Chocolate Malteser Cake

Birthdays usually present an opportunity to bake a cake that is too complicated, rich or time-consuming for lesser occasions. And I mean occasions like “it’s Monday and it’s been raining the whole day”, because I do bake cakes for such reasons, too.

My daughter delights in thinking up an impossibly complicated cake every year : “Can you make a cake in the shape of the Hogwarts castle?” (I didn’t). My son on the other hand, has steadfastly ordered the same cake for five years in a row: the Malteser cake from Nigella Lawson’s Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Even though this cake is not difficult to make, it looks celebratory and is popular with everyone. Our friend’s daughter, who is exactly 10 hours older than my son, fell for the cake, too. So her mother borrows my tartpans to make it for her daughter’s birthday party and then the next day I need them back to make it for my son (good thing they live around the corner). We then get to eat the cake two days in a row, but nobody minds.

Horlicks powder is not available where we live and we brought it back from England, just because of this cake. You could make it without the Horlicks powder and just add more cocoa, but the malted taste is what sets this cake apart.

Chocolate Malteser Cake
From Feast: Food to Celebrate Life
Nigella Lawson

The recipe says you get 8 to 10 slices, but I find that if you’re feeding children, you can get up to 12.

For the cake
150g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
100g (1/2 cup) superfine sugar
3 large eggs
175ml (3/4 cup) milk
15g (1tbsp) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Horlicks malted milk powder
175g (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
25g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing and decoration
250g (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
45g (1/3 cup) Horlicks malted milk powder
125g soft unsalted butter
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 x 37g  packets (2 oz) Maltesers

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.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/170C/ 325 F. Butter and line two 20cm (8 inch) loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.
Whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and frothy. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Beat the milk mixture into the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients thoroughly. 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 them out of their tins.
Once the cakes are cold, you can get on with the icing. I use a 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.
Sandwich the cold sponges with half of the buttercream, and then ice the top with what is left, creating a swirly pattern rather than a smooth surface. Stud the outside edge, about 1cm (1/2 inch), with a ring of Maltesers or use them to decorate the top in whichever way pleases you.

26 comments for “Chocolate Malteser Cake

  1. Jeannette
    02/02/2015 at 21:59

    Wonderful recipe! I’m in the USA and used Carnation malted milk powder in place of Horlick’s. I also used Whoppers candies instead of Maltesers. It was delicious!

    • vera@gtc
      03/02/2015 at 09:27

      Thank you, Jeannette, for sharing your substitutions – this will be very helpful to overseas readers!

  2. Zuzana
    25/07/2014 at 22:40

    I made it today and it’s absolutely amazing!!

    • vera@gtc
      04/08/2014 at 20:43

      So glad to hear that, Zuzana!

  3. Betty
    10/05/2014 at 18:12

    Hi, I just made this cake. I found after folding in the dry ingredients the mixture was very lumpy. I was conscious of over mixing but I did mix it for quiet some time. Nevertheless, I have just taken the cakes out of the oven and can see a few white spots of flour.
    Could you please explain how the wet and dry ingredients should be mixed? Thanks.

    • Betty
      10/05/2014 at 20:56

      Hi. Can this recipe be used for cup cakes?

      • vera@gtc
        11/05/2014 at 15:22

        Hi Betty, I don’t see why not, but I do not know how many you would get from this amount of batter. But if you fill the cups about 2/3 it should definitely work.

  4. AniaM
    16/01/2014 at 01:37

    Hi Vera, I am planning to bake this cake for kids for my engagement party this weekend (yay 🙂
    Is it absolutely necessary to bake in two tins or can I bake all batter in one and then slice it half?
    Gor Maltesers, but no track of Horlicks here in Canada… cocoa will have to do. thanks for the recipe!

    • vera@gtc
      16/01/2014 at 09:16

      Hi Anna, congratulations on your engagement! I have not done it myself but I think it must be possible to bake it in one tin and then slice in two. Only the baking time will probably be a little longer. Horlicks is hard to find even here in the Netherlands, I bring mine back from England. But you can make it with just cocoa, no problem. Good luck with your baking!

    • AniaM
      19/01/2014 at 04:10

      Hi again, I found Horlicks at Canadian store NoFrills. It’s a chain so should be widely available. Posting here as someone might find it useful.
      Vera, thank you for your answer and the recipe!

      • vera@gtc
        19/01/2014 at 19:21

        Thank you Ania – that will certainly be helpful!

  5. Clare Ivey
    25/01/2013 at 00:55

    For those in the US, we found Horlicks this evening at World Market.

    • vera@gtc
      25/01/2013 at 09:07

      Thank you Clare, for sharing the info!

  6. Sya
    06/12/2012 at 08:03

    How many tablespoon is 15 gram of butter? And how many cups is a 175gm of flour? Thanks!

    • vera@gtc
      06/12/2012 at 09:40

      Hi Sya,
      I added all the us measurements, hope you can make the cake now without any trouble!

  7. Dan D
    15/09/2012 at 15:22

    Hi…As soon as i seen this i just new i had to make it…Went straight down the shops and got the few things i didnt have…And its in the oven as i type this..Cant wait to try it…:)

    • vera@gtc
      19/09/2012 at 18:41

      I hope the cake lived up to your expectations!

  8. 11/09/2012 at 14:20

    can we make it without egg and oven and fridge and how

    • vera@gtc
      19/09/2012 at 18:42

      I’m afraid it is not possible, without fridge and oven you’ll have to opt for a diferent kind of cake.

  9. Nurafida
    21/06/2012 at 14:29

    hi! the cake looks so good! but i got a question here. how sweet is the cake? is it too sweet or just right? Im planning to bake it for my friend’s birthday 🙂

    • vera@gtc
      21/06/2012 at 19:26

      Well, this is a pretty difficult question to answer as everybody has a different view of “too sweet”. But I have made it many times and so far everybody loved it, so I would say it’s “just right”! Good luck with the baking!

  10. 11/11/2011 at 05:05

    I am an avid fan of the Maltesers chocolate. It would always be on the top of my list of favorite chocolates. (or a close tie with Godiva)
    I will definitely make this cake.I doubt if I can find Horlicks. But just the same you said, I can pull this through without it. This is heavenly. Can’t wait to try. Tanks for sharing…

    • vera@gtc
      11/11/2011 at 09:21

      I have made the cake without Horlicks (using a more cocoa) when we run out and it is definitely still worth it!

  11. 07/11/2011 at 22:23

    your cake looks sooo moist!

    • vera@gtc
      08/11/2011 at 08:21

      It is amazingly moist – considering there’s just about 1 tbsp butter in it!

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