Today is my husband’s birthday! He turns 24 today – he’s getting old, isn’t he? I wanted to give him a great birthday this year, since we’ve been so much since we moved to New York from Phoenix and he deserves it! He is always there when I need him, to comfort me or to tell me to toughen up when I’m being irrational – he’s everything that I need and more, so what better way to show him how much I love him than to make the cake that he’s been begging me to make ever since I got my Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook: the infamous Malted Milk Ball Cake. I really went all out for this gorgeous cake. I bought malt balls from Jacques Torres, cake flour and malted milk powder from King Arthur Flour, and I used Guittard baking chocolate. I even went out and bought a turning cake stand so I could get the frosting nice and smooth. I really wanted this cake to shine, and I think it did. You can really taste the malted milk powder in the cake, which is unlike anything you’ve ever had before, I promise! The frosting is really simple and straightforward: just butter, chocolate, and cream – no powdered sugar! Each bite is rich, decadent, and just what you would want to eat on your birthday. To be honest, Kramer and I loved it so much, that we each had a big piece for breakfast the next morning! I’m sad to report that every last bit of this cake is gone, but I will definitely be making it again. It was, without a doubt, the best cake I’ve ever made.
I also threw Kramer a surprise party, where we were able to share this cake with our friends. Kramer blew out his candles, and I was so happy that the surprise went off without a hitch! Our friend Morgan was in charge of keeping him busy all day while I cooked Kramer’s favorite – Mexican food, of course! Kramer’s sister, Rachel, was there, too, as well as Lindsey, from Little Seed, Big Apple, and some other blog-less friends (that we love anyway). Everyone enjoyed the cake, of course, and Kramer was very happy with his party. I hope that I’ve convinced you to make this cake, and maybe even to throw someone you love a surprise party! Happy Birthday, Kramer! I love you!
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
Whisk in the malted milk powder and set aside.
Beat together the butter and the shortening until smooth and creamy.
Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes.
Alternately add in the flour mixture and the water, starting and ending with the flour.
Whisk your egg whites until soft peaks form.
Then fold them into your batter.
Prepare your cake pans by lining them with parchment paper. Place the pans on a clean sheet of parchment, then cut out a circle by cutting around the pan with a knife.
Place the circle inside the pan and butter or spray with Pam.
Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans, then bake at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, until golden and set.
When the cake is cooled and ready to frost, make your frosting. Place your chocolate in your mixing bowl.
Heat your heavy cream and corn syrup until boiling, then pour it over the chocolate and allow it to sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate.
Whisk together the cream, corn syrup, and chocolate until smooth and completely melted. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, which should take about 10-15 minutes.
When the frosting is at room temperature, add in the butter cubes and beat until well combined. Place in the fridge for 5-8 minutes to firm up a bit, but not too long, otherwise it will harden.
Place your first layer on your work surface and slice the top off so it is even. Place about a cup of frosting on this first layer and frost.
Continue to do this until you have used up all of your layers.
Put a crumb coat on your cake, which is a thin layer of frosting that will harden and protect the finished product from looking messy. Place the cake with its crumb coat in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
When your crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with your remaining frosting.
Top with your malt balls and put in the fridge to set. Bring the cake out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes before you are ready to serve it.
- Baked Note: White cake, by nature, is delicate. When assembling this cake, the layers should be handled very gently. You might want to wrap the completely cooled cake layers in plastic wrap or foil and freeze them for 1 hour before icing and frosting the cake. I did not do this, but that's only because I didn't see this note in the book! I think it would have been much easier to trim the layers if I had done this, but the cake turned out beautifully nevertheless.
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup malted milk powder
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups ice cold water
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- For The Milk Chocolate Frosting:
- 8 ounces (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I just used chips)
- 8 ounces (1 cup) milk chocolate, finely chopped (I just used chips)
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Malted milk balls, for decoration (Whoppers, Maltesers, etc.)
- First, make the malt cake layers. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Cut out parchment circles for 3 8-inch rounds (see photos above) by placing the pans on parchment, then using a knife to cut out a circle in their exact size. Place this parchment circle inside of your pan, then spray with non-stick spray or lightly butter. Dust the bottoms of the pans with flour, then knock out any excess flour. This will keep your cake from sticking to the pan.
- Sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk in the malted milk powder and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add in the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, and mix until just combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. I had to do this in my mixer, so I emptied the flour and water mixture into a large bowl, rinsed out my mixing bowl, and put my four eggs whites in there. Do not overbeat the whites. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, and the cakes are lightly golden and set. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
- Now make the milk chocolate frosting. Place both of the chocolates in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil, then remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Whisk the chocolate mixture with the heavy cream mixture until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on medium speed gradually add the cubed butter pieces and mix until throughly incorporated. The frosting should be completely smooth and have a silky look. Place in the fridge to firm up for about 5 minutes, until it is firm enough to use and can just hold its shape (remember, this is not a frosting made with powdered sugar, so it will not be as thick).
- Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trip the top of the cake to create a flat surface and evenly spread about 1 cup of frosting on the top. Top with the next layer, trim and frost the top, then add the third layer and trim so that it is flat. You are going to crumb coat the cake now, which is to add a very thin layer around the entire cake so that when it is frosted for the final time, no crumbs will show through the frosting. Crumb coat the cake and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes, to firm up. After the cake has been chilled, frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the cake with the malted milk balls and refrigerate. Bring the cake out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to serve it.
- This cake will keep well in a cake saver at room temperature (cool and humidity free) for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days.