Growing up I used to love going to Thrifty’s Drugstore (now known as Rite Aid in California) to get ice cream. At 35 cents a scoop you couldn’t beat the price and it was darn good! I usually rotated between two flavors, either Mint Chocolate Chip or their infamous Chocolate Malted Crunch. And yes, to this day I have been known to pick up a 1/2 gallon of it or so. You really can’t blame me—chocolate flecks with little malt balls enrobed in malt ice cream…..Who can resist??? My sibs also love Chocolate Malted Milk Shakes–YUM!
Thus was my inspiration to give these “Chocolate Malt” cuppies a try. I turned to Martha Stewart’s recipe and was happy to find that my sister had a jar of Horlicks Malt Powder on hand. I did make two minor tweaks to her recipe as I read that folks found that the cake didn’t have enough malt flavor. As a result, I increased the malt powder amount by an additional 1/4 cup and folded in a 1/2 cup of chocolate covered malt balls into the batter. As for the recipe, it was quite easy to follow–pretty much a one bowl situation. And when I pulled the cuppies out of the oven, I was pleased to see beautiful even domes on the tops.
The Chocolate Malt Buttercream was a great pairing for the cuppies, too–giving it that extra oompf of malt flavor. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I topped them each with chocolate covered malt balls. Hey, I never said this was low-calorie :)
Chocolate Malt Cupcakes…..same great flavors as a Chocolate Malted Milk Shake without the potential brain freezes :)
2¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Milk
1½ Cups Malted Milk Powder
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 Cup Sour Cream, at room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ Cup Chocolate Covered Malt Balls, chopped
Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening, at room temperature
½ Cup Malted Milk Powder
2-4 Tablespoons Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
2 Teaspoons Instant Espresso Powder
3 Tablespoons Milk
4 Cups Confectioner Sugar, sifted
*Chocolate Covered Malt Balls and Straws to garnish (Optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, both sugars, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk and malted milk powder until powder is dissolved.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat flour mixture, milk mixture and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and vanilla, and beat just until combined. Fold in crushed chocolate covered malt balls.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter and shorting for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Sprinkle in malted milk powder, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Whip for 1 minute. Slowly add the powdered sugar a few spoonful at a time, letting it incorporate until the frosting becomes thicker and stiff. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time and whip until combined.
Fill bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of cupcakes. Top with candies and straw garnish.
**Note: I was able to make these cuppies extra special by using the wonderfully decadent Valrhona Cocoa Powder for both the cake and the buttercream. Valrhona is quite arguably one of the best chocolates/cocoa to bake with and adds a lovely intense/pure flavor. With that said, I was able to get away with only using 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in the buttercream where I may have needed more had I used another brand.**