blissful eats with tina jeffers: chocolate malt cake

Yesterday was Mrs. French’s birthday!  I wanted to let her know that I am thinking of her so I made a cake that I thought she would like for this weeks recipe.  I am so sad that I wasn’t able to share this special occasion with her, but I’m sure that Mr. French put on his apron and got in the kitchen to whip her up something special, right?  Okay, maybe not.  

I know that she is fond of my chocolate malt sandwiches and I wanted to try to capture the same flavors and textures in a cake.   The result is actually a combination of several different recipes, the cake is from Barefoot Contessa, the frosting from Martha Stewart and the malted milk crumbs are from the new Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook (which you must really purchase if you are interested in baking desserts at all).  The chocolate cake recipe is my favorite chocolate cake recipe ever, moist, chocolaty, not too sweet, I would love to eat it plain for breakfast if I could get away with it.  What makes this cake unique are the malted crumbs, they add a sweet, salty crunch and gives the cake an extra layer of texture.

Know that I am thinking of you Mrs. French and I hope that we will be able to celebrate our friendship with many more birthdays, hopefully shared together in person.  But for now, let’s have a piece of cake.

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Chocolate Malt Cake 



For the cake:

         Butter for greasing the pans

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

1 cup sugar

1 cup malted milk powder

¾ cups good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

½ cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


For the malted crumbs:

          1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon nonfat milk powder

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup malted milk powder

2 ounces white chocolate, melted


For the frosting:

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup malted milk powder

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

3/4 cup sour cream  


For the malted milk crumbs:

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.  Ling a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until dried and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove milk crumble from oven and let cool completely. Transfer milk crumble to a large bowl and fold in 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons malted milk powder and white chocolate, tossing occasionally until the chocolate has hardened and the crumbs are no longer sticky. 

For the frosting:

Sift together sugar, cocoa, malt powder and salt.  Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.  Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually add sugar and cocoa mixture, and beat until combined.  Pour in chocolate in a slow, steady stream.  Add sour cream; beat until combined.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. 

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, malted milk powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.  With a knife cut the layer in half horizontally.  Repeat with other layer.  

Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal.  Using an offset spatula spread the top with frosting.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the milk crumbs on top of the frosting.  Repeat the process with two more layers.  Place the final layer on top, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

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