Two of my new cookbooks feature recipes calling for malted milk powder. In fact, the Baked Boys consider it one of their essential ingredients. It evidently has a long history as an ingredient in American desserts, as Julie Richardson included a malted milk chocolate cupcake recipe in her Vintage Cakes book, as well.
Julie Richardson specifies in her recipe that the malted milk powder not be Ovaltine. Ovaltine, of course, is the only kind of malted milk powder available in regular Belgian grocery stores, so I imported Carnation brand malted milk powder from ShopRite. The container holds 13 ounces and the recipe called for a whopping 10 of those ounces. So this experiment has pretty much depleted my reserves… here’s hoping I can find another supplier!
The cupcakes were good, nice and moist, they rose nicely and stayed “perky”. The texture of the frosting went well with the cupcakes.
In terms of a chocolate rating, they weren’t exceptionally chocolate-y, so don’t turn to these if you need a chocolate rush. They also weren’t super malt-y. That’s definitely not a bad thing, especially as I think some people might be a bit wary of so much malt… But I did expect more of a malt bang for my 10 ounces of malt buck.
What’s nice about these cupcakes is the texture and the general yumminess. The malt adds some interest to an otherwise ordinary chocolate cupcake and it’s not too intensely sweet, chocolate-y or malt-y to make it hard to finish one. On the contrary, I was very tempted to finish more than one and feedback from my husband’s (usually sugar-averse) colleagues was very positive 🙂
Definitely make the frosting in advance, as it needs to chill for two hours. It takes about 3 hours total to make with all of the steps. I have two mixing bowls for my stand mixer, so it wasn’t a problem to have the frosting chill in one while I mixed the batter in the other. If you don’t have two mixing bowls, you can easily prepare the chilled frosting in another bowl and transfer it to your cleaned stand mixer bowl while your cupcakes are baking or cooling.
Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes
From Vintage Cakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes (mine made 26)
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (5 ounces) malted milk powder (not Ovaltine)
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Malted Milk Chocolate Frosting (see below)
24 malted milk balls for garnish (optional)
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the malted milk powder and whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-resistant bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Once both are melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the oil until the mixture is uniform. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, pour in 1 cup of the milk, and blend with the paddle attachment on low speed until incorporated, scraping the bottom well to incorporate any dry-ingredient patches. Once combined, kick up the mixer to medium-high speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the paddle, sides, and bottom of the bowl. Whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of milk, the eggs, and the vanilla in a separate bowl and add half this mixture into the batter on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the second half of the mixture, blending until well combined.
Pour the thin batter into the paper-lined pans, filling the cups to just below the rim. Place the tins in the middle of the oven and bake until the cupcakes are perky and firm on the top, 24-26 minutes. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack until they reach room temperature.
Once cool, frost the cupcakes with the frosting and place a malted milk ball on top for decoration.
These cupcakes are best the day they are made, but keep for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Malted Milk Chocolate Frosting
From Vintage Cakes
Yield: makes about 4 cups (enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes)
12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or chips (I was worried about this being too sweet, so I used about half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate)
1 cup (5 ounces) malted milk powder
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, and cut into small cubes
Put the chocolate into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Put the malted milk powder into a small saucepan and whisk in the heavy cream 1/2 cup at a time to prevent the malt from forming clumps. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat, stirring often, until the cream begins to bubble around the edge of the pan. (Malted milk powder is essentially sugar, so it will burn unless you keep stirring the cream.) Pour the cream over the chocolate and swirl the bowl so that all the chocolate is coated with the hot cream. Place a lid or plastic wrap over the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid or wrap and slowly begin to whisk the mixture, starting with small circles in the middle and working your way outward until you have a smooth, glossy frosting. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 2 hours.
To finish the frosting, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and fit it into the stand mixer. Beat the butter into the frosting with the whisk attachment: begin adding a few butter pieces on low speed, then add more as soon as the butter has been incorporated into the frosting. Once the butter has all been added, mix the frosting on medium-high speed until it is thick and creamy. If the frosting seems too soft, just pop it back into the refrigerator to chill before frosting the cupcakes.
Covered with plastic wrap at room temperature, this frosting keeps for up to 3 days. Refrigerated, it lasts for 7 days.