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This Malted Chocolate Cake makes a “whopper” chocolate cake recipe perfect for celebrating all sort of occasions – or just because! 

This Malted Chocolate Cake makes a "whopper" chocolate cake recipe perfect for celebrating all sort of occasions - or just because! //

Sam threw me a bit of a curve ball yesterday. For a while now, he’s requested red velvet cake for his birthday. I took it for granted that he’d have the same request this year.

As I was talking to him over breakfast yesterday morning, I mentioned that I would be frosting his cake while he was in classes. Low and behold, that’s when he said, “Good deal. I’m looking forward your chocolate cake.”



“Great! I’ve got it all planned out for ya!”

Goodness, what a fib!

While technically a red velvet cake falls under the category of a chocolate cake, I knew what he meant.

Thankfully, my chocolate cake couldn’t get much easier to make, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to whip it together right quick. The problem was, I wanted to do something just a wee bit different for him for his birthday.

That’s when I realized that we had a few Whoppers left over from Halloween and I knew just what to do with them! Since they are Sam’s absolute favorite candy at the moment, I decided to turn his cake into a Malted Chocolate Cake!

I made a quick trip to the grocery store and grabbed malted milk powder. Now, I want to make sure to explain that there are two types of malted milk powder. Not to get all nerdy on you, but just so that you know the difference if you decide to make this cake, too. There is diastatic malted milk powder and nondiastatic malted milk powder.

Diastatic malted milk powder is primarily used in bread baking as it contains enzymes that help the dough rise and helps to form a crusty bread. Nondiastatic malted milk powder on the other hand does not contain those enzymes and is used mainly for flavoring in milkshakes, drinks and other items – like this cake!

Then, just so everyone knew something was a little different with my cake, I added a few Whoppers for decoration.

Here’s my Malted Chocolate Cake Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

4.84 from 6 votes

Malted Chocolate Cake Recipe

Dessert 45 mins

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 24
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
This Malted Chocolate Cake makes a “whopper” chocolate cake recipe perfect for celebrating all sort of occasions – or just because!


Malted Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Malted Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • cups butter , softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder


  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

For the Cake:

  • Add flour, malted milk powder, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  • Add milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter. Cake batter will be very thin.
  • Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

For the malted chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • Add cocoa and malted milk powder to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps. Cream together with butter until well-combined with an electric mixer.
  • Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  • Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  • If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 408IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

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Robyn xo

This Malted Chocolate Cake makes a "whopper" chocolate cake recipe perfect for celebrating all sort of occasions - or just because! //

Frosting / Icing Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review


  1. I absolutely love the pairing of chocolate and malt flavourings.,I actually made a malted marbled chocolate cake for our daughters birthday this year! I really like the idea of making a full on chocolate cake, with the malt flavouring and your cake AND the frosting look utterly sublime. Absolutely fab recipe thank you for sharing it. Sammie.

  2. Again, you are the most AWESOME Mom on the planet! Wish I was your next-door neighbor because I would have happily taken the red velvet cake and scrumptious frosting off your hands! I have no doubt that in the years to come your son will ALWAYS remember his Mom’s acts of love, especially those extra special birthday ones.

    1. Hi Donna,
      I usually find it in my local grocery store and just checked and confirmed that Walmart has it available online.

    1. Hi Kat,
      I did put malted chocolate balls on the top of this cake – I believe I used Whoppers. Thanks! xo

  3. 4 stars
    Hi there
    Made this cake today for my mum’s birthday, but it sank drastically, each of the 2 layers only ending up being about 3/4 inch high. So I made it again, in case I’d done something wrong, (plus I needed to give this layer cake some height!) and guess, they sank too!
    I bake all the time (literally twice a week for school tuckshop and for home), know my oven very well, use good quality ingredients. Measured amounts correctly, followed the recipe exactly. I tested my bicarb (vinegar test) after the first cake and it’s good, baking powder is new. Use a cake skewer to test if done. Used 9 inch pans as indicated.
    I make your other chocolate cake all the time without any problems. It is identical but with the malted milk adjustment (I used Nestle’s malted milk drink by the way), so I can’t see why this one didn’t work.
    So I’m kind of scratching my head on this one!!! Help! Any ideas? I love malt flavour, and I so wanted this to work!
    You don’t specify whether the oven temp is conventional or fan. I ran my temp a little lower (165C), as I used the fan plus my oven tends to run a little hot anyway. I use this temp for your other chocolate cake recipe without a problem. I baked only 2 days ago without a problem, so I don’t think my oven is broken.
    I think the malted milk is the right kind as it’s a drinking one (Nestle brand). But maybe it’s the reason??
    In the end it was 4 layers, and tasted yummy, so I can’t complain too much. But as a regular baker, I don’t tend to have things fail, so I’m not really used to this!! And I like to get to the bottom of tings! Plus it would be nice to make it again, and not have to make it twice to get 4 layers.
    Would love any advice you can give me on what I could have done wrong.

    1. You need to use a baking malt and not one that you get in the mix with milk department of the grocery store.  I ordered mine through Amazon.  No added sugars or anything.  It was Barry Farm brand came in a 1 pound bag.

  4. The recipe says “malted milk powder” but in the reply to a comment dated 8/12/18 you state that it should be baking malt. I would have assumed that Carnation Malted Milk powder would work if I had not seen that reply. What is the difference? Is it the didastic malt used in making bread?

    1. Hi Barbara,
      You do use a malted milk powder – a reader left the comment on the date you mention, not me. Carnation Malted Milk powder – not the instant drink mix – will work fine in the recipe. The reader who left the comment was kindly trying to help the commenter who’d used a drink mix in the cake and had problems with it turning out as it should have.
      I hope this helps and that you enjoy the cake! It’s delicious! xo

    1. Hi Bernadine,
      You can omit the espresso powder if you choose.
      Make sure to use Malted Milk Powder used in baking – not the instant drink mix.
      Hope you enjoy it! xo

  5. 5 stars
    Loved the cake and the frosting. I baked it as 26 cupcakes. I cut the frosting recipe in half and still had a little leftover after generously frosting all 26 cupcakes! The malt flavor was subtle but I could taste it in the frosting. Overall, a delectable cupcake! Thank you for the recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Made the cake over the weekend. It was a hit with my family. My daughter even requested for her birthday cake in July. Very moist. The malt flavor was subtle. Might try adding a little more malted milk powder next time.

  7. Hi Robyn, for the frosting, you don’t say anything about the butter. When do you add this? the directions sound like it may be incomplete. Can you help me here?

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thanks for catching that. You cream the butter, cocoa, and malted milk powder together until well combined and then add sugar and milk according to the instructions. The recipe instructions have been updated. Thanks!

  8. Hello! Would the recipe be the same for a bundt cake pan? I don’t have 2 9″ cake pans 🙁

    1. You can make this recipe in a Bundt pan, Caroline. You would just need to bake a little longer.

  9. Does malt powder has to be chochlate flavor?or simple malt powder is fine?which one do you recommend.
    Also butter is unsalted?

    1. Xana, the malt powder does not have to be chocolate. I use salted butter. Hope this helps.

  10. Hi I was hoping to make this for my birthday. Can I use malted chocolate powder like Milo or Ovaltine? I was looking for a cake with a specifically malted chocolate taste. Thank you!

    1. I love coffee, but for my family members who really don’t like it, should I skip the espresso powder? I don’t want to ruin the recipe but if they detect any coffee flavor, it will ruin the cake for them. Is it possible that espresso powder tastes nothing like coffee in this recipe? Thanks!

    2. You can just omit the espresso powder, Alanea. I have never tasted coffee in the cake. It just enhanced the chocolate flavor to me.

  11. Hi there. My cake fell pretty flat once I took it out of the oven. What did I do wrong? Instructions were followed precisely.

    1. Rachel, there could be several reasons your cake fell. If you live in a high altitude area, your cake would rise fast in the oven and then fall. The best site I have found for high altitude cooking is Colorado State University Extension. Another reason is taking the cake of the oven before it has completely cooked. Make sure that you are not overfilling each of your cake pans when you divide it between them. Make sure that you are not opening and closing your oven door during the baking. Make sure you don’t over beat the cake batter. Humidity can also make a difference. If there is a lot of moisture in the air, the moisture can cause this to happen as well. I hope this helps.