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More Nigella recipes

Chocolate Malteser Cake

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

This is one of those cakes that you make pretending it’s for the children. And of course they love it – and I have had more messages from people telling me that they’ve been under strict instructions to make this cake every single year for a child’s birthday more than just about any other cake – but it is no less enjoyed than by any adults hovering by the table, ready to snatch a slice.

The maltiness is not overpowering, but subtly present (I always use the original Horlicks and not, categorically not, the one labelled ‘light” and the Maltesers – or Malt Balls if you are Stateside – make for a beautiful if ramshackle crown.

And, by the way, the 15g (1 tablespoon) butter in the list of ingredients for the cake part is not a misprint!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This is one of those cakes that you make pretending it’s for the children. And of course they love it – and I have had more messages from people telling me that they’ve been under strict instructions to make this cake every single year for a child’s birthday more than just about any other cake – but it is no less enjoyed than by any adults hovering by the table, ready to snatch a slice.

The maltiness is not overpowering, but subtly present (I always use the original Horlicks and not, categorically not, the one labelled ‘light” and the Maltesers – or Malt Balls if you are Stateside – make for a beautiful if ramshackle crown.

And, by the way, the 15g (1 tablespoon) butter in the list of ingredients for the cake part is not a misprint!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Chocolate Malteser Cake
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Yields: 8-10 slices

Metric Cups

For the cake:

  • 150 grams soft light brown sugar
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175 millilitres milk
  • 15 grams butter
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons horlicks
  • 175 grams plain flour
  • 25 grams cocoa (sieved)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:

  • 250 grams icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 45 grams horlicks
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 x 37 grams packet (approx. 28-30 in number) maltesers

For the cake:

  • ¾ cup soft light brown sugar
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons horlicks
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (sieved)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:

  • 2¼ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ⅓ cup horlicks
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 3 ounces packet (approx. 28-30 in number) malted milk balls

Method

  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature (though it's not so crucial here, since you're heating the milk and butter and whisking the eggs).
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C/325°F. Butter and line two 20cm /8-inch loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk together the sugars and eggs while you weigh out the ingredients;I use a freestanding mixer here which explains why I can do both things at once. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a saucepan until the butter melts, and it is hot but not boiling. When the sugars and eggs are light and frothy, beat in the hot Horlicks mixture and then fold in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the cakes should have risen and will spring back when pressed gently. Let them cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes and then turn out of their tins.
  4. Once the cakes are cold, you can get on with the icing. I use processor just because it makes life easier: you don't need to sieve the icing sugar. So: put the icing sugar, cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.
  5. Sandwich the cold sponges with half of the buttercream, and then ice the top with what is left, creating a swirly top rather than a smooth surface. Stud the outside edge with a ring of Maltesers or use them to decorate the top in whichever way pleases you.
  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature (though it's not so crucial here, since you're heating the milk and butter and whisking the eggs).
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C/325°F. Butter and line two 20cm /8-inch loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk together the sugars and eggs while you weigh out the ingredients;I use a freestanding mixer here which explains why I can do both things at once. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a saucepan until the butter melts, and it is hot but not boiling. When the sugars and eggs are light and frothy, beat in the hot Horlicks mixture and then fold in the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the cakes should have risen and will spring back when pressed gently. Let them cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes and then turn out of their tins.
  4. Once the cakes are cold, you can get on with the icing. I use processor just because it makes life easier: you don't need to sieve the confectioners' sugar. So: put the confectioners' sugar, unsweetened cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.
  5. Sandwich the cold sponges with half of the buttercream, and then ice the top with what is left, creating a swirly top rather than a smooth surface. Stud the outside edge with a ring of malted milk balls or use them to decorate the top in whichever way pleases you.

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