I was looking for a simple cake to offset some of the more elaborate confections I made for my birthday party. This one, a simple vanilla Bundt cake with malted milk powder as a secret ingredient, was just the one. It was a huge hit, with the flavor depth curtesy of the malted milk powder, the crumb, and the vanilla glaze…
It goes well with ice cream, with whipped cream, with fresh fruit or just by itself. It can be a dessert, but also a coffee cake for an afternoon tea.
I did have to chuckle, though, as I was making it. The note at the beginning of the recipe mentions that this cake can be put “together in the same amount of time it takes you to brew a cup of coffee” and suggests that it’s so easy it can be made while half asleep. Now, don’t get me wrong: it’s not a hard recipe to follow. But there are enough separate steps (and different bowls) required that I would recommend being a bit awake. Especially the first time you make it…
Vanilla Bean Malt Cake
Yield: One 6-cup Bundt cake (Note: if you don’t have a 6-cup Bundt pan, you can absolutely make this cake in the more common 10-cup Bundt pan. It will be shorter, or course – but it will taste exactly the same. You don’t necessarily have to adjust the baking time when going from a 6-cup to a 10-cup pan, but check the cake early and often for doneness just to be sure.
For the Vanilla Bean Malt Cake
1 teaspoon good-quality bourbon
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon malted milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces ( 1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
For the Vanilla Glaze
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (impalpable), plus more if needed
2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the vanilla bean malt cake
Preheat the oven to 325F. Generously coat the inside of a 6-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it thoroughly, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
Place the bourbon in a small bowl. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using the tip of a knife or a small spoon, scrape the seeds into the bourbon. Discard the vanilla bean pod or save it for another use. Stir the mixture to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for 15 seconds. Add the bourbon mixture and beat until well blended, about 20 seconds.
Turn the mixer to low, add about half of the flour mixture, then stream in the buttermilk. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 45 minutes. Gently loosen the sides of teh cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack to cool completely.
Make the vanilla glaze
Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. The glaze should be loose enough to drizzle. (If it is too thick, add a little more milk; if it is too loose, add a little more confectioners’ sugar.)
Drizzle the glaze over the cake in a zigzag pattern. Allow the glaze to set for 15 minutes prior to serving.
The cake can be stored at room temperature, covered with a cake dome or in a cake saver, for up to 3 days.