Stiff Peaks

An indulgent journey into baking

Vanilla Malted Milk Cake

Sometimes you just have a craving for a milkshake, and sometimes you don’t have the ingredients or restaurant on hand to make your favourite. So, naturally, I tried to see if I could come up with a cake interpretation.


Recipe adapted from Hungry Rabbit: Vanilla Malted Milk Cake

Vanilla Malted Milk Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 125ml whole milk (or coconut milk)
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 200g cake flour
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 100g malted drink powder (Horlicks or Ovaltine)
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • cornflour to make cake flour if necessary

Vanilla Malted Milk Icing

  • 65ml whole milk (or coconut milk)
  • 160g malted drink powder
  • 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 335g unsalted butter
  • 185g icing sugar
  • 1/2tsp salt


  • 3x 20cm (or 2x 23cm) loose bottomed round cake tins (greased and lined with baking parchment)
  • oven preheated to 180º celsius (fan 160º)


Start by greasing and lining your tins. Dust the sides of the pan with flour if you don’t want to faff with lining the sides with greaseproof paper. With the pans lined and oven preheating, let’s get started on the cake mix. To make your cake flour, measure out 200g of plain flour, then put back 3 and a ½ tablespoons and substitute with the same amount of cornflour.

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla essence. In a larger mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, malted powder, baking powder, and salt until well mixed, preferably in a freestanding electric mixer (with a paddle attachment) or with an electric whisk. Cut the butter into small chunks and add them one at a time while the mixer is running on a low speed. Once all are combined and you have a consistency of coarse sand, we can start on the next step.

Pour in half of the eggy mixture and increase the speed of the mixer to a high setting. Once creamed and consistent, slow down the mixer and pour the rest in. When it’s starting to come together, crank the speed up again until a creamy mixture.

Divide the mixture evenly into your cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes if 3 tins, and 25-30 if using 2 larger tins. Once cooked and a skewer comes out clean, rest the cakes in their tin for around 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack and allowing to rest until cold.

For the icing, gently warm the milk in a small saucepan then add in the malted drink powder and vanilla extract. Combine together with a spatula and set aside to cool.

In a freestanding mixer (using the whisk attachment) or with an electric hand whisk beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar and salt and whisk on a low speed until you have a consistent mix. Scrape the bowl and whisk again on a higher speed to bring everything is combined. Pour in the malted liquid and whisk on a high speed until light and fluffy.

With the cakes cooled, we’re now ready to assemble the behemoth. Place one cake on a cake board or plate and spread a generous amount of icing over the top. Repeat for the other layers and then spread the remaining icing on the sides and top. Throw in the refrigerator to set for 30 minutes or so, and then you’re ready to go.

Because the frosting does not contain any fresh cream or cream cheese, you do not need to store the cake in the fridge. Doing so will only dry it out.