Chocolate Malt Cake

Sparklers, chocolate cake and champagne – I’m ready for you, 2022! # 242: Chocolate Malt Cake

Anyone else always a little thrown off by the last week of the year? It almost feels like it doesn’t “count” as an actual week. C’mon – it’s the second short workweek in a row, sandwiched between two holidays, with a heaping dose of self-reflection and self-inflicted pressure to finish up projects as the year comes to a close. Plus, the Bay Area is finally getting the rain it desperately needs. All in all, an ideal time to curl up with a piece of cake and an old favorite show or book.

I’m personally devouring baking books that I got for my birthday and Christmas. There’s so many recipes I want to try that each book has a mohawk of sticky note tabs!

My baking goal for 2022 is to make whatever strikes my fancy. Even if it’s a recipe I’ve made a dozen times, I’m not allowing myself to get all judge-y or feel obligated to make something new and different instead. That might mean I post here a little less often, but life is too short to not make Welsh cakes when the mood strikes.

Do you have a favorite kind of cake? I feel like there are two main camps: Team Chocolate Over Everything and Team Anything But Chocolate. Take a guess at which camp I’m in. This is difficult, I know.

This is the perfect situation for using a damp dish cloth underneath your bowl to keep it from dancing away while you stir one-handed. I can’t say I did it, but I thought about it the whole time while my bowl skittered around on my pastry board. Baby steps.

Parchment paper to the rescue! This is a soft cake with a delicate crumb that is grumpy about leaving its cozy pan. Plan ahead and wallpaper that pan.

The batter was a little lumpy, but I chose to risk it instead of over-mixing. Fun fact: one of the first published uses of “risk it for the biscuit” was in an Irish newspaper in 1966 as a headline for a story about a teenager who got stuck in a delivery van while trying to steal biscuits (aka cookies!)

Have we talked about cake soaks? Touted by Claire Saffitz and Christina Tosi as the best way to make a cake moist and delicious, it’s basically a spa treatment for a fully-baked cake. You douse the cake in a deliciously-flavored liquid (vanilla milk, coffee liquor, etc.) and let it soak into the crumb. It’s definitely not a new idea (what’s up rum baba and other syrupy friends) but it’s a fun reminder that you don’t have to stick to sugar syrups alone. While it’s a fabulous way to deepen the flavor in each bite, I’d say hold back a little with this recipe. It’s already so moist and flavorful, you could get away with half the amount!

Pure joy.

The ganache has even more malt powder in it! I’m using chocolate malt powder because it’s shockingly hard to use up and I think I’ll have this jar of it til the end of time.

The calm before the storm.

So gloriously messy!

Happy new year from my chocolate-covered kitchen to yours. Happy munching!

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