Chocolate Malt Cake

Shannon Vavich
A very special cake for the special people in your life. Creamy, chocolatey with that malt flavor that's so deep and delicious. You'll need to order "malted milk powder" for this recipe.

Chocolate Malt Cake

A very special cake for the special people in your life. Creamy, chocolatey with that malt flavor that's so deep and delicious. You'll need to order "malted milk powder" for this recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
cooling time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 40 mins


  • measuring cups and spoons
  • three 8-inch round cake pans
  • heavy duty mixer or a hand mixer
  • rubber spatula
  • various prep bowls to hold your pre- measured ingredients (optional)
  • a medium mixing bowl for the dry ingredients
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • offset spatula
  • large bowl to attach to your mixer or to use with hand mixer
  • cake pedestal or plate
  • a stainless serving spoon for moving flour and batter


Pan Preparation

  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup flour

Chocolate Malt Cake

  • 1 ½ cups butter, unsalted softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean flecks
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • cup malted milk powder
  • 1 cup strong coffee cooled to room temperature
  • simple syrup for dousing cakes optional

Chocolate Malt Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter unsalted, 2 sticks, softened
  • ½ cup malted milk powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar or 1 pound box
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or a flecks from a vanilla bean (see photo)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp milk


Chocolate Malt Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, F. To prepare your pans for baking, rub each with shortening, completely covering the internal surfaces of each pan. Then roll flour over every part of the shortening. Or you could use a baking spray like "Baker's Joy".
  • Assemble your ingredients. If you can, pre-measure each ingredient into a small prep bowl. It's really helpful to do this, especially if you distract easily (like me), and/or if you have small children running around.
  • Be sure that the butter is softened enough that you can easily run a spoon or spatula through it.
  • Gather the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, malted milk powder and the cocoa powder.
  • Combine them in a medium size mixing bowl and stir with a whisk.
  • Next, put the softened butter in the bowl of your mixer. Whip the butter until smooth and glossy.
  • Add the white sugar and the brown sugar, and whip again until fluffy.
  • At the four eggs, one at a time. Whip in-between each addition. Add the vanilla extract or the vanilla bean flecks at this time.
  • Using a utility/serving spoon, start to transfer the flour/cocoa mix into the whipped butter and egg mix. Spoon about 1/3 of the flour mix into the bowl, then stir with your mixer on the lowest setting. It's important here to run your mixer as little, and as gently as possible during this step.
  • Add about 1/3 of the cooled coffee, then repeat these two steps until your flour mix and your coffee have been added and mixed into the whipped butter mix. Stir carefully from here on out.
  • Now you have a nice rich batter. Be sure to use a rubber spatula to stir the batter and pull up the unmixed bits at the bottom of the bowl. Fold them gently into the batter.
  • Spoon your batter into the prepared baking pans. This is a thick batter, almost like brownie batter so you will need to do your best to smooth it out with an offset spatula so it covers the bottom of each pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees, F. 40-45 minutes, although you will need to keep an eye on it and test for doneness. You can use the toothpick method, but I prefer to use my fingers to lift just a bit of the top crumb and peek below to see if the batter is still liquid underneath, or bubbled and baked. If it's still liquid, bake for another five minutes, then test again.
  • Cool cakes (in pans) on wire racks and overturn each cake onto the rack when it's cool enough to touch – but still warm. You can now douse the cake with simple syrup to prevent dryness. If you'd like to learn more about simple syrup and other pro baking techniques, please register for my upcoming class on baking cakes from scratch.

Chocolate Malt Buttercream

  • While the cake layers are cooling (and soaking up the simple syrup if you applied it) start making the Chocolate Malt Buttercream by melting the 2 cups of chocolate in a the microwave, in a medium sized bowl. Put chocolate in microwave and set for 30 seconds. Take bowl out and stir. Photographed is after one 30 second interval.
  • Repeat this process. Photographed is after the second 30 second interval.
  • Repeat this process. Photographed is after the third 30 second interval. You will see the chocolate melt before your eyes as you stir. If you've gone three intervals and your chocolate is still not melted and smooth, microwave for 15 second intervals then stir. You want to melt the chocolate in small intervals (stirring between) because this will allow the chocolate to melt and not scorch. If you chocolate scorches, it will be unusable.
  • When your chocolate is close to room temperature and lukewarm to touch, assemble your other ingredients.
  • In a clean mixing bowl, whip the butter until fluffy. Add the malted milk powder to the butter and mix well. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in-between each addition. Add the vanilla extract (or flecks), a pinch of salt, and the milk.
  • Whip well until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy. You may detect some "graininess" from the malted milk powder, but it will dissolve in the butter by the time you serve your cake.

Icing the Cake

  • Place one layer on a clean cake plate. If you find it slides around, lift it up gently and plop one spoonful of buttercream on the plate, then place the cake layer on top. This should tack it down and prevent it from sliding. Next stack the cakes, sandwiching each piece around a thick layer of buttercream.
  • Ice tip of the cake, and the sides. For a big "swooshy" pattern like this use a large spatula and take your time.
  • Serve to your family and/or friends. It will be a hit! Thanks for trying this recipe!
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