Momofuku Carrot Layer Cake
Momofuku Carrot Layer Cake is a labor of love that will prove absolutely worth all your hard work with every bite that you take. Every layer is handcrafted deliciousness that is sure to impress all your friends and family at your next celebratory event or dinner party. This recipe is like creamy cheesecake meets spice-filled carrot cake for that perfect melt-in-your-mouth decadent treat you crave.
- MILK CRUMB:
- 1/2 cup milk powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1/4 cup milk powder
- 3 ounces white chocolate
- LIQUID CHEESECAKE:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 large egg
- CARROT CAKE:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots (about 2 to 3 medium-sized carrots)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- GRAHAM CRUST:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup milk powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted (plus additional if needed)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- GRAHAM FROSTING:
- 1/2 recipe Graham Crust (above)
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preparation time 300mins
Cooking time 400mins
Adapted from lifetastesgoodblog.wordpress.com
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Combine the 1/2 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.
Spread the clusters on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Crumble any crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2-inch in diameter, and put crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (being VERY careful not to let any water touch the chocolate). Pour the melted white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are completely coated. Continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.
The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Place 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 is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the egg until everything is thoroughly combined.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg mixture. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Line the bottom and sides of a 6x6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap (I used a 6-inch round Pyrex, and had to bake it a bit longer, but it worked fine). 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 at the edges, but still jiggly and loose in the center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, cake for 5 minute intervals until it is done. If the cheesecake rises more than 1/4-inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately. Cool completely before using.
The cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine the butter and both 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.
On low speed, stream in the oil. Increase the speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is almost white, twice the size of your fluffy butter and sugar mixture, and there are no streaks of fat. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until the batter comes together and all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, dump in the shredded carrots, and fold them into the batter with a spatula.
Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread the cake into an even layer in the pan.
Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. 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. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes if necessary.
Remover the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (or place it in the fridge or freezer to cool quickly).
The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl until ingredients are evenly distributed.
Whisk together the butter and heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients and toss well, until evenly distributed. the mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in your hand. If it’s not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and mix it in.
Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge of freezer.
Combine the graham crust, milk, and salt in a blender, and pure until completely smooth, 1 to 3 minutes depending on your blender.
Combine the butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, mix in the contents of the blender. After 1 minute, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.If the mixture is not a uniform pale tan, beat for another minute or so at medium-high speed, and scrape down the bowl again.
Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
ASSEMBLING THE CARROT LAYER CAKE:
Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Invert the cake onto it, and peel the parchment from the bottom of the cake (you may need to run a knife around the cake before releasing it from the pan). Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake (as if you were using a giant cookie cutter; see photo below). These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake scraps will be your bottom layer.
Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan or cutting board lined with a clean piece of parchment paper. Use 1 acetate strip to line the inside of the cake ring.
Put the cake scraps inside the ring and use the back of your hand to push them down into an even layer. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look nice—once it’s covered up no one will ever know.
Using a pastry brush, brush the cake layer with a good dose of milk (not too much, or it will leak out of the bottom of the cake).
Use the back of a spoon to spread half the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the milk crumbs over the cheesecake. Tap them gently with the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/3 of the graham frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs (I found it really hard to spread frosting over the cheesecake and crumbs, so I just dolloped it evenly over them).
With your index finger, gently tuck the second acetate strip between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate (see photo below), so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall. Set another cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process from the first layer (the rest of the cheesecake, half of the remaining milk crumbs, and half of the remaining frosting).
Top with the last cake round. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting, smoothing it out (or swirling it, if you prefer). Garnish with the remaining milk crumbs, gently nestling them into the frosting.
Cover with plastic wrap, transfer the sheet pan or cutting board to the freezer, and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. You can keep the cake in the freezer like this for up to 2 weeks.
At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, remove it from the freezer, and using your fingers and thumbs (pushing against the bottom of the cake), pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a cake stand or serving plate. Allow the cake to defrost in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Cake can be kept, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 5 days.
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