Let’s slow clap for America. We’re screwing up a lot around here these days, but one area where Americans are consistently winning is birthdays. In my lifetime, I’ve been apart of very few birthday celebrations that didn’t include cake and I’m thinking that’s something I need to appreciate about my motherland today. An extra special shout out goes to those who celebrate with the quintessential American cake flavor- the one, the only, confetti cake. Is there anyone who doesn’t secretly love a confetti cake made straight from the box? I don’t think so. Is there anything more American than taking an already sweet cake batter and adding more sugar to it in the form of playful little sprinkles? Not a chance. So strap on your jean shorts and handlebar mustaches, because today’s cake is going out to the land of the free and the home of the brave. We’re making confetti ice cream cake.
Christina Tosi, the genius pastry chef behind Milk Bar stores, makes these ridiculous layer cakes that I am obsessed with. They’re “naked”(meaning no exterior frosting) and often include one of my favorite flavor/texture elements, “crumbs.” You may have seen a few of my takes on a naked cake posted on social media here, here, or here. (Sidenote: if you really want to weird out your husband, mom, or best friend, call them and tell them you’re taking “nude” photos… the responses are pretty priceless.)
One of my favorite Milk Bar cakes is the birthday cake. I’ve made it a million times and it never disappoints. It’s sweet, fluffy, and perfectly reminiscent of the box confetti cake that we all know and love. The only thing, and I literally mean the ONLY thing, that could possibly take Milk Bar’s classic birthday cake to the next level is ice cream. Better yet- no churn ice cream. There aren’t many things in this world that make me feel the same degree of childlike nostalgia quite like confetti cake with a scoop of ice cream, so obviously, combining the two is a logical choice. Let’s get started.
Just like with Milk Bar’s confetti cake, we start by making the cake. We’re baking ours just like Tosi recommends in a jelly roll pan. While that’s in the oven, we will mix up the ingredients for the crumbs and have those ready to go into the oven when the cake is finished. Once the cake and crumbs are cooled to room temp, set out to make your ice cream and assemble the cake. Our no churn ice cream is made using a mix of cream cheese and whipped topping, but you can use homemade whipped cream if you’re feeling fancy. The instructions for this recipe appear to be pretty labor intensive, but the process is all fairly easy, particularly when spread out over the course of two days. You can check out the original recipe for Tosi’s birthday cake here for more detailed instructions on assembling the layer cake. Once the cake is assembled, you can let it party in the freezer for several days or even up to a couple of weeks! Nothing say “God Bless America” like having an ice cream cake in the freezer, ready for eating at any moment’s notice.
This recipe for confetti ice cream cake made with no churn ice cream is delicious and super fun to share with others! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 110 g buttermilk (1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla
- 8 ounces Cool Whip or 3 cups of homemade whipped cream
- A 6" cake ring or 6" cake pan
- Acetate sheets or some other sturdy, food safe material (I have used two sheets of thick parchment paper, doubled up, in a pinch, but admittedly, the acetate sheets work much more easily. They can be purchased on Amazon (3 inches by 20 inches long), washed, and reused in the future.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a jelly roll pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.
- Cream the butter, shortening, and sugars in a stand mixer at medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat for an additional 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and slowly add the liquid ingredients. Beat in the stand mixer until the batter is fluffy, lighter in color, and uniform. This will take 6-8 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bowl as needed throughout this process. Add the dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of the sprinkles and mix on low speed, just until combined, about one minute.
- Pour batter into pan and spread out to smooth. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sprinkles evenly over top of batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is no longer wiggly and will spring back slightly when touched. Allow to cool on a cooling rack until room temp.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Combine dry ingredients, including sprinkles, in a stand mixer and mix to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the wet ingredients and continue to mix on low until small little clumps begin to form. Once combined, turn off mixer and pour the clumps out on to a small baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are just beginning to turn golden. Allow to cool to room temp.
- Loosen and remove cake from pan. Using the cake ring (or the bottom of a 6" cake pan as a guide) cut out two 6" round cakes from the sheet cake (see photo above in post as a guide). Then, cut out two half-moon shapes from the remaining sheet cake. This will be used to piece together your third and final layer. Set cake layers aside.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minutes.
- Fold 1/2 cup of Cool Whip into cream cheese mixture until well distributed. Add remaining 2-1/2 cups, folding gently until well combined. Slowly fold in the cake crumbs, reserving about 1/3 cup to decorate the top.
- Line cake ring or pan with one acetate sheet. Place one cake layer in the bottom of inside of cake ring. If using the cake pan, line the bottom with a small piece of parchment to ensure easy removal from pan. Smooth 1/3 of the ice cream mixture over top of the top or cake layer. Place your two cake "half moons" on top of the ice cream and fill in with tiny cake pieces to create a makeshift 2nd layer. Top with another 1/3 of ice cream mixture. Wrap an additional acetate sheet to continue the 6x6" tube you're building this cake inside of (see photo) and tape to secure, if needed. Add the final layer of cake and smooth the remaining 1/3 of ice cream over the top.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze in the freezer until solid, about 4-6 hours, or overnight.
- See Christina Tosi's original birthday cake recipe for more notes on how to build the cake.
- If you're prefer, feel free to lightly grind up the cake crumbs so that they are more evenly distributed. I prefer the clumpy crumbs.
- In a pinch, you can use a box cake mix for this recipe, baked in a 9x13" pan, but I strongly recommend going with the homemade version- it's delicious!
- Cake and crumbs can be made a day or two in advance and saved at room temperature, wrapped tightly.