Recipe Review: Momofuku Cinnamon Bun Pie

I had a 1/2 recipe of “Mother Dough”, Christina Tosi’s versatile bread dough, left over from making Momofuku Bagel Bombs, so I decided to use the rest on the Cinnamon Bun Pie recipe in the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.  In this recipe, the “Mother Dough” is used as the crust of a pie.  There are two additional sub-recipes, Liquid Cheesecake and Cinammon Streusel.  Liquid Cheesecake is a pliable version of cheesecake filling that is made of cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, salt, egg, and milk.  The book calls for baking the liquid cheesecake in plastic wrap, but in my previous experience making Liquid Cheesecake for the Carrot Layer Cake, the plastic wrap melted at 300 F, so I baked it in parchment paper instead. Cinnamon Streusel is really easy: mix together dry ingredients (flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon) and then mix in melted butter to make a crumble.

To assemble, the dough is rolled out and placed in a pie pan.  Brown butter is spooned on top, then liquid cheesecake, then more brown butter, brown sugar, cinammon, and salt, then more liquid cheesecake, and finally a topping of cinnamon streusel.  The whole pie is baked at 350 for about 40-45 minutes.

I thought the final Cinnamon Bun Pie was good.  Each individual component is tasty, but the final product with the layers of brown butter, brown sugar, cheesecake, and cinnamon streusel is a little over the top in sweetness and richness for my taste (shocking, I know).  Good recipe for someone with a (really) sweet tooth.

Roadmap to Momofuku Carrot Layer Cake (with cookies along the way!)

Okay, this might be a little crazy.  Making the Momofuku Carrot Layer Cake has been an epic journey that has taken four weeks.  It started with Milk Crumbs, which I used to make the Blueberries and Cream Cookies.  I only used half of the Crumbs and so I needed to use them in something else.  I also wanted to make the Compost Cookies, which required 1/4 recipe of the Graham Crust.  Having both Milk Crumbs and Graham Crust, I thought, I’ve come this far, I can make the Carrot Layer Cake. This would then require Carrot Cake + Liquid Cheesecake + Graham Frosting + obtain acetate strips from TAP Plastics and a 6″ cake ring from Sur la Table. I have baked cakes before, but nothing like this. To date, the only recipes that have topped this in terms of effort and time are the Momofuku Ramen Noodles and the Tartine Croissants.

Onward. I started with the carrot cake, using organic carrots from the farmer’s market. The carrot cake wasn’t overly complicated, and actually none of the components are technically difficult, but they do require a blender and stand mixer. A kitchen scale is helpful but not absolutely required.

The most rewarding part was the assembly. I love it when a plan comes together. The carrot cake, topped with liquid cheesecake, sprinkled with milk crumbs, then topped with graham frosting. Set in the freezer overnight, and thaw in the refrigerator the next day for Thanksgiving dinner.

Some tips I learned along the way:

1. The book calls for a 10″ x 13″ pan, which I couldn’t find at Sur la Table or Target. A standard sized 9″ x 13″ pan was a little small for stamping out two 6″ cake layers. This can be corrected by using some cake trimmings.

2. When making the liquid cheesecake, regular grocery store plastic wrap will melt when baked at 300 F.  Next time I would try using parchment paper or foil or maybe nothing at all.

3. If you prepare the graham frosting ahead of time and refrigerate it, wait for it to return to room temperature before spreading it on the cake.

The verdict?  The carrot cake is really moist and flavorful.  Liquid cheesecake is delicious.  The milk crumb provides pops of flavor and texture.  Graham frosting is buttery and creamy and delicious.

Was it worth it? Totally.

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