Home Cakes (Copycat) Gluten Free Milk Bar Birthday Cake
gluten free milk bar birthday cake

(Copycat) Gluten Free Milk Bar Birthday Cake

by tw

It’s my birthday! What better way to celebrate than with an extra special cake.  This Milk Bar Birthday Cake certainly fits the bill.

In case you don’t know, Milk Bar is a famous bakery in NYC whose owner and chef, Christina Tosi, specializes in nostalgic desserts with a new twist. And while Milk Bar does offer a gluten free cake option (for $67 ouch!) they do not offer one that is dairy free.  So I have adapted this copycat recipe from the original shared by Tosi. My version is both gluten free and dairy free with a few other changes to simplify the preparation. 

You will love this funfetti cake for your next special celebration!

milk bar birthday cake

Why You'll Love This Milk Bar Gluten Free Cake

  • It’s gluten free and dairy free!
  • It’s fun to make and you can customize it to make it a little easier to prepare.
  • It’s a lot cheaper than ordering online (and fresher too).

Equipment Needed

To make the cake exactly as it’s prepared at Milk Bar, you do need a couple of special pieces of equipment.

First, a six-inch pastry ring. This serves both to cut the cake layers out of the sheet cake as well as holding things together while you’re assembling and chilling.

Second, you need a sheet of acetate to keep the cake and filling contained until you’re done assembling and chilling the cake.

milk bar cake recipe

Ingredient List

For the cake:

  • Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend – I use Bob’s Red Mill.  You can use the flour blend of your choice, but the results may vary.  As always, weigh your flour for the best outcome.  The weight for this recipe should be 259 grams.
  • Arrowroot Powder – You can also use cornstarch in the same measure.  This helps us create a “cake flour” like mixture.
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Rainbow Sprinkles – make sure you buy gluten free sprinkles.  This is a common place for hidden gluten.  I used these from Amazon.
  • Non-Dairy Milk – I used coconut milk (the type in the carton).  You can use any non-dairy milk or dairy milk in the same measure.
  • Olive Oil – Any light flavored cooking oil will work.
  • Vanilla – Tosi uses artificial vanilla extract, but I prefer the real stuff.
  • Sugar
  • Vegan Butter – I used Country Crock Plant Butter.  Any vegan butter would work, as well as dairy butter if you’re not dairy free.
  • Eggs

For the frosting:

  • Vegan Butter
  • Vegan Cream Cheese
  • Vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Salt
For the crunchy crumbs:
  • Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend
  • Sugar
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Rainbow Sprinkles
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Vegan Butter
  • Vanilla

As you can see this cake has a lot going on. 🙂

How to Make a Gluten Free Milk Bar Birthday Cake

Prepare the cake batter according to the directions and bake.  Once the cake is cool, flip out onto a piece of parchment paper.  Use your pastry ring to cut 2 six inch circles and 2 half circles. 


Place your ring on a serving plate. Line the inside of the ring with acetate. The acetate will stick up higher than the top of the ring.  If needed, use a small piece of tape to secure the acetate.

Start with the two half pieces of cake and place them in the bottom of the ring.  Fill in any extra space with scraps of cake.  Ensure that the bottom layer is flat.  Use a pastry brush to soak the cake layer with a portion of the vanilla milk.  Then top the layer with about 3 tablespoons of frosting.  Spread the frosting all the way to the edge of the cake, it will be a thin layer.  Top the frosting with crunchy crumbles.  Press them down gently to secure them in the frosting.  Top the crumbles with another portion of 3 tablespoons of frosting.  Again spread the frosting all the way to the edge of the cake.

Repeat the steps for the second layer – cake layer, milk soak, frosting, crunchy crumbles and frosting.

Add the third layer of cake.  Soak with the vanilla milk.  Cover with the remaining frosting.  Top with the remaining crunchy crumbles.

Place cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Alternative Preparation

This cake is make as a sheet cake and then cut into circles so the interior sprinkles show on the outside of the finished cake. 

The cake would be just as delightful prepared in 3×6-inch layer pans.  This amount of batter would also work for 2×8-inch layers or one single 13×9 inch cake. 

If you prefer not to use the cake ring and acetate, you could decorate as normal leaving the sides of the cake bare. 

gluten free funfetti cake

How to Store This Cake

This cake should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

gluten free milk bar birthday cake

If you love copycat recipes, check out these great posts!

(Copycat) Gluten Free Fudge Rounds

(Copycat) Easy Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Gluten Free Copycat Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free, Vegan Thin Mint Cookies

Gluten Free Pumpkin Oatmeal Cream Pies

To pin this recipe for later, click the save button on any image in this post or the recipe card.  Please tag me @wellfedbaker on Instagram if you make this recipe! 

gluten free milk bar birthday cake

Gluten Free Milk Bar Birthday Cake

No need to travel to NYC to taste the famous Milk Bar Birthday Cake. This copycat recipe is just like the original made gluten free and dairy free.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 42 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 611kcal


For the crunchy crumbles

  • C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob's Red Mill
  • ½ C Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Rainbow Sprinkles
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ C Vegan Butter melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

For the cake

  • 1 ¾ C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend 259 grams
  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • C Vegan Butter room temperature
  • C Olive Oil
  • 1 ¼ C Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs room temperature
  • C Non-Dairy Milk room temperature
  • C Rainbow Sprinkles

For the milk soak

  • ¼ C Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

For the frosting

  • ½ C Vegan Butter
  • 4 oz Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 ¼ C Powdered Sugar sifted
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Lemon Juice


For the crunchy crumbles

  • Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the crumble ingredients. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until they form a crumbly dough.
  • Sprinkle the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, breaking it into various size clumps.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely on the baking sheet. They will continue to get more crunchy as they cool.

For the cake

  • Once the crumbles are done baking, raise your oven temperature to 350F degrees.
  • Grease a 13x9 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, oil and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the vanilla.
  • Add the eggs one at a time beating for 30 seconds in between each addition. Scrape down the bowl. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for 4 minutes. The mixture should become very fluffy.
  • Turn your mixer to the lowest setting. Add half of your flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk. Mix just until combined. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients have been incorporated.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the rainbow sprinkles. Fold them in by hand, taking care not to over-mix and break the sprinkles (it will cause the colors to bleed when baked).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Let rest for 10 minutes before baking.
  • Bake for 32-35 minutes in preheated oven. The cake is done when the top springs back when gently poked near the middle and the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan.
  • Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the milk soak

  • Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to assemble cake.

For the frosting

  • Combine vegan butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the vanilla, salt, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Mix slowly at first until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Then turn your mixer to high speed and beat for 5 minutes until fluffy.

To assemble the cake

  • Place cooled cake on a piece of parchment paper
  • Use a 6-inch pastry ring to cut 2 full circles and 2 half circles out of the rectangular cake.
  • Place your pastry ring on a serving plate. Use a piece of acetate to create a cake collar inside the ring. The acetate should stick up higher than the ring.
  • First place the 2 half circles in the bottom of the pastry ring. This will be your bottom later. Use cake scraps to fill in any gaps in the center. Ensure that the layer is flat.
  • Using a pastry brush, soak the first layer of cake with a little more than 1 Tbsp of the vanilla milk soak.
  • Add 3 Tbsp of frosting on top of the cake layer and spread to the edge of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the crunchy crumbles on top of the frosting, making an even layer. Press them down gently with your hand to settle them in the frosting.
  • Add another 3 Tbsp of frosting on top of the crumbles. Again, spread it to the edge of the cake.
  • Repeat the steps with the second layer of cake - cake, milk soak, frosting, crumbles, then more frosting.
  • For the final layer, place the cake in the ring.
  • Brush with the milk soak.
  • Top with all of the remaining frosting and sprinkle with the remaining crumbles.
  • Refrigerate or freeze the cake inside of the cake collar to set the icing. Once set, you can remove the acetate.


Sodium: 688mgCalcium: 127mgVitamin C: 2mgVitamin A: 1091IUSugar: 61gFiber: 4gPotassium: 64mgCholesterol: 49mgCalories: 611kcalTrans Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 7gFat: 29gProtein: 6gCarbohydrates: 84gIron: 2mg
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