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Chocolate Malt Layer Cake – Happy Birthday Jim!

March 26, 2019

This is obviously a late post and the first of a couple by the same baker, Christina Tosi of the famous Milk Bar.  Thanks to the Woods for the cook book!  Her recipes are super tasty, complex, unique, and lengthy.   This cake might be the epitome of that.  It was probably the most time I’ve spent on a cake, one of my smaller cakes, but definitely one of the most delicious cakes I’ve made.

The fudge sauce is really good.  I’ve been looking for a decent recipe for a long time.  Her milk crumb is super tasty too and nothing I’ve really made before.

My cake ended up shorter than predicted.  Not sure why.   You can make many aspects of this cake ahead of time so it is not such a marathon.  You need to freeze it for at least 12 hours anyways so that’s incentive to just start like a week in advanced.

Note, weight measurements are preferred here, but volumes are also given as an option.

Difficulty: Hard
Prep Time: 7 hours
Chill Time: 12 hours + 3 hours thawing
Total Time: 24 hours min time
Yield: ~6-12- servings, one 3 layer 6-inch cake ~6-inch tall
Taste: Delicious

Malted Milk Crumb

20 g milk powder  (1/4 cup)
20 g flour  (1/8 cup)
6 g cornstarch  (1 tbs)
12.5 g sugar (1 tbs)
1 g kosher salt (1/4 tsp)
27.5 g butter, melted  (2 tbs)
10 g milk powder  (1/8 cup)
45 g white chocolate, melted  (1.5 ounces)
30 g Ovaltine, malt flavor  (2/3 cup)
45 g white chocolate, melted  (1.5 ounces)

  1. Heat the oven to 250 def F
  2. Combine the 20 g milk powder, four, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Toss with your hands to mix.
  3. Add melted butter and toss with a spatula until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
  4. Spread the clusters on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.  The crumbs should be sandy at this point.  Cool crumbs completely.
  5. Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2-inch in diameter and put the crumbs in a medium bowl.  Add the 10 g milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  6. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed.  Continue tossing every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.
  7.  Toss the milk crumbs with the Ovaltine malt powder in a medium bowl until all the crumbs are a light brown.
  8. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and continue tossing until all of the clusters are enrobed.  The continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.  The results will be white and dark spotted.

The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

Fudge Sauce

75 g 72% chocolate, chopped  (2.5 ounces)
100 g Ovaltine, malt flavor  (1 1/4 cup)
6.25 g molasses  (1 1/4 tsp)
1.25 g kosher salt (1/3 tsp)
250 g gluclose  (2/3 cup)
62.5 g sugar  (1/3 cup)
137.5 g heavy cream (2/3 cup)

  1.  Combine chocolate, Ovaltine, molasses, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine the glucose, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir intermittently while bringing to a boil over high heat.  The minute it boils, power it into the bowl with the chocolate.  Let sit for 1 full minute
  3. Slowly, slowly begin to whisk the mixture.  Then continue increasing whisking  speed every 30 seconds until the mixture is glossy and smooth.  This will take 2-4 minutes depending on speed.

You can use the sauce immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze.

Chocolate Cake (makes 1 quarter sheet pan)


115 g butter, at room temp  (8 tbs, 1 stick)
300 g sugar  (1 1/2 cup)
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk  (1/2 cup)
40 g grapeseed oil  (1/4 cup)
4 g vanilla extract  (1 tsp)
1/4 recipe Fudge Sauce  –  38 g (3 tbs)
155 g cake flour   (1 1/4 cup)
70 g cocoa powder, Valrhona preferred (1/2 cup)
6 g baking powder  (1 1/2 tsp)
6 g kosher salt  (1 1/2 tsp)


  1. Heat oven to 350 deg F
  2. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter and sugar mixture, and completely homogeneous.  There should be no streaks of fat or liquid.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add the fudge sauce and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. With a spatula, stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  On very low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix for 45-60 seconds, just until your batter comes together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cocoa powder and cake flour are incorporated.
  7. Pam spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment .  Use a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  The cake will double in size.  At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger; the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly.  Cook the cake an extra 3-5 minutes if not.
  8. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Cooled cake can be stored, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.

Ovaltine Soak

55 g milk  (1/4 cup)
10 g Ovaltine, malt flavor  (2 tbs)

Whisk together the milk and Ovaltine in a small bowl until the Ovaltine is completely dissolved.  Use immediately.

Charred Marshmallows

150 g mini marshmallows  (2 3/4 cup)

Spread the marshmallows out evenly on an unlined sheet pan and char them with a blowtorch.  Transfer the pan to the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.  Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Note: I don’t particularly like burnt marshmallows so I didn’t totally let them catch on fire.  After having to handle these sticky goobers I would totally light these up next time.


  1.  Put a piece of parchment on the counter.  Invert the cake onto it a peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake.  Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake.  These are the top 2 cake layers.  The remaining cake scrap will be the bottom layer.
    Layer 1
  2. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment.  Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
  3. Put the cake scraps in side the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat, even layer.
  4. Dunk a pastry brush in the Ovaltine soak and give the layer of cake a good bath of half of the soak.
  5. Use the back of a spoon and spread one-fifth of the malt fudge sauce in an even layer over the cake.  Note: the warmer the fudge sauce, the easier it is to spread.
  6. Sprinkle half of the malted milk crumb and 1/3 the charred marshmallows evenly over the malt fudge sauce.  Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
  7. Use the back of a spoon to spread another fifth of the malt fudge sauce as evenly as possible over the crumbs and marshmallows.
    Layer 2
  8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4-inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake.  Set a cake round on top of the sauce and repeat the process for layer 1 (if one of your two cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
    Layer 3
  9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the sauce.  Cover the top of the cake with the remaining fudge sauce.  Garnish with the remaining charred marshmallows.
  10. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling.  The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  11. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring.  Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand.  Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.  If storing the cake for longer, do not cover with plastic wrap it will tear the malt fudge off the cake!  Instead, get a big bowl, flip it upside down, and use it to protect the cake.  Stored this way will keep the cake fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge.

In short your layers should be the following from top to bottom:

Marshmallow (13)
Fudge (1/5)
Fudge (1/5)
Marshmallow (1/3)
Crumb (1/2)
Fudge (1/5)
Soak (1/2)
Fudge (1/5)
Marshmallow (1/3)
Crumb (1/2)
Fudge (1/5)
Soak (1/2)

Source: Milk, Momofuku milk bar by Christina Tosi p. 139

From → Dessert

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