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Madge’s Malted Milk Ball Cake

February 23, 2011

One of the many fun things about working at Crate and Barrel is that we go all out when celebrating “big” birthdays. We also have some serious cake bakers on board so when I was asked if I could make this cake for a recent birthday I was flattered but not sure about pulling it off for a couple of reasons. I’d been told that the birthday girl’s mother had made this cake when she was growing up so I really wanted it to be just like the one she remembered and because I’ve never made a large cake so was not sure just increasing a recipe would work since I know there’s all kinds of science to baking. Another great thing about C&B is that it’s like a big family so I knew that if it was a “flop” it was the right group of people to do that with as much as I didn’t want to disappoint for this one. We tried to get the ‘original recipe’ from the birthday girl’s family but no go, so ‘asearching I went. I found several recipes on-line and dove in. I think most cooks will agree that we are our own worst critics so will tell you, while I thought it was ok, I didn’t think it was great. But because many people said it was really good, I thought I’d share it with you. You know me by now and know I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due so give a shout out to the blog The Baking Pan (who credits Paula Deen) for the cake recipe and my fellow blogger and Sister from the supper club I’ve mentioned before, Mara from What’s for Dinner, for her buttercream frosting recipe and advice (and Pioneer Woman’s – Tasty Kitchen whom she credits for the recipe) – whew, giving proper credit is complicated to get right so be sure to check out their blogs for more fun recipes.

Madge’s Malted Milk Ball Cake

Ingredients for 3 –  8″ layers. I doubled this and used 2 – 12″ round pans

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil ( I used 1/4 cup melted butter & 3/4 cup canola oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used 1/2 regular & 1/2 reduced fat)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9-inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour.          
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine milk and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve.
  4. Add milk mixture, vegetable oil, and eggs to flour mixture; use an electric mixer or wooden spoon and beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat just until mixture is combined.  
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling. 

Chocolate Malted Variation on The Best Buttercream Frosting

from TastyKitchen


  • 5 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (I used 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar!)
  • 1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (I added this to the original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup crushed malted milk balls
  • whole malted milk balls for decorating 


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk the flour and malted milk powder into the milk and then heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will get very thick (like brownie batter).
  2. Stir in the vanilla and set the mixture aside to cool completely to room temperature.
  3. While the mixture cools, cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. The little bit of sugar graininess will go away during the next step.
  4. Mix the cooled flour/milk/vanilla mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix on high-speed until very light and fluffy. The texture will be like whipped cream. **Note – the addition of the malted milk powder kept this from reaching it’s full ‘whipped cream’ potential, but was still really tasty.
  5. Frost cooled cake layers
  6. Sprinkle crushed malted milk balls on first layer and decorate top of cake with whole malted milk balls

Frost bottom layer of cake

Cover with crushed malted milk ball candy

Add second layer and frost

 Finish by frosting sides of cake, decorate, practice your voice scales and sing to your favorite Birthday girl or boy

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2011 10:23 pm

    What a brilliant idea to add malted milk powder – genius! This cake certainly is very decadent.
    🙂 Mandy

    • February 24, 2011 7:38 am

      Hi Mandy – I can’t take credit for the idea, just for putting the two recipes together. I went easy on the frosting as it was quite rich. Thanks for visiting my blog and for gathering such great posts on yours. Amy

  2. February 23, 2011 11:29 pm

    Love the idea of double icing…delicious! Lets give the credit here you did a marvellous job!

    • February 24, 2011 7:36 am

      Hi Yvette – not sure about down under but in the USA this is a traditional cake practice. Bake in two layers and frost the middle, top and sides. I used to make a chocolate cake when we lived in Italy where the idea of a sweet frosting would never fly and I’d cut each layer in two then freeze all 4, spread pureed strawberries and whipped cream over each layer then decorate the top with whole berries… Really good! I will make it and post when another occasion arises. Hope all is well with you in Italy. Amy

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