I adore birthdays.
My sister recently turned 18 so naturally, this deserved an extra special cake. A Malteser cake was requested with such adamant certainty that I knew I couldn’t disappoint. PRESSURE. I was happy to oblige and wanted her 18th birthday cake to be as near to perfect as I could make it. (I say ‘near’ perfect because I pushed the ganache a little too far and it very nearly split. Oh well…)
The light aerated joy of a Malteser is what sets it apart from other confectionaries. In fact, it was first marketed as a ‘lighter’ treat and was aimed at women wanting to lose weight. (Knowing this made me gleefully smug whilst placing the virtuous little spheres atop a humongous, buttercream coated cake.)
Smugness aside, I knew that the light texture was the most important, and perhaps the most difficult, element that I had to transfer into cake-form. I needed a cake that had a light sponge that would deliver on texture and flavour. Enter, the chiffon cake. The chiffon cake is an oil-based sponge which relies upon whipped egg whites to support its structure. Now, when choosing chocolate cake, I’d usually opt for a rich and velvety cake laden with fudgy buttercream so sticky that it welds your mouth together… And as delicious as that sounds, that sort of cake wouldn’t have been right for a Malteser inspired creation! This particular sponge didn’t need to be a standalone wheel of chocolatey stodge but an airy sponge gently flavoured with chocolate. I think I achieved that.
John Whaite’s recipe for Chocolate chiffon cake with salted caramel buttercream was the starting point I needed when designing this cake. I used John’s reliable sponge recipe and then tinkered around with some malt buttercream and chocolate ganache for the rest. I threw on some chocolate popping candy and a smattering of Maltesers and the result made a wonderful 18 year old very happy.
- 125 ml sunflower oil
- 7 large eggs (separated)
- 3 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 375 g caster sugar
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 300 g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 200 ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- 225 g Butter (softened)
- 250 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 50 g ovaltine (add more or less depending on how malty you’d like it!)
- 4 tbsp hot milk
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 125 ml double cream
Preheat oven to 160C/140 fan/gas 3. Grease and line two 25cm round cake tins with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, mix the oil, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and water until well combined. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk together until the mixture is smooth. Sift in the flour, bicarb and salt and mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into the batter with a large metal spoon and carefully mix until combined. Be careful not to knock out any air!
Carefully pour the mixture into your cake tin, then bang is on the work surface twice (this gets rid of any large air bubbles.) Bake for 1 hr or until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from oven, cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a mug, dissolve the Ovaltine in the milk and set aside. You may not need to add all of the milk.
Beat the softened butter until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and mix until smooth. Add in the vanilla, milk and Ovaltine.
Once the cakes are cool, level the cakes with a cake leveler or long serated knide. Sandwich the two cakes together with a third of the buttercream.
Now it’s time to crumb coat the cake. To do this, simply coat the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Smooth it out and refridgerate for 30mins.
Once the cake is chilled, coat the cake in the rest of the buttercream and smooth the edges. Place in the fridge.
Break the chocolate into bowl and heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring it up to the boil and take it off the heat.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Leave to cool and thicken slightly.
Cover the top of the cake with the chocolate ganache (you can let it drip over the sides if you want.) Top with maltesers and enjoy!