This is my most requested recipe by far, and it also happens to be the easiest thing I make, so by sharing this I might be about to lose all my credibility as a baker. But needs must, and you really need to taste this.
It’s also a bit of a cheat because it’s not actually 100% my recipe. The sponge is from HRH Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, and it’s now replaced Delia’s all-in-one (sorry, Delia) as my go-to chocolate cake. It’s beautifully light and fluffy, made with basic store cupboard ingredients and, most importantly, super quick and easy. The thing (and my only contribution) that makes this basic chocolate cake ‘malteser’ is the addition of malted milk powder buttercream. Yep, it’s time to dig out that slightly-solid pot of Horlicks or Ovaltine at the back of your nan’s cupboard; this incredibly retro ingredient is making a very delicious comeback.
50g cocoa powder
175g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
275g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
35g malted milk powder (you’ll usually find it in the hot drinks section of the supermarket, with the hot chocolate and coffee)
125g good quality milk chocolate, I use Dairy Milk
30g packet of Maltesers
Preheat your oven to 160°C fan and grease and line two 18 inch cake tins. Meanwhile, leave the kettle to boil.
Take one large bowl and add the cocoa powder to the bottom, then pour 6 tablespoons of boiling water on top and mix until it forms a smooth paste. (Don’t be tempted to try it, it looks like it should taste delicious, it doesn’t.)
Add all the rest of the sponge ingredients to the bowl and mix, then divide equally between the two cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn out the sponges onto a cooling rack and leave until completely (you’ve guessed it) cool. It’s literally that simple. My cake rep ends here.
For the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave or over a bain-marie, then leave to cool slightly.
Place the softened butter into the bowl of a standalone mixer (or into a mixing bowl with separate hand mixer) and beat until soft. Next, add the icing sugar – a little at a time to minimise icing sugar clouds.
Lastly, mix in the malted milk powder and the melted chocolate until well combined.
To assemble, simply spread half the icing on the first layer, sandwich and spread the second half on the top, then decorate with the Maltesers. I like to place them in a ring around the edge as I find them a useful marker for cutting slices (ie. ‘do you want one Malteser or two?’), but feel free to go crazy and decorate however you wish.