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Chocolate Malted Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream
cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, frosting from Cook’s Illustrated

{Note: I made 1/3 of the cupcake recipe, which yielded 9 cupcakes.  I made 1/2 of the frosting recipe, which was just barely enough to top them.} 

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 1/4 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

2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Malted milk balls and chocolate sprinkles, for garnish

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, both sugars, the baking soda and salt together.  Whisk the milk and malt powder in a measuring cup.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, flour mixture and milk mixture until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Beat in the sour cream and vanilla, mixing just until combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans, filling each well about half full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pans.  Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:  Stir the heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt together in a small bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until it is completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat in the heavy cream mixture.  Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. (The frosting can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated.  When you are ready to use it, let it come to room temperature and then beat briefly.)

Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Frost the cupcakes, then garnish with malted milk balls and chocolate sprinkles, if desired.

Makes 28 cupcakes