops Green food color

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.
2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. If the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.
6. Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume.
7. Mix in the mint extract and green color, with a spatula or in a stand mixer. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 1 week.

cookies and cream frosting

makes about 473 g

250 g powdered sugar 1 ½ cups
95 g Crisco shortening ½ cup
62 g light corn syrup 3 tablespoons
13 g clear vanilla extract 3 teaspoons
25 g cornstarch 2 tablespoons
1 g salt ¼ teaspoon
________________________________________
40 g chocolate crumbs ½ cup

1. In a stand mixer mix together all ingredients except for the chocolate crumbs until incorporated.
2. With a spatula fold in chocolate crumbs.
3. The frosting is ready to use immediately, or can stay for up to one week in refrigeration.

apple pie layer cake

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. serves 6 to 8

When we opened Ko, we did so with a deep-fried apple pie. It resonated so much with people that we decided to use the apple pie as inspiration for a cake. We already had the crumb-into-ganache-into-frosting down and we loved the pie crumb we had developed for a few Noodle Bar and Ko desserts seasons before.
This cake will make you seem like a genius, though all you are doing is layering apple pie fixing’s between layers of slightly nutty (with brown butter) cake. Leftovers make especially delicious impromptu cake truffles.

1 recipe Barely Brown Butter Cake (recipe below)
1 recipe Apple Cider Soak (recipe below)
1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake (recipe below)
½ recipe Pie Crumb (recipe below)
1 recipe Apple Pie Filling (recipe below)
1 recipe Pie Crumb Frosting (recipe below)

special equipment
1 (6-inch) cake ring
2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 incheFs 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.
layer 1, the bottom
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 in the apple cider soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the oil.
5. Use the back of a spoon to spread half of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.
6. Sprinkle one-third of the pie crumbs evenly over the liquid cheesecake. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
7. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-half of the apple pie filling as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
layer 2, the middle
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 layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
layer 3, the top
9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the apple pie filling. Cover the top of the cake with all of the pie crumb frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the frosting with the remaining pie 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.

barely brown butter cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

55 g butter 4 tablespoons (½ stick)
40 g brown butter (below) 2 tablespoons
250 g granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups
60 g light brown sugar ¼ cup tightly packed
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk ½ cup
65 g grapeseed oil 1/3 cup
2 g vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
185 g cake flour 1 ½ cups
4 g baking powder 1 teaspoon
4 g kosher salt 1 teaspoon
Pam or other nonstick
cooking spray (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. Stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla while the paddle swirls on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and paddle 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your originally fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for it, so if it doesn’t look right after 6 minutes, keep mixing. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cake flour are incorporated.

5. Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Bake 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.
6. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

apple cider soak

makes about 60 g (1/4 cup)
55 g apple cider ¼ cup
5 g light brown sugar 1 teaspoon tightly packed
.25 g ground cinnamon pinch
Whisk together cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.

liquid cheesecake

makes about 325 g (1 ½ cups)
225 g cream cheese 8 ounces
150 g sugar ¾ cup
6 g cornstarch ½ teaspoon
2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
25 g milk 2 tablespoons
1 egg

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.
2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. If the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.
6. Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 1 week.

pie crumb

makes about 350 g (2 ¾ cups)
240 g flour 1 ½ cups
18 g sugar 2 tablespoons
3 g kosher salt ¾ teaspoon
115 g butter, melted 8 tablespoons (1 stick)
20 g water 1 ½ tablespoons
1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed.
3. Add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
4. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat- lined sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.
5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

apple pie filling

makes about 400 g (1 ¾ cups)
1 lemon
300 g Granny Smith apples 2 medium
14 g butter 1 tablespoon
150 g light brown sugar 2/3 cup tightly packed
1 g ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon
1 g kosher salt ¼ teaspoon

1. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Juice the lemon into it. Fish out and discard any seeds. You will use this lemon water to keep your apple pieces looking fresh and pert.
2. Peel the apples, then halve and quarter them. Put each apple quarter on its side and cut a small slice down the length of the apple to remove the seeds and core. Cut each apple quarter lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise into fourths, leaving you with 12 small pieces from every apple quarter. Transfer these pieces to the lemon water as you go.
3. When you’re ready to cook, drain the apples (discard the lemon water) and combine them in a medium pot with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, using a spoon to gently stir the mixture as it heats up and the apples begin to release liquid. Reduce the heat and simmer the apples gently for 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to cook the apples so much that they turn into applesauce.
4. Transfer to a container and put in the fridge to cool down. Once completely cooled, the filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week; do not freeze.

pie crumb frosting

makes about 220 g (3/4 cup), or enough for 2 apple pie layer cakes
½ recipe Pie Crumb (below)
110 g milk ½ cup
2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
40 g butter, at room temperature 3 tablespoons
40 g confectioners’ sugar ¼ cup

1. Combine the pie crumbs, milk, and salt in a blender, turn the speed to medium-high, and puree until smooth and homogenous. It will take 1 to 3 minutes (depending on the awesomeness of your blender). If the mixture does not catch on your blender blade, turn off the blender, take a small teaspoon, and scrape down the sides of the canister, remembering to scrape under the blade, then try again.
2. Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
3. On low speed, paddle in the contents of the blender. After 1 minute, crank the speed up to medium-high and let her rip for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the mixture is not a uniform, very pale, barely tan color, give the bowl another scrape-down and another minute of high-speed paddling.
4. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


birthday layer cake

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. serves 6 to 8

once we got birthday cake crumbs down, we moved on to our larger quest of making a funfetti cake, canned frosting and all, from scratch. turns out that looking on the side of the cake mix box at the master ingredient list was really helpful in getting the “secret” stuff we couldn’t figure out by taste.

1 recipe birthday cake (recipe below)
1 recipe birthday cake soak (recipe below)
1 recipe birthday cake frosting (recipe below)
1 recipe birthday cake crumb (recipe below)

special equipment
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.

layer 1, the bottom

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 in the birthday cake soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the soak.

5. use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.

6. sprinkle one-third of the birthday crumbs evenly over the frosting. use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.

7. use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the birthday cake frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs.

layer 2, the middle

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 layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).

layer 3, the top

9. nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. garnish the frosting with the remaining birthday 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.

birthday cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

55 g butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick)
60 g vegetable shortening (1/3 cup)
250 g granulated sugar (1 1/4 cups)
50 g light brown sugar (3 tablespoons, tightly packed)
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk (1/2 cup)
65 g grapeseed oil (1/3 cup)
8 g clear vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
245 g cake flour (2 cups)
6 g baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
3 g kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon)
50 g rainbow sprinkles (1/4 cup)
plus
25 g rainbow sprinkles (2 tablespoons)

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. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

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 practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50 g (¼ cup) rainbow sprinkles. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 25 g (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 (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

birthday cake soak

55 g milk (1/4 cup)
4 g clear vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)

whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl.

vanilla extract

we use two different kinds of vanilla extract, brown patisse brand and clear mccormick brand. neither is of any fancy caliber, but we use these specific vanilla extracts on purpose because they are the flavor that most people relate to in their baked goods. vanilla beans and fancy vanilla paste do not taste like home to me, but commercial vanilla extract does.

we use brown (standard) vanilla extract in 90 percent of our baked goods. it’s the extract that flavors nearly every homemade chocolate chip cookie. we use clear mccormick vanilla extract for the birthday Cake, birthday cake crumb, and birthday cake frosting. it is vanilla in flavor, but not flavored by any actual vanilla beans. it’s “vanilla” in more of a guilty tub-of-frosting, box-cake way. the two are not interchangeable in recipes. both patisse brown extract and mccormick clear vanilla are available online.

birthday cake frosting

makes about 430 g (2 cups)

115 g butter, at room temperature (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
50 g vegetable shortening (1/4 cup)
55 g cream cheese (2 ounces)
25 g glucose (1 tablespoon)
18 g corn syrup (1 tablespoon)
12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
200 g confectioners’ sugar (1 1/4 cups)
2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
.25 g baking powder (pinch)
.25 g citric acid (pinch)

1. combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. with the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy white. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. crank the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting. it should look just like it came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store! use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

birthday cake crumb

makes about 275 g (2 ¼ cups)

100 g granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
25 g light brown sugar (1 1/2 tablespoons, tightly packed)
90 g cake flour (3/4 cup)
2 g baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
20 g rainbow sprinkles (2 tablespoons)
40 g grapeseed oil (1/4 cup)
12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)

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 clusters; continue paddling until that happens.

4. Bake for 15 minutes at 300°F.

5. let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing by the handful. stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


birthday cake truffles

makes about one dozen 1-ounce balls

my favorite offering at milk bar is our cake truffles, spawned entirely from leftover bits and pieces of cake! we had once served slices of cake to order, but after hemming and hawing with our endearing staff of counter employees over the correct way to slice and serve a multilayered cake, we decided to get smart, so we decided to make cake truffles with all of our leftover cake and cake layering scraps. now, instead of committing to a whole slice of cake, you can get a bite or two or three.

you can choose to follow the recipe, or get crazy, without our guidance, using leftovers to concoct your own. don’t limit yourself to birthday cake; you can use any cake scrap and any leftover fillings, crumbs, or crunches from your kitchen!

the basics for cake truffles are as follows:

the base:
cake scraps, the fresher the better. we stick to one flavor of cake scraps at a time. (we use our birthday cake for the birthday cake truffles, recipe follows)

the binder:
this can be fruit juice, fruit puree, flavored milk or a moist filling, curd, or sauce. depending on the moistness of the cake base, we use more or less binder. we have recipes, but there is always a range for the binder. you can also choose to add in sprinkles, chips or any other textural element you want in the center of your cake truffle here. (we use vanilla scented milk—whole milk with a splash of vanilla extract—for our birthday cake truffles)

the shell:
to seal in freshness and flavor, we roll each truffle in melted white chocolate. the melted white chocolate also serves to glue the crunchy coat onto the outside.

the crunchy coat:
finely ground crumbs or crunches work best, but we’ve even been known to use toasted yellow cake mix. (we use birthday cake sand, ground into a sandy consistency for our birthday cake truffles)

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

1. combine the cake scraps 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.

2. using a small ice cream scoop, portion out 12 even balls, each half the size of a ping-pong ball. roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.

3. with latex gloves on, 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

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 clear vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
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. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

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 practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50 g (¼ cup) rainbow sprinkles. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 25 g (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 (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

vanilla milk

1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

whisk together the milk and vanilla 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. grind down in a food processor if the crumbs are not small and sandy enough (they will not glue to the white chocolate coating in the birthday cake truffle recipe!) stored in an airtight container, the sand will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


pretzel cake truffles

makes about one dozen 1-ounce balls

my favorite offering at milk bar is our cake truffles, spawned entirely from leftover bits and pieces of cake! We had once served slices of cake to order, but after hemming and hawing with our endearing staff of counter employees over the correct way to slice and serve a multilayered cake, we decided to get smart, so we decided to make cake truffles with all of our leftover cake and cake layering scraps. now, instead of committing to a whole slice of cake, you can get a bite or two or three.

you can choose to follow the recipe, or get crazy, without our guidance, using leftovers to concoct your own. don’t limit yourself; you can use any cake scrap and any leftover fillings, crumbs, or crunches from your kitchen.

the basics for cake truffles are as follows:

the base:
cake scraps, the fresher the better. we stick to one flavor of cake scraps at a time. (we use our pretzel cake for our pretzel cake truffles, recipe follows)

the binder:
this can be fruit juice, fruit puree, flavored milk or a moist filling, curd, or sauce. depending on the moistness of the cake base, we use more or less binder. we have recipes, but there is always a range for the binder. you can also choose to add in sprinkles, chips or any other textural element you want in the center of your cake truffle here. (we use chocolate stout for our pretzel cake truffles)

the shell:
to seal in freshness and flavor, we roll each truffle in melted white chocolate. the melted white chocolate also serves to glue the crunchy coat onto the outside.

the crunchy coat:
finely ground crumbs or crunches work best, but we’ve even been known to use toasted yellow cake mix. (We use pretzel sand, ground into a sandy consistency for our pretzel cake truffles)

1 recipe pretzel cake (recipe below)
2-4 tablespoons chocolate stout
3 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 cup pretzel sand (recipe below)

1. combine the cake scraps and stout 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 stout and knead it in.

2. using a small ice cream scoop, portion out 12 even balls, each half the size of a ping-pong ball. roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.

3. with latex gloves on, 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 pretzel sand. immediately toss them with the sand 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.

pretzel cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
3 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups pretzels, ground down into a powder

1. heat the oven to 350°F.

2. combine the butter, molasses, 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. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

3. on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, and oil. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. on very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the ground down pretzels. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.

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 (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

pretzel sand

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup malt powder
2 1/2 cups milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

1. heat the oven to 300°F.

2. combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.

3. add the melted butter and paddle again to distribute. the butter will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small sandy clusters; continue paddling until that happens.

4. bake at 300°F for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pan.

5. let the crumbs cool completely before using. Grind down in a food processor if the crumbs are not small and sandy enough (they will not glue to the white chocolate coating in the pretzel cake truffle recipe!) stored in an airtight container, the sand will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


strawberry lemon cake

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. serves 6 to 8

1 recipe vanilla cake (recipe below)
20 g lemon juice [1 ½ tablespoons]
1 recipe pickled strawberry jam (recipe below)
1 recipe lemon cheesecake (recipe below)
1/2 recipe milk crumbs (recipe below)
1 recipe pickled strawberry frosting (recipe below)

special equipment
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.

layer 1, the bottom

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 in the lemon juice and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the juice.

5. use the back of a spoon to spread the pickled strawberry jam in an even layer over the cake.

6. sprinkle half of the milk crumbs evenly over the pickled strawberry jam. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.

7. use the back of a spoon to spread one-half of the lemon cheesecake as evenly as possible over the crumbs.

layer 2, the middle

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 lemon cheesecake, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).

layer 3, the top

9. nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. cover the top of the cake with the pickled strawberry frosting. give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. garnish the frosting with the remaining milk 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.

vanilla cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

115 g butter, at room temperature [8 tablespoons (1 stick)]
250 g granulated sugar [1 1/4 cups]
60 g light brown sugar [1/4 cup tightly packed]
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk [1/2 cup]
75 g grapeseed oil [1/2 cup]
12 g vanilla extract [1 tablespoon]
185 g cake flour [1 1/2 cups]
4g baking powder [1 teaspoon]
4g kosher salt [1 teaspoon]
Pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

1. heat the oven to 350°F.

2. combine the butter 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. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

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 practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. if you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you’re scraping, mix for another 45 seconds.

5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. give the bottom of your sheet pan a tap on the countertop to even out the layer.

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 (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

pickled strawberry jam

makes about 360 g (1 ½ cups)

120 g strawberry puree [1/2 cup]
90 g sugar [1/2 cup]
4 g pectin [1 teaspoon]
1 g kosher salt [1/4 teaspoon]
9 g sherry wine vinegar [1/2 teaspoon]
6 g white wine vinegar [1/4 teaspoon]

1. whisk together the sugar, pectin, and salt in a medium pot or saucepan. slowly whisk in the strawberry puree, sherry wine vinegar, and white wine vinegar and bring to a full, rolling boil. reduce the heat and cook at a low boil for 2 minutes to activate the pectin and turn the puree into a beautiful jam.

2. once the pectin has been activated and coats the back of a spoon, remove the jam from the heat. the jam can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

lemon cheesecake

makes about 460 g (2 cups)

1 recipe liquid cheesecake (recipe below)
3/4 recipe lemon curd (recipe below)

liquid cheesecake

makes about 325 g (1 1/2 cups)

225 g cream cheese [8 ounces]
150 g sugar [3/4 cup]
6 g cornstarch [1/2 teaspoon]
2 g kosher salt [1/2 teaspoon]
25 g milk [2 tablespoons]
1 egg

1. heat the oven to 300°F.

2. put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.

4. with the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. gently shake the pan. the cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. if the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. and 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. if the cheesecake rises more than a 1/4 inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.

6. cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. the final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 1 week.

lemon curd

makes about 460 g (2 cups)

3 lemons
100 g sugar [1/2 cup]
4 eggs
1 gelatin sheet
115 g butter, very cold [8 tablespoons (1 stick)]
2 g kosher salt [1/2 teaspoon]

1. using a microplane or the finest-toothed side of a box grater, zest the lemons. do your best to grate only as far down as the yellow part of the skin; the white pith has less lemon flavor and can be bitter. squeeze 80 g (1/3 cup) juice from the lemons.

2. put the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a blender and blend until the sugar granules have dissolved. add the eggs and blend on low until you have a bright-yellow mixture. transfer the contents of the blender to a medium pot or saucepan. clean the blender canister.

3. bloom the gelatin (see below).

4. heat the lemon mixture over low heat, whisking regularly. as it heats up, it will be begin to thicken; keep a close eye on it. once it boils, remove it from the stove and transfer it to the blender. add the bloomed gelatin, butter, and salt and blend until the mixture is thick, shiny, and super-smooth.

5. pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof container, and put in the fridge until the lemon curd has cooled completely, at least 30 minutes. the curd can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; do not freeze.

blooming the gelatin: get it right, or do it twice

in order to incorporate it seamlessly into a mixture, gelatin must be softened, or “bloomed,” first. to bloom any amount of sheet gelatin, soak it in a small bowl of cold water. the gelatin is bloomed when it has become soft, after about 2 minutes. if the gelatin still has hard bits to it, it needs to bloom longer. if it is so soft it is falling apart, it is overbloomed; discard the gelatin and start over. gently squeeze the bloomed gelatin to remove any excess water before using.

to bloom powdered gelatin (any amount between 1/2 teaspoon and 2 teaspoons), sprinkle it evenly onto the surface of 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small cup. if you pour the powdered gelatin into a pile on top of the water, the granules in the center will remain hard and will not bloom. if you use too much water to bloom the gelatin, it will dilute the flavor of the recipe and its consistency will be looser than intended. allow the granules to soften entirely in the cold water for 3 to 5 minutes.

once it is bloomed, in order to incorporate either kind of gelatin into a mixture, you need to dissolve the gelatin in hot, but not boiling, liquid – usually a bit of whatever it will be mixed into. if the gelatin gets too hot, it will lose its strength and you will have to start over again.

milk crumb

makes about 260 g (2 1/4 cups)

40 g (1/2 cup) milk powder
40 g (1/4 cup) flour
12 g (2 tbs) cornstarch
25 g (2 tbs) sugar
2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted
20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
90 g (3 oz) white chocolate, melted

1. Heat the oven to 250°F.

2. combine the 40 g (½ cup) milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point, and your kitchen should smell like buttery heaven. cool the crumbs completely.

4. crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 20 g (¼ cup) milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

pickled strawberry frosting

makes about 200 g (1 cups)

115 g butter, at room temperature [8 tablespoons (1 stick)]
40 g confectioners’ sugar [1/4 cup]
.05 g citric acid [small pinch]
1/4 recipe pickled strawberry jam (see above)
1 g kosher salt [1/4 teaspoon]

1. combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow.

2. meanwhile, whisk together the citric acid, pickled strawberry jam, and kosher salt.

3. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. on low speed, gradually stream in the strawberry mixture. use immediately.


pumpkin pie cake

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. serves 6 to 8

1 recipe Pumpkin Pie Cake (recipe below)
65 g milk
1 recipe Brown Butter Graham Cheesecake (recipe below)

1 recipe Toasted Pepitas (recipe below)
1 recipe Pumpkin Ganache (recipe below)
1 recipe Pie Dough Crumbs (recipe below)

special equipment
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.

layer 1, the bottom

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 in the milk and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the milk.

5. Use the back of a spoon to spread the brown butter graham cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.

6. Sprinkle one-third of the toasted pepitas evenly over the brown butter cheesecake. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.

7. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the pumpkin ganache as evenly as possible over the pepitas.
layer 2, the middle

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 layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
layer 3, the top

9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the ganache. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining ganache. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the ganache with the pie dough crumbs and remaining pepitas.
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.

toasted pepitas

makes 250 g
250g pepitas, toasted and lightly salted

pumpkin pie cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan cake

115 g butter
125 g sugar
150 g light brown sugar
1 egg
25 g grapeseed oil
100 g buttermilk
1 g vanilla extract
175 g pumpkin puree
230 g flour
4 g baking powder
4 g baking soda
12 g kosher salt
4 g cinnamon
2 g nutmeg
9 g ginger
Pam or other nonstick
cooking spray (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the butter 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. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

3. On low speed, stream in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. Don’t rush the process. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Detach the paddle and remove the bowl from the mixer. Dump the pumpkin puree into the bowl and, with a spatula, fold them into the batter.

6. Pam-spray a quarter of sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.

7. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 25 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.

8. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

brown butter graham cheesecake

makes about 460 g

1/2 recipe Brown Butter Graham Crust (recipe below)
1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake (recipe below)

Combine brown butter graham crust and liquid cheesecake in a medium bowl.

graham crust

makes about 322 g

30 g sugar
3 g kosher salt
24 g powdered milk
181 g graham cracker crumb
54 g brown butter
33 g heavy cream

1. Toss the graham crumbs, sugar, milk powder and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.

2. Whisk the brown butter, and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1 ½ tablespoons) butter and mix it in.

liquid cheesecake

makes about 425 g

225 g cream cheese
150 g sugar
6 g cornstarch
2 g kosher salt
25 g milk
1 egg

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.

2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.

4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. If the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.

6. Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 1 week.

pumpkin ganache

makes about 340 g

150 g white chocolate
25 g butter
50 g glucose
55 g cold heavy cream
75 g Libby’s pumpkin puree
4 g kosher salt
1 g ground cinnamon

1. Combine the white chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe dish and gently melt them in the microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring between blasts. The result should be barely warm to the touch and totally homogenous.

2. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a container that can accommodate an immersion blender – something tall and narrow, like a 1-quart plastic deli container. Warm the glucose in the microwave for 15 seconds, then immediately add the chocolate mixture and buzz with the hand blender. After a minute, stream in the heavy cream, with the hand blender running – the mixture will come together into something silky, shiny, and smooth.

3. Blend in the pumpkin puree, salt, and cinnamon. Put the ganache in the fridge to firm up before using, at least for 4 hours, or, ideally, overnight. Stored in an airtight container, pumpkin ganache will keep fresh in the fridge for 1 week. Serve cold.

pie dough crumbs

makes about 350 g (2 ¾ cups)

240 g flour
18 g sugar
3 g kosher salt
115 g butter, melted (1 stick)
20 g water

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed.

3. add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.

4. spread the clusters on a parchment- or silpat- lined sheet pan. bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. the crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.

5. let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


german chocolate jimbo layer cake

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 to 6 inches tall. serves 6 to 8
1 recipe Chocolate Cake ( below)
1 recipe Chocolate Malt Cake Soak ( below)
1 recipe Crack – Coconut Filling ( below)
1 recipe Pecan Crunch ( below)
1 recipe Chocolate Malt Frosting ( below)
¼ cup Shredded Coconut, toasted

special equipment
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.
layer 1, the bottom
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 in the malt cake soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of the soak.
5. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/2 recipe of the crack-coconut filling in an even layer over the cake.
6. Sprinkle half of the pecan crunch evenly over the crack-coconut filling. Use the back of your hand to anchor in place.
7. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the chocolate malt frosting over the pecan crunch layer.
layer 2, the middle
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 layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
layer 3, the top
9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the frosting with toasted, shredded coconut.
10. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and fillings. 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.

chocolate cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan cake
110 g butter, at room temperature 1 stick
300 g granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk ½ cup
40 g grapeseed oil 1/4 cup
4 g vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
¼ recipe Fudge sauce (recipe below) 3 tablespoons
155 g cake flour 1 ¼ cups
70 g cocoa powder ½ cup
6 g baking powder 1 ½ teaspoons

6 g kosher salt 1 ½ teaspoons

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, fudge sauce, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the cocoa powder. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.
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 (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
Fudge Sauce (for chocolate cake)
30 g 72% chocolate chopped 1 ounce
18 g cocoa powder 2 tablespoons
.5 g kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon
100 g glucose ¼ cup
25 g sugar 2 tablespoons
55 g heavy cream 1 /4 cup

1. Combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt in medium bowl.
2. Combine the glucose, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir intermittently while bringing to a boil over high heat. The moment it boils, pour it into the bowl holding the chocolate. Let sit for 1 full minute.
3. Slowly, slowly begin to whisk the mixture. Then continue, increasingly the vigor of your whisking every 30 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and silky-smooth. This will take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your speed and strength. You can use this sauce at this point or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze.

chocolate malt cake soak

Makes enough for 1 recipe of the German Chocolate Jimbo Cake
55 g milk 1/4 cup
10 g Ovaltine powder 2 tablespoons
Whisk together the milk and Ovaltine in a small bowl.

crack – coconut filling

Makes enough for 1 recipe of the German Chocolate Jimbo Cake
75 g granulated sugar 2/3 cup
45 g light brown sugar 3 tablespoons (tightly packed)
5 g milk powder 1 tablespoon
6 g corn powder 1 tablespoon
2 g kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon
56 g butter, melted 4 tablespoons
40 g heavy cream 3 tablespoons
1 g vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon
egg yolks 2 each
____________________________________________________________________________________
100 g sweetened coconut 1 cup
1. Heat the oven to 325°F
2. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.
3. Add the melted butter and paddle for 1 minute until all the dry ingredients are moist.
4. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 1 minute until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
5. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low speed until it is.
6. Line the bottom and sides of a small baking pan with plastic wrap. Pour the crack pie filling into the pan, put the pan into the oven, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The crack pie filling should be firmer and more set towards the outer boundaries of the baking pan but slightly jiggly and loose in the center. If the crack pie filling is jiggly all over, give it 2-3 minutes.
7. Once cooled, mix the crack pie filling with the sweetened coconut. This filling can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container for a week in refrigeration.

pecan crunch

Makes enough for 1 recipe of the German Chocolate Jimbo Cake
125 g chopped pecans ¾ cup
splash grapeseed oil
2 g salt ½ teaspoon
20 g light brown sugar 1 tablespoon
___________________________________________________________________________________
60 g feuilletine 3/4 cup

1. Heat the oven to 325°F
2. Put the pecans on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Puree warm pecans in a food processor with a splash of grapeseed oil, salt and light brown sugar.
4. In a small bowl, combine the pecan puree with feuillitine. The crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

chocolate malt frosting

Makes enough for 1 recipe of the German Chocolate Jimbo Cake
113 g butter, at room temperature 8 tablespoons (1 stick)
162 g powdered sugar 1 cup
2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
21 g cocoa powder ¼ cup
25 g whole milk 2 tablespoons
1. Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. With the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the milk. Crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


blueberry and cream cookies

makes 12 to 17 cookies

After the milk crumb phenomenon in the kitchen, we had to find a mainstream use for it, rather than just hiding it under some ice cream. It needed its moment in the sun. So I brainstormed. A peaches-and-cream cookie was my original thought. Momofuku does mean “lucky peach” in Japanese, after all. But I decided we needed something that would hit home even more for guests.

Did you know dried blueberries existed? I didn’t, until I surveyed Whole Foods’ dried fruit selection for a dried peach alternative. The clouds parted, and it was clear. We needed a blueberry-and-cream cookie, reminiscent of a blueberry muffin top (the best part of the muffin).

225 g (16 tbs) butter, at room temperature
150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
150 g (2/3 cup) light brown sugar
100 g (1/4 cup) glucose
2 eggs
320 g (2 cups) flour
2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda
6 g (1 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
1/2 recipe Milk Crumbs (recipe below)
130 g (3/4 cup) dried blueberries

1. Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk over mixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. Still on low speed, add the milk crumbs and mix until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 seconds. chase the milk crumbs with the dried blueberries, mixing them in for 30 seconds.

4. using a 2 3/4 oz ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not bake properly.

5. Heat the oven to 350°F.

6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.

7. cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Milk Crumbs

makes about 250 grams (2 ¼ cups)

40 g (1/2 cup) milk powder
40 g (1/4 cup) flour
12 g (2 tbs) cornstarch
25 g (2 tbs) sugar
2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted
20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
90 g (3 oz) white chocolate, melted

1. Heat the oven to 250°F.

2. combine the 40 g (½ cup) milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point, and your kitchen should smell like buttery heaven. cool the crumbs completely.

4. crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 20 g (¼ cup) milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.


cereal milk™

makes 2 and 1/2 cups, serves 4

100 g (2 3/4 cups) cornflakes
825 g (3 3/4 cups) cold milk
30 g (2 tbs tightly packed) light brown sugar
1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.

2. Spread the cornflakes on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly toasted. Cool completely. Toasting the cornflakes before steeping them deepens the flavor of the milk. Taste your cereal milk™ after you make it. If you want it a little sweeter, don’t be shy; add a little more brown sugar. If you want a more mellow cereal milk™, add a splash of fresh milk and a pinch of salt.

3. Transfer the cooled cornflakes to a large pitcher. Pour the milk into the pitcher and stir vigorously. Let steep for 20 minutes at room temperature.

4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, collecting the milk in a medium bowl. The milk will drain off quickly at first, then become thicker and starchy toward the end of the straining process. Using the back of a ladle (or your hand), wring the milk out of the cornflakes, but do not force the mushy cornflakes through the sieve.

5. Whisk the brown sugar and salt into the milk until fully dissolved. Store in a clean pitcher or glass milk jug, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.


compost cookies®


makes 15 to 20 cookies

When I was a baker at a conference center on Star Island, twelve miles off the coast of New Hampshire, I learned to make this kind of cookie from one of the best bakers I know, Mandy Lamb. She would put different ingredients in the cookie each day or each week and have people try and guess what the random secret ingredients were. Because we were on an island in New England, when storms blew in, we were trapped. No one traveled to the island, and, more important, no boats with food on them came our way, either. We had to get creative and use what we had on hand. We might not have had enough chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies, but if we threw in other mix-ins as well, the seven hundred some guests would never notice the shortage of one ingredient—and the cookies would always feel brand new, because they were different every time. I found after many batches that my favorite compost cookies® had my favorite snacks in them: chocolate and butterscotch chips, potato chips, pretzels, graham crackers, and coffee (grounds).

Compost cookies® always turn out great in my mother’s kitchen because she infamously has a hodgepodge of mix-ins, none in great enough quantity to make an actual single-flavored cookie on its own. My brother-in-law calls them “garbage cookies”; others call them “kitchen sink cookies.” Call them what you want, and make them as we make them at Milk Bar, or add your own favorite snacks to the cookie base in place of ours.

225 g (16 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
150 g (2⁄3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
50 g (2 tbs) glucose
1 egg
2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
225 g (1 1⁄3 cups) flour
2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda
4 g (1 tsp) kosher salt
150 g (3/4 cup) mini chocolate chips
100 g (1/2 cup) mini butterscotch chips
1/4 recipe (1/2 cup) Graham Crust (recipe below)
40 g (1⁄3 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats
5 g (2 1/2 tsp) ground coffee
50 g (2 cups) potato chips
50 g (1 cup) mini pretzels

1. Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (See page 27 for notes on this process.)

2. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk over mixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. You deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.

4. Using a 2 3/4 oz ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature— they will not bake properly.

5. Heat the oven to 375°F.

6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.

7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

In a pinch, substitute 18 g (1 tablespoon) corn syrup for the glucose. For the “coffee grounds” in this cookie, we tested the recipe with freshly roasted and ground artisanal coffee from Stumptown as well as with crap-tastic coffee grounds that you can find just about anywhere. We discovered that it doesn’t make a difference what kind you use; the cookie is delicious every time. Just make sure you don’t use instant coffee; it will dissolve in the baking process and ruin the cookies. And, above all else, never use wet, sogalicious grounds that have already brewed a pot of coffee. We use Cape Cod potato chips because they aren’t paper-thin, and so they do not break down too much in the mixing process.

Graham Crust

Makes about 340 g (2 Cups)

190 g (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
25 g (2 tbs) sugar
3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed
55 g (1/4 cup) heavy cream

1. Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.

2. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ table- spoons) butter and mix it in.

3. eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


cornflake-chocolate-chip marshmallow cookies

makes 15 to 20 cookies

I am neither brave nor bold enough to make just a chocolate chip cookie. Everyone’s mom or grandma makes “the best” chocolate chip cookie. And every one of those chocolate chip cookie recipes is different. So, out of respect, we dared not compete. Instead, we made a delicious chocolate chip tribute cookie—one of our most popular cookies—by accident.

In the Ko basement one day, Mar over toasted the cornflake crunch for the cereal milk™ panna cotta. She was pissed. I was pissed. But we refused to let it go to waste. I was already well versed in making a cookie out of anything left in the pantry, and we needed a dessert for family meal anyway. So we made cookies with the cornflake crunch, and we threw in some mini chocolate chips, just to make them appealing to the cooks in case the over toasted cornflakes were a bust, and some mini marshmallows, because we were eating them as a snack, and why the hell not. It was just family meal.

The cooks freaked. They requested the cookies for family meal every day after that. And so the cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie was born—love at first bite and a shoo-in on Milk Bar’s opening menu.

225 g (16 tbs) butter, at room temperature
250 g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
150 g (2⁄3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
1 egg
2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
240 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
1.5 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
5 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) kosher salt
3/4 recipe (3 cups) Cornflake Crunch (recipe below)
125 g (2⁄3 cup) mini chocolate chips
65 g (1 1/4 cups) mini marshmallows

1. Combine the butter 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. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (See page 27 for notes on this process.)

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk over mixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips just until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Paddle in the mini marshmallows just until incorporated.

4. Using a 2 3/4 oz ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not hold their shape.

5. Heat the oven to 375°F.

6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. At the 18-minute mark, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. Leave them in the oven for an additional minute or so if they aren’t and they still seem pale and doughy on the surface.

7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

cornflake crunch

makes about 360 g (4 cups )

This recipe was originally created to accompany the Cereal Milk™ Panna Cotta. It was one of those first-swing, home-run hits. It is incredibly simple to make and equally as versatile in its uses. Put some in a plastic bag and take it on the go as the best snack ever, or use it as an ingredient in the recipes that follow.

170 g (1/2 12oz box or 5 cups) cornflakes
40 g (1/2 cup) milk powder
40 g (3 tbs) sugar
4 g (1 tsp) kosher salt
130 g (9 tbs) butter, melted

1. Heat the oven to 275°F.

2. Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.

4. Cool the cornflake crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month.


crack pie®

makes 2 (10-inch) pies; each serves 8 to 10

this recipe makes two pies (two pies are always better than one), but you can always keep the second pie frozen if need be!

1 recipe oat cookie (recipe follows)
15 g (1 tbs tightly packed) light brown sugar
1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed
1 recipe crack pie® filling (recipe follows)
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (if you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)

3. transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. if it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and knead it in.

4. divide the oat crust evenly between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

5. put both pie shells on a sheet pan. divide the crack pie® filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full. bake for 15 minutes only. the pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.

6. open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°f. depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. keep the pies in the oven during this process. when the oven reaches 325°f, close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. the pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. if the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional
5 minutes or so.

7. gently take the pan of crack pies® out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (you can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.) then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.

8. if not serving the pies right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. in the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month. transfer the pie(s) from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of
1 hour before you’re ready to get in there.

9. serve your crack pie® cold! decorate your pie(s) with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

oat cookie recipe

makes about 1 quarter sheet pan

115 g (8 tbs) butter, at room temperature
75 g (1/3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
40 g (3 tbs) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
80 g (1/2 cup) flour
120 g (1 1/2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
0.5 g (1/8 tsp) baking powder
0.25 g (pinch) baking soda
2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. combine the butter 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, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. on low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium­ high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.

3. on low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. the dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan and, with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. the dough won’t end up covering the entire pan; this is ok.

5. bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. cool completely before using. wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

crack pie® filling

makes enough for 2 (10-inch) crack pies®

you must use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to make this filling. it only takes a minute, but it makes all the difference in the homogenization and smooth, silky final product. i repeat: a hand whisk and a bowl or a granny hand mixer will not produce the same results. also, keep the mixer on low speed through the entire mixing process. if you try to mix the filling on higher speed, you will incorporate too
much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey-the essence of crack pie®.

300 g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
180 g (3/4 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
24 g (1/4 cup) corn powder
6 g (1 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
225 g (16 tbs) butter, melted
160 g (3/4 cup) heavy cream
2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
8 egg yolks**

1. combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.

2. add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.

3. add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

4. add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. mix on low speed until it is.

5. use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

**note: it will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. i believe the easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. you may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. if you do this by hand,you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs! save your egg whites for peanut butter nougat or pistachio cake, or cook them up for your doggies, for a shinier coat.


Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats® Little Bites Chocolate-Coconut-Caramel Bars

Makes nine 2” squares

2 ½ cups Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® Little Bites Chocolate
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup nonfat milk powder
½ cup mini marshmallows

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup dulce de leche or other caramel sauce

1. Heat oven to 325F
Choose a 6”x 6” nonstick pan (or pam spray a comparably sized pan) and set aside.
Measure Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal into a large mixing bowl and with a large spoon crush into smaller pieces, ¼ their original size. Measure coconut, milk powder and marshmallows into the same bowl.

2. Pour the melted butter over the mixing bowl of dry ingredients, stirring with a large spoon to fully combine. Spread and firmly press mixture into the pan, about 1 inch high in thickness.

3. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle dulce de leche or caramel sauce evenly over the top surface of the baking pan. Cool completely at room temperature, then cut into bite-size bars.

Snack or store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Frosted Flakes®-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow Cookie

Makes one dozen cookies

1 ¼ cups Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes®

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ea egg, large

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup mini marshmallows
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 300F. Spread Frosted Flakes® onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat the oven to 350F. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and light brown sugar on high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.

On low speed, add vanilla and egg and mix to incorporate, about 1 minute.

On low speed, add flour, nonfat milk powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing just until the dough combines together. About 1 minute.

On the same low speed, add the cooled, toasted Frosted Flakes®, mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips until the dough is evenly speckled with mixins, about 30 seconds.

3. Drop or scoop the dough (about ¼ cup) onto a greased or lined baking tray, 3-4 inches apart from one another. Pat down the cookie dough rounds with the palm of your hand.

4. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until cookies have puffed, spread and browned around the edges. Cool cookies completely on the baking tray before transferring to a plate or airtight container.

Snack or store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Froot Loops™ Meringues

Makes one dozen meringues

2 large egg whites, cold and fresh

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup Kellogg’s® Froot Loops™

1. Heat the oven to 200°F.

2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg on high until fluffy and white, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the salt and whisk again, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until stiff, white and glossy, about 3 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, with a mallet crush the Froot Loops™ down into smaller pieces, ¼ their original size. With a spatula, gently fold them into the meringue mixture.

4. Pipe rounds or drop ¼ cup scoops of the mixture 2 inches apart on a greased or lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for 2 to 3 hours until the meringues are completely dry inside. They should feel hollow and be slightly cracked. Let cool completely.

Snack or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Strawberry-Sesame Special K® & Frosted Mini-Wheats® Treats

Makes nine 2” squares.

1 cup Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats®, broken down into smaller pieces with a spoon

2 cups Kellogg’s® Special K® Original Cereal
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup dried strawberries or blueberries

1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons sesame tahini

1. Choose a 6”x 6” nonstick pan (or pam spray a comparably sized pan) and set aside.
Measure Frosted Mini-Wheats®, cereal into a large mixing bowl and, with a large spoon crush down into smaller pieces, ¼- ½ their original size. Measure Special K®, sesame seeds, salt and dried berries into the same bowl and set aside.

2. In a large sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mini marshmallows, and cook until all marshmallows are melted. Remove the saucepan from the burner and stir in sesame tahini until evenly combined.

3. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the mixing bowl of cereals and stir vigorously with a large spoon until all ingredients are well coated.

4. Spread and press mixture into the pan, about 1 inch high in thickness. Cool completely at room temperature, then cut into bite-size bars.

Snack or store in an airtight container for up to a week.