Sunday, 28 September 2014

Malty Ring Cake

Words cannot describe how wonderful this cake is. I love anything with a malt flavour and have a particular fondness for Malted Milk biscuits, Ovaltine and Horlicks. Another great favourite is Malt Loaf, a squidgy almost damp fruit cake made with malt extract. In fact, there is something quite old-fashioned, reliable and comforting about all the foods and beverages that I have listed but the important thing is that they all taste wonderful!
 
Unsurprisingly, given their name, the chocolate sweets Maltesers also have a malt flavour and despite the fact that I am not a mad chocolate fan (I would tend to choose cakes or pastries first) I do love the light airiness and malty crunch of Maltesers.
 
This is not the first recipe that I have posted using Maltesers but here, rather than use them merely as decoration; I have highlighted their inherent flavour by using malt as a key flavour in the actual cake. I achieved this by using Horlicks powder. For those of you not familiar with Horlicks it is a hot malted milk drink originally manufactured by James and William Horlick at the end of the 19th Century. It is associated with being a bedtime drink and as a child, I fondly remember having either a mug of cocoa or Horlicks before I went to bed each night. The milky warmth was always sure to induce sleep as far as I was concerned!

I decided to bake this cake in a 23cm ring tin, but if you don’t have one or if you would prefer, you can bake it in a 20cm round cake tin. Alternatively, the batter can be baked into cupcakes – the amounts here would be enough for 18 cupcakes. If baking in a round cake tin, increase the baking time by about 10 minutes, but if making cupcakes, 18-20 minutes in the oven should be adequate.

In some of the accompanying photos, you will see that I decorated the top of the cake with some whole and also some halved Maltesers. Whilst the halved Maltesers looked visually appealing, I wouldn’t advise doing this much ahead of the time when the cake is to be served as they can go a little soft on exposure to the air. Far better to leave them whole and then you are assured that they will retain their crunch which contrasts beautifully with the light, flavoursome malt-flavoured sponge. I made another version of the cake and decorated it with whole Maltesers and these retained their crunch!

Ingredients:

250g caster sugar
280g butter, softened plus a little extra to grease the tin
5 medium or 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
180g self-raising flour
75g Horlicks powder
25ml milk
To finish:
150g milk or dark chocolate, melted
150g Maltesers
 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 23cm ring mould with butter and flour well, tapping out the excess.
2. Place the butter and caster sugar into a large bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition so that they are well incorporated.
3. Sieve the flour and Horlicks together and fold into the creamed mixture, again making sure that everything is well mixed together. Add the milk and mix through to create a cake batter with a soft dropping consistency.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake tin and using a spatula or the back of a metal spoon, level the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until well risen and a thin skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To finish:
5. Spoon the melted chocolate over the cooled cake and once it begins to set, arrange the Maltesers on top.
 
Serves 8-10.