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Blackberry almond cake — Milk Bar style

Momofuku Milk Bar style blackberry almond layer cake with milk crumbs

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As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Milk crumbs on a Momofuku Milk Bar style cake-layers of purple blackberry curd, cream coloured almond cake, and creamy almond frosting

Getting creative with Milk Bar recipes

I loved making the Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake and the birthday cake truffles so much, I had to try my hand at another Milk Bar recipe, but this time I decided to get a little creative. When I started playing around with this recipe, first thing I tackled was the curd, and with this curd came a valuable life lesson (because when is anything straightforward and easy in my life?).

I followed the recipe for the passion fruit curd from the Milk Bar book (available on Amazon), swapping in blackberry purée for the passion fruit. The first results were, shall we say… not so tasty.

First thing I noticed was that it was way too salty. Tosi’s recipes are often salt-heavy, but usually that doesn’t bother me. Here it did.
Second, it was too buttery for a curd, and the blackberry flavour was largely overpowered by this, and the salt.
But, the worst part of all: the curd had a terribly metallic aftertaste that was concerning, to say the least. Why? 

Momofuku Milk Bar style cake-blackberry almond cake with milk crumbs

Always use good quality stainless steel equipment when working with acids and fruits

I scratched my head for a long time over this because the blackberry purée I used was top quality and tasted just like it should. All my ingredients were as fresh as possible, so I was left with the only possibility: something happened when I was making the curd. In the moment, I blamed my poor blender because it was the only thing that was out-of-the-ordinary in the curd-making process. Wrong.

It wasn’t until I was whisking a second batch of curd (no blender for me!)—this time, based on the lemon curd in Tosi’s book—that I figured out the culprit: the whisk! For the first batch, I happened to grab one of my “dollar store” whisks without thinking (normally I use it with dry ingredients only). I ended up with an awful, inedible metallic curd. For the second batch, I used my fancy OXO whisk (available on Amazon). The curd tasted delicious, and there was no metallic aftertaste whatsoever.

Lesson learned. Always invest in and use top-quality stainless steel tools! The OXO whisk (available on Amazon) is worth every penny and more since it’s actually stainless steel and not leaching metal with acidic foods. And no, OXO did not pay me for this post, nor ever supply me with a free whisk.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT TO MAKE MILK BAR style CAKES:

  • stand mixer: Christina Tosi has a very specific way of mixing cake batters and they require a ton of beating. Unfortunately, this means using a hand-held electric mixer is a terrible option for this recipe (as is a wooden spoon for mixing by hand). Your best bet is to use a KitchenAid Artisan 5 quart mixer. If you don’t have one and you want to bake more, I highly recommend getting one on Amazon
  • 6-inch cake ring: I actually used the ring of a 6-inch springform pan from Amazon to build my cake, but it was not ideal because of the rim/seam on the springform which made it extra hard to unmold. Buy a cake ring from Amazon if you can.
  • acetate: when I made this cake, I didn’t know where to buy acetate, so I used acetate sheets from an office supply store. No clue if it’s food grade. Don’t do that. Buy a roll of acetate from Amazon.
  • mini offset spatula: I love my mini offset spatula from Ateco and I use it all the time when I am making cakes. You can buy it on Amazon! Tosi actually uses a spoon that she’s bent to assemble cakes. That’s another option if you don’t mind bending one of your spoons.
  • quarter sheet pans with rims: I like these Nordic Ware quarter sheet pans on Amazon.
  • good quality stainless steel whisk: I cannot stress the importance of this. Invest in good tools if you want to avoid your curd tasting like metal! I use an OXO whisk that you can buy on Amazon.

Slice of Momofuku Milk Bar style cake-layers of blackberry curd, almond cake, and almond frosting

SPECIAL INGREDIENTS TO MAKE MILK BAR style CAKES

  • fruit purée: I recommend Ravifruit brand frozen purée which you can purchase on Amazon
  • liquid glucose: you may find it at Bulk Barn or your local bulk ingredients store, or restaurant/baking supply stores in your area. If not, you can Wilton brand glucose from Amazon.
  • gelatin sheets: I used Dr. Oetker “gold” gelatin which you can also find on Amazon
  • almond paste: I like I used Lebeca brandwhich has 60% almonds and you can buy from Vanilla Food Company
  • chocolate: I bake with Cacao Barry chocolate usually. For this recipe I used Cacao Barry 30% Blanc Satin Amazon
  • almond oil: you could use canola or grapeseed oil, but in this almond cake, it’s nice to use almond oil. If you’d like to buy almond oil, you can buy it on Amazon
  • almond flour: the almond flour adds a lot of flavour to this cake. You can buy it on Amazon.
  • milk powder: Christina Tosi recommends uses powdered milk a lot. Milk powder adds the flavour of milk without adding extra liquid that can throw off your recipe. You can buy it on Amazon.




Blackberry almond layer cake, Momofuku Milk Bar style so it is a naked cake

 Momofuku Milk Bar style blackberry almond cake recipe

If you love almond paste, this cake is for you because it’s loaded with the good stuff. This recipe is based on Christina Tosi’s pistachio lemon cake in her book Momofuku Milk Bar (available on Amazon). I used almond paste and almond oil instead of pistachio, and I used a combination of blackberry purée and lemon juice for the curd and cake soak. The crumbs I made as in the book.

P.S. If you love layer cakes, and you haven’t bought Tosi’s book yet, drop everything and go get it on Amazon. This book is a fountain of information, with insight into why Tosi has constructed her cakes and recipes the way she has. There’s a method to her madness, and her book explains why.

Milk crumbs on a Momofuku Milk Bar style cake-layers of blackberry curd, almond cake, and almond frosting
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5 from 2 votes

Blackberry almond cake - Milk Bar style

This blackberry almond cake is a riff on the Momofuku Milk Bar pistachio layer cake with lemon curd. The cake layers are almond flavoured as is the frosting, and the curd is made with a mix of blackberry purée and lemon juice. Sinfully good!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword blackberry almond cake
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 791kcal
Author Janice

Equipment

OXO whisk
Artisan mixer
Sheet pans
Mini offset
6in cake ring
Acetate

Ingredients

For the blackberry curd

  • 50 grams blackberry purée 1/4 cup
  • 30 grams fresh lemon juice 2 tbsp
  • 100 grams granulated sugar 1/2 cup
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • 115 grams Stirling Creamery unsalted butter 1/2 cup

For the almond cake

  • 190 grams almond paste
  • 75 grams Wilton glucose 3 tbsp
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 280 grams icing sugar 1 3/4 cups
  • 110 grams ground almonds 1 1/4 cup
  • 75 grams almond oil 1/2 cup
  • 55 grams whipping cream (35 % fat) 1/4 cup
  • 160 grams all-purpose flour 1 heavy-handed cup
  • 6 grams baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • 6 grams Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt 1 1/2 tsp

For the almond frosting

For the milk crumbs

For the cake soak

  • 60 grams blackberry purée a little under 1/3 cup

Instructions

To make the blackberry curd

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the purée, lemon juice, and half the sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the rest of the sugar, and then transfer to the saucepan.
  • Place the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water to soften.
  • Heat the fruit/egg mixture on medium heat with constant whisking until the curd thickens and begins to boil. Boil for 1 minute with whisking, then take it off the heat.
  • Squeeze the gelatin of excess water, then whisk the softened sheet into the saucepan, followed by the butter.
  • Strain the curd into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap clung to the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool in the freezer for a maximum of 30 minutes, then in the fridge for several hours.

To make the almond cake

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a rimmed quarter sheet pan by spraying it with cooking spray and then lining it with parchment.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste and glucose on medium-low for about 2 minutes until it is smooth and homogeneous, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • On low speed, beat in the egg whites, one at a time, waiting til each is incorporated before adding the next, scraping the bowl as needed. At the end you should have a fluid, uniform batter.
  • Add the icing sugar and almond flour and mix the batter on low speed to combine for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stream the oil and cream into the mixer bowl set to low. Increase the speed to medium to ensure it is well mixed.
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix them in on low speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. The batter should be smooth
  • Spread the batter onto the prepared sheet pan and bake it for about 22 minutes or until the edges are golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before using.

To make the milk crumbs

  • Heat the oven to 250°F.
  • Combine the 40 grams milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with a spoon until clumps form.
  • Dump the crumbs onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes then cool them completely.
  • Transfer the cold crumbs to a bowl and toss them with the remaining 20 grams milk powder, followed by the melted chocolate.
  • Stir the mixture every so often to ensure all the crumbs are evenly coated. Let cool completely before using.

To make the almond frosting

  • Beat together the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium.
  • Add the almond paste and the salt and beat again starting at low, then increasing to medium-high, scraping down the bowl as needed. Use immediately.

To assemble the cake

  • Prepare a 6-inch cake ring (from Amazon) by placing it on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, lining the inside of the ring with a 20 inch long piece of acetate (also on Amazon).
  • Cut out two 6-inch circles of cake, and two half circles.
  • Fit the two half circles of cake at the bottom of the acetate-lined ring, filling any gaps with the leftover cake scraps.
  • Brush the cake with half the blackberry purée (~30 grams), then smooth on half the blackberry curd and sprinkle one third of the milk crumbs over the curd. Dollop with one third of the almond frosting, then gently spread into an even layer.
  • Gently fit a second strip of acetate between the first and the ring to give your mold height. Then, place the next layer of cake over the frosting, and repeat the previous step by brushing with purée, smoothing with curd, sprinkling with milk crumbs, then dolloping/smoothing with frosting.
  • Place the final layer over top, pressing slightly. Spread with the final bit of frosting and the milk crumbs.
  • Freeze 12 hours to set, then pop the frozen cake out of the ring, placing it on a cake stand. Pull off the strips of acetate and let the cake defrost for about 6 hours in the fridge before serving.

Notes

  • For the fruit purée, I recommend Ravifruit brand frozen purée which you can purchase on Amazon
  • For the gelatin sheets, I used Dr. Oetker “gold” gelatin which you can also find on Amazon
  • For the almond paste, I like I used Lebeca brandwhich has 60% almonds and you can buy from Vanilla Food Company
  • I like to buy Wilton glucose (available on Amazon) because it comes in small containers (this way you aren't stuck with a 5 kg tub of glucose!)
  • I bake with Cacao Barry chocolate usually. For this recipe I used Cacao Barry 30% Blanc Satin Amazon
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenhealssoul or tag #kitchenhealssoul!

Nutrition

Calories: 791kcal

Milk Bar style naked cake featuring layers of almond cake, almond frosting, blackberry lemon curd, and blackberry purée for a stunning purple and creamy beige layer cake

 

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30 Responses to Blackberry almond cake — Milk Bar style

  1. BonnieBanters June 24, 2013 at 2:45 AM #

    Simply Wow!!!

  2. Deb June 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM #

    An amazing dessert! Adore the blackberries for a spectacular summer treat!

  3. Jett Whitfield June 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

    Very interesting! Looks amazing!!!

  4. La Boufferie July 4, 2013 at 3:48 AM #

    Oh my… ! It seems so good!

  5. Susan April 18, 2015 at 11:11 PM #

    This looks so amazing!! I wish you would include some pics of the steps while you were making the cake. I will save this recipe and hope to make it soon

  6. Laura at Creative Supergirl April 23, 2015 at 1:36 PM #

    This looks like a work of art. It looks so beautiful and so delicious! I am a huge fan of almond paste. I really need to make this. It looks challenging so I’ll have to get my nerve up.

  7. Eden Passante March 1, 2016 at 1:10 AM #

    This looks so amazing! Blackberries and almond–amazing!

  8. Sean April 14, 2016 at 4:39 PM #

    What a spectacular cake. Seriously… wow. Very interesting stuff about the whisk – it’s funny how stuff like that can jump out and bite you when you’re not expecting it.

  9. Coral May 10, 2017 at 5:39 PM #

    Hello Janice, this sounds sooooo yummy, but can I ask why we are freezing this cake ! And would it set over night in the fridge instead ?

    • Janice May 10, 2017 at 5:43 PM #

      Hi Coral!
      I think that by freezing the cake, it is much easier to unmold, especially if you are using a real cake ring and not a springform ring. This way you can really “manipulate” the cake without disturbing the layers and the smooth finish. I think Milk Bar also incorporates freezing into their process because they ship the frozen cakes across North America. But at home, I think it’s still a helpful step if you want to make sure you unmold the cake from the ring without damaging the look. Hope that makes sense!

      • Coral May 11, 2017 at 2:35 PM #

        Hi Janice, thank you for the reply, I tried making this today, and every time I got to the milk crumb it failed in the oven !! It all melted into one big sloppy mess, I cooked it on 250 as your instructions, can’t understand what’s going wrong ! I did it twice, and still it failed ! Please help XX

        • Janice May 11, 2017 at 2:57 PM #

          Oh no! I’m so sorry that happened! Are you sure you set your oven to 250ºF, which is approximately 121ºCelsius? It’s just a thought, but it could be that if you are baking at 250ºC that the butter/white chocolate are melting instead of baking/drying/setting.

          • Janice May 11, 2017 at 3:09 PM #

            Sorry, I made a mistake when I was typing. The butter could be melting too fast if your oven is too high when you bake the crumbs, but if the melted white chocolate is added too soon, before you cool the crumbs, it will also melt and make a mess. When are you adding the melted chocolate?

  10. Coral May 11, 2017 at 4:32 PM #

    Hello again Janice, I’m on step three of making the crumb, mixed in the melted butter, which gives me a wonderful soft crumble like topping at this stage which has a wonderful texture, I then put it into the oven, and all the crumble like balls just melt into each other and go to slop !! Can’t go further at this stage as it just won’t work ? XX

    • Janice May 11, 2017 at 5:32 PM #

      Hmmm, that didn’t happen to me. What temperature is your oven set to? Do you have an oven thermometer in your oven to verify the temperature you’ve set it to is correct?

  11. Coral May 11, 2017 at 4:35 PM #

    Have not covered in choc as there is no crumble balls ! Just a flat sheet of hard stuff !

  12. Coral May 14, 2017 at 3:49 PM #

    Hello Janice, I’m so sorry for all the worry over the milka balls, but have now worked out what I did wrong ! …….I put dried cream in , instead of dried milk ! I’m sooooo sorry for all the worry. Thank you so much for the help and I redid all the steps and what a fantastic cake. Thank You so much XX

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