A hot, milky cup of Horlicks before bed was one of my favourite treats when I was growing up. I’d add extra teaspoons of the powder to mine, making sure not to stir it properly, so there were chunks of malty goodness waiting for me at the bottom of the mug. This cake brings a double dose of malt: milky powder in the sponge and dark, sticky malt extract in the caramel for a rich and almost fruity flavour.
Malted milk caramel cake
Prep 20 min
Cook 35 min
For the sponge
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 large eggs
290g plain flour
3 tbsp malted drink powder (such as Horlicks)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
For the malt caramel
75g brown sugar
100g malt extract
A big pinch of flaky sea salt
100g unsalted butter, softened
60ml double cream
For the cream cheese frosting
120g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar
200g cream cheese, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4, and grease and line two 23cm cake tins.
Cream the butter, both sugars and vanilla in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk for four to six minutes, or until really pale and fluffy; make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating really well after each addition. Sift the flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a second bowl. Pour half of this into the butter mixture, stir until just combined, then mix in the buttermilk followed by the rest of the flour mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between the two tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
Next, make the caramel. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Leave the mix it simmer for about 30 seconds, then take off the heat and leave to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar for five minutes, until smooth and pale. Add the cream cheese, beat for another minute, until creamy and fully combined, then add two generous tablespoons of the cooled caramel and mix to combine.
To assemble, put one cake on a plate and top with half the frosting. Drizzle with a little caramel then sandwich by laying the second cake on top. Spread the rest of the frosting all over top, drizzle with some more caramel and serve.