Chocolate Malt Cupcakes with Vanilla Malt Buttercream

These are dangerous. Trust me when I say that you do not want these sitting in your kitchen all weekend. Make these, keep 1 (or maybe 2 or 3) for yourself and give the rest away, QUICKLY! Otherwise you will keep going back to the kitchen for more (and more and more).

The cupcake recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen cookbook (my new favorite!) with the addition of some malt powder and a little milk. This is a damn good cupcake. I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate usually. I'm . I'll take the lemon, berry, pumpkin, ginger, apple, or peanut butter dessert before chocolate most days. But every once in a while the chocolate craving sneaks up and this cupcake satisfied!

I had problems with the middle sinking for some reason (yes, they were cooked all the way. no, i didn't open the oven in the middle of cooking) but I didn't care too much because they tasted amazing. And besides it gave me more room to load on the icing... and trust me this is an icing that you will want every last drop of. The icing is definitely worthy of a "WOW!" It is definitely the star of this cupcake. The Vanilla Malt Buttercream is nothing short of addicting.

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes
Recipe (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
Makes: 24 cupcakes (I made 20 cupcakes and about 12 mini cupcakes)
  • 16 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup of malted milk powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup milk


  1. Adjust oven to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard size muffin pan (cups have 1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.
  3. Whisk flour, malt powder, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
  4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of the flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. (12 minutes for minis)
  6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

Vanilla Malt Buttercream
  • 2 sticks butter (room temperature)
  • 6 tablespoons malt powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 - 8 cups confectioners sugar
  1. Beat butter on low speed
  2. Add in malt powder, vanilla extract, milk, and 4 cups of sugar. Beat on low speed for 1 minute.
  3. Add in remaining sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on medium speed for a few minutes.


Anonymous said...

wow yum. excellent idea.

oneordinaryday said...

Sounds awesome. You can't even tell the middle sunk a little w/ all that yummy frosting.

Jennifer said...

Those are soooo great!!!! I loved whoppers as a kid!

BenMichaelJordan said...

Probably the best breakfast that I have had in the past 6 months! Very tasty!

Liz said...

I got the sinkage in the middle also when baking in metal pans with paper inserts. I had some extra batter and just threw it in some individual silicone cups and that rose up perfectly. I'll try them in a silicone pan next time.

Anonymous said...

Apparently its impossible to find malted milk powder around here. :( I'm using chocolate malted milk powder instead for the icing, and just skipped it entirely for the cupcake. They're still delicious :)

Manali + Terry said...

Wow! Awesome pics! What lens do you use?

SugarCooking said...

Thanks! Those pics were actually taken with the kit lens that came with my camera (the canon t1i). Now I'm using the "Cannon EF 50mm f/1.8" which I love!

Anonymous said...

this is a great recipe! I changed it a bit and used 4 cups less sugar and only about 2 tablespoons of milk and it still turned out great!

Neda said...

Not sure if you noticed, but your cupcake recipe calls for 1/3 c milk & no where in the directions does it say to add the milk. I just thought you should know. Making the cupcakes now for a birthday party & so far they smell delicious.

brightredcrayon said...

I've had terrible luck with the same sinking in the middle. I've made these twice now and had the issue both times. I'm going to try the silicone cups next time and see if that helps any. Oh, and these are pretty freakin' spectacular. I made the cupcakes for my bother's wedding reception and these were the number one hit!

Anonymous said...

this recipe sounds delish! When should the milk be added in?

SugarCooking said...

It is delish! Add the milk with the sour cream. Sorry I forgot that. I'll update it ASAP!

plangenberg said...

These are moist and delicious! They were not sunken, the batter made 28 regular. I froze half because they are too dangerous to leave out.

Lynette said...

I make this recipe as a regular cake for my daughter's birthday, and it was delicious! I couldn't find any malted milk either, so I bought a bunch of Whoppers and froze them overnight. The next day I tossed the frozen Whoppers into the food processor. Since the chocolate was frozen, it chopped up slower than the malt insides, leaving larger pieces of chocolate in the powder. I just sifted out the chocolate bits and voila! Malted milk powder! Also, I was very careful not to overmix the batter--more gentle folding than stirring, and just until it came together. I baked it in two 9" round cake pans and didn't have any trouble at all with it sinking in the middle. It was a big hit at the party, and the birthday girl loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

they are in the oven now.. since it didnt say to put in milk any where I didnt notice I was missing the milk at all
however i still got some batter left so Ill put in the missing milk!

Marcy said...

I think the problem w/ sinking may be too much baking soda. According to Shirley Corriher, you shouldn't have more than 1/4 tsp soda or 1 tsp powder per cup of flour. I cut back to 1/2 tsp soda.

They aren't out of the oven yet, but the batter is LOVELY.

Okay, must add to this! Mine didn't sink, and these are DELICIOUS. I used cake flour (and less baking soda) and they have the most wonderful texture and flavor. Thank you for the keeper recipe!

Anonymous said...

The best cupcake recipe i've made by far!! The icing is to die for!! Diet? What's that??!

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