Scalded and Malted Milk Cake


I made this cake twice. The first time I baked in a bundt pan and seriously fucked it up when trying to remove it from the pan. Pieces. Cursing. Why Does everything happen to me? LOL. It was mostly my fault,  I was lazy when preparing the pan. Luckily I was bringing it to by best friend who had just had her second son and wasn’t going to judge me, she was covered in spit-up. I threw the half I could salvage into a disposable lasagna pan and presented it as the glorious mess it was.

I made it again more recently for the same friend (she really likes malt, and I had something to prove) and this time baked it in a square muffin tin, making cute little individual cakes. I also made the glaze less of a glaze and more of a frosting. I liked it both ways. The cake is full of intense vanilla/malty flavors and feels just right for fall and cool weather and rainy days. It’s kind of my dream cake. It might be yours, too.

[Talk about voracious!]


The recipe is from my friend Cara Nicoletti’s first (hopefully of many!) book, Voracious. Cara’s blog, Yummy Books, has long been a favorite of mine. She has great taste, and is a seriously talented writer and thinker.

Scalded and Malted Milk Cake

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and pod reserved
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs plus one large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon malted milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used 3/4 teaspoon)


  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream, or more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Thoroughly (!!!) grease a bundt pan  (6 or 9-cup, or use a cake pan or a loaf pan or muffin pans).

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the vanilla bean pod. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the milk reached 180°F. Once it reaches this temperature, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to steep/cool.

Combine the butter, both sugars, and the vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add the eggs and yolk to the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flower, malted milk powder, baking powder, and salt.

Remove the vanilla bean pod from the scalded milk. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the scalded milk to the butter mixture until everything is incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.

Pour into the greased pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes for the bundt (25-ish for muffin-sized cakes).

Cool the cake in the pan for 30-45 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. You can thin the glaze with additional cream, or thicken it with additional confectioners sugar. Spread the glaze over the cake.



The Delicious Mess.


16 comments to “Scalded and Malted Milk Cake”

  1. Looks like a keeper. Thanks for the persistence! D

  2. I love the look of those little square cakes! Does scalding the milk serve any particular purpose other than helping the vanilla bean to infuse?

  3. Hmmm, I would so very much like to try this. However I’m not sure where to get – I’m in the UK – malted milk powder. Is there a brand name you use (I’m thinking of ebaying it)?

  4. Ah, forgot to say: thank you so much for introducing me to Cara Nicoletti’s blog (the book is on my Xmas list now) – you are right, the lady can write and then some.

  5. Lindsay- It is a good question. I think in the modern era we mostly heat milk to infuse flavor, but maybe Cara will chime in and let us know. It also provides us with a sufficiently “cool” recipe title. ; )

    Evie- I use Nestle/Carnation brand malted milk powder. But I think Horlicks is what you have, yes? I am pretty sure that is the UK version of Ovaltine. I think the main difference is some preservatives and sugar are added to Ovaltine/Horlicks, but maybe you can play around with that?

  6. This sounds absolutely delicious!

  7. I love the sound of this,really comforting flavours.I think this might be perfect for a Sunday afternoon in front of the fire.

  8. I am currently reading Voracious, and I’m loving Cara’s perspective and writing. The way she writes about food and literature is so thoughtful, and all the chapter recipes sound enticing!

  9. I am so envious of the gorgeous bundt cake photos. I try and try to make a beautiful bundt cake and seriously mess it up every time. I sufficiently grease it and flour it but pieces always end up sticking. The square muffins are so cool…bye, bye bundt pan! Oh, yeah…this cake sounds fabulous, too! Thank you so much.

  10. I’m checking out this book…lovely recipe!

  11. Ohhh, this is so my thing. I can’t wait to make this.

  12. Tim, thank you for this – I think I can actually get hold of Carnations (ebay or amazon) so this cake is a go.

  13. I love this post so much! I just happen to have some King Arthur malted milk powder in my fridge!!

  14. Evie — I’m in the US, but I have a British husband and use Horlicks in recipes that call for malt powder. I’ve actually never used the Carnation malt powder, so I’m not sure how it differs, but Horlicks seems to work fine for us. (It’s especially good in malt-flavored ice cream.)

  15. This book sounds like a good read and I’ve put it on my list. Right now I’m caught up in seasonal baking with local apples and cranberries, but I’ll definitely bake this cake over the winter. I love malted milk but the other recipes I have include chocolate, which I know you’re not a fan.

  16. Just made this tonight after I couldn’t ignore my craving for cake, and wanting to use up the malt powder in my pantry. Perfect. Not too sweet, and the flavor is like light caramel. Looks like I’ve got breakfast made for the week. Thanks for another reliable and delicious recipe, Tim.

What do you think?