It was the last day of term and my friend Katharine and I were sitting in our last lecture, utterly bored. As the lecture finished she turned to me and uttered the most brilliant words ever spoken. “Shall we go back to mine and make a cake?” Brilliant idea.
The cake we decided to make was one I’d seen on Afeitar’s blog — a version of a Nigella cake that tastes like a Malteser. A cake that tastes like a giant Malteser. A Malteser cake. How could we resist?
For the cake
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 175ml milk
- 15g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Ovaltine/Horlicks
- 175g plain flour
- 25g cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For the icing
- 250g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- 45g Ovaltine
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- A “cinema bag” of Maltesers
Pre-heat the oven to 170C, and grease and line two 20cm cake tins, loose bottomed if possible. Then whisk together the sugar and eggs until they are light and frothy. Not entirely sure what that’s supposed to look like but ours looked like this:
Then heat the milk and butter and the Horlicks powder in a saucepan until the butter has melted. The mixture should be hot, but don’t let it boil. Then beat the milk mix into the eggs a little bit at a time until all mixed together.
So far, so good. Sieve in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and fold until you have a smooth, dark mix. Then divide it equally between the cake tins.
Put the two tins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes should have risen and be firm; gently press the top in the middle and it should spring back.
Leave them to cool for about 10 minutes in the tins, then turn them out onto a wire rack. Then let them cool completely.
At this point your entire house will smell like chocolate cake and you will want to dive headfirst into it. But resist, because it tastes a million times nicer with the icing on it. Leave the cakes to cool completely, and then start the icing.
I had REAL problems with the icing. The way I made it it was way too runny, but I’m not sure if that’s not just because I failed at making buttercream. Or it could be because the recipe itself says use a processor and we don’t have one.
So, Helen says “I use a processor just because it makes life easier: you don’t need to sieve the icing sugar. So: put the icing sugar, cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.” We sieved the icing sugar, the cocoa and the Ovaltine, added the butter and the boiling water and mixed.
The icing sugar was scrummy, but very runny. We tried adding more icing sugar, more Ovaltine, more cocoa powder…but it was still too runny.
We put it in a cold corridor for ten minutes (It wouldn’t fit in the fridge) and it was slightly thicker, so we started putting it on the cake.
As you can see it wouldn’t stay. It ran down the sides. So we stuck it in the fridge for ten minutes, took it out and smoothed the icing as best we could.
And put it back in for another ten minutes. I think at this point we just wanted to finish the damn cake; we were eating the icing with a spoon it was so yummy. So whilst it was chilling I poured some Maltesers in a jug and crushed them with a rolling pin.
And when the cake came out, I set to work covering the sides with these crushed Maltesers. I dotted some whole/almost whole ones round the sides first, before using a spoon to pick up the crumbly bits and pushing them on.
When the sides are fully covered, your cake is done.
It looked so good. Katharine and I were really pleased with it, as this photo shows:
Looks good, huh? But it looks even better when you cut into it…
Yuh-UM. It tasted so good. Katharine and I had been chattering away all day but as soon as we got our teeth into that cake we both just shut up. It was that good. There are more photos of making this cake here.
Thanks to Helen for sharing the original recipe. I really recommend making this. It’s nommy. And give me some tips on icing it!