We’re here on Monday, celebrating MLK, who certainly deserves to be celebrated. It also happens to be my late father’s birthday, and that, I think, even though he’s no longer here, is also still worth celebrating.
Baba was a funny guy, but not in the way that he was great at making jokes. Actually, he was a terrible joke teller. His funniness came in the form that makes you shake your head and smirk, or how he’d embarrass us in a way that only a dad can. You know the kind, the unintentionally funny.
Despite the fact that he grew up on the other side of the world, he adapted quite well to our American tastes, and some of his favorite dishes were not what you’d expect from someone who ate dahl and rice at every meal. A trip to Buffalo always included a visit to Ted’s Hot Dogs for a perfectly grilled footlong. Weekend afternoons were spent barefoot on a dock eating the best fried seafood ever out of styrofoam containers. Doritos, cheddar cheese cubes and dry roasted peanuts made for a very unlikely after work snack, and peanut brittle was a must-have every Christmas. He took his tea with 2 teaspoons of sugar and a healthy helping of evaporated milk. And for his birthday dinner, Mom would no doubt always make steak on the grill with a side of Fettuccine Alfredo, a combo that she also made for guests at his funeral. For being an MD, concerned about healthy food, he was not.
One of the most classic “Baba desserts” was vanilla ice cream with cereal on top. I know, so random, but almost every night, he crunched up standard vanilla with breakfast favorites, most notably Honey Graham Oh’s or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And since I’ve been dying to try a cereal milk cake (and no one wants to see a bowl of ice cream with cereal on top called a ‘recipe’), today was the day.
Have you ever heard of cereal milk cake? It was sort of made famous by the folks over at the Milk Bar Bakery and really, how could it be bad? I made this with CTC, but pick your favorite and have at it.
I adapted the concept to my favorite recipe for vanilla cake and vanilla frosting, making sure that the cereal milk really shined. The result? All sorts of delicious. Baba would surely be into it.
Serving notes: The cereal pressed to the outside of the cake will get soggy, so press that on just a few hours before serving.
This makes a 6″ round, or a 9 x 13.
- 1 1/2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch, divided
- 1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- pinch salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 6 TB butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 10 TB butter
- 4 TB milk
- 1 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch, crushed
- First, prepare the cereal milk. To a small bowl, add 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups of cereal. Let sit for 45 minutes until the cereal is soggy. Strain the milk of the cereal and set aside. You should have about 1 cup milk.
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 6" cake pan with butter, sugar and parchment paper.
- In a large mixer bowl, add the flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and salt. Mix together until it is a sandy consistency.
- In a separate liquid measuring cup, add the cereal milk, eggs and vanilla.
- Slowly add the wet to the dry, mixing until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan lined with butter and sugar with parchment.
- Bake for 1 hour until the cake springs back when touched and a tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool before frosting.
- Prepare the cereal milk soak the same as the first, combining the cereal and milk in a bowl, and let sit for about 45 min. Strain and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, until smooth and creamy, adding the 4TB milk a little at a time. Set aside to frost the cake.
- Slice the cooled cake in half, and place the cake halves in front of you, cut side up. Using the cake soak, brush the cereal milk into each half until well moistened. You may not use all the milk.
- Place the bottom half of the cake on a pedestal or serving platter. Add about 1/3 of the frosting to the first layer and spread around. Place the top of the cake on the bottom layer, and spread the remaining frosting to cover the whole cake. Press the remaining crushed cereal on the sides of the cake just before serving. Enjoy!
Written whilst staring at a sinkful of dishes.