living a well tended life... at any age

milk bar chocolate malt cake!

Yeah – so I guess THIS was not my longest post, ever.

This one is.

And it’s TOTALLY worth it.

Since I started making the Birthday Layer Cake from the incredible Milk Bar cookbook, I’ve been dying to try another one. I love the use of the cake ring, the different layers and textures of crumb and filling, and the so-modern look of the unfrosted sides.

Being a malt-fanatic I knew which would be next on my list – I just needed the right occasion to make it.

milk bar chocolate malt cake

And when Mike invited a co-worker from Rome here for dinner, I knew the time had come.

I mean, what is more American than a decadent, multi-layered chocolate cake I ask?

milk bar chocolate malt cake

And it was – by all accounts – a huge hit.

Like the birthday cake, there are many components (actually this one has even more) – but none of them are hard. And as the cake can be assembled and frozen for up to 2 weeks, you can go at your own pace. The recipe is written in the order in which I made each component, which will hopefully streamline the process a bit (I made the sauces, cake and crumb on one day, and the soak, marshmallows and assembly the next).

And – once again – I strongly encourage you to invest in a food scale. It will minimize the pans, bowl and clean-up and I promise you’ll never go back to the traditional method of measuring again!

milk bar chocolate malt cake

I’ve received lots of comments and e-mails asking for more clear direction on how the acetate strips are used – I took some more pictures of the “making of” the birthday layer cake, and I’ve added some additional photos of the process right here.

milk bar chocolate malt cake

milk bar chocolate malt cake

Enough talking – let’s get to it!

milk bar chocolate malt cake

Chocolate Malt Layer Cake
from Momofuku Milk Bar

Fudge Sauce
1 ounce bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Cake
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (300 g.) sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Fudge Sauce
1 1/4 cups (155 g.) cake flour
1/2 cup (70 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Malt Fudge Sauce
2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (80 g.) malt-flavored Ovaltine
1 teaspoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup (50 g.) sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Malted Milk Crumb
3/4 cup (60 g.) milk powder, divided
1/4 cup (40 g.) flour
2 tablespoons  (12 g.) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (25 g.) sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped, divided
3/4 cup (60 g.) malt-flavored Ovaltine

Ovaltine Soak
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons malt-flavored Ovaltine

Charred Marshmallows
2 3/4 cups (150 g.) mini marshmallows

Special equipment:
Quarter sheet pan
6” cake ring
2 strips of acetate, each 3” wide x 20” long (or do as I did and cut a large sheet of acetate into strips)
Pastry brush

Make the fudge sauce:
Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and salt in the bowl of your mixer. Over high heat, bring the corn syrup, sugar and heavy cream to a boil, stirring occasionally. Immediately pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.

Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed till ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium and whisk till sauce is glossy and smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze (the leftover sauce is amazing – warm or cold – over anything you can possibly think to put it on).

Clean and dry the mixer bowl and whisk attachment.

Make the chocolate cake:
Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray a quarter sheet pan with a non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam). Line with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine butter and sugar. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high  for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides.

On low speed, add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the fudge sauce and mix on low speed till fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides.

Add cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Beat on low speed for about a minute, scrape down the sides and beat again for just another minute.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and spread evenly, using a small angled spatula.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or till cake bounces back when lightly pressed and is no longer jiggly in the center.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and use immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and store in fridge for up to 5 days.

Clean and dry the mixer bowl and whisk attachment.

Make the malt fudge sauce:
Follow the recipe for the fudge sauce, substituting the Ovaltine for the cocoa powder and adding the molasses along with it.

Make the malted milk crumb:
Pre-heat oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup (40 g.) of the milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Toss to mix. Add the melted butter and toss till the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.

Spread clusters on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Crumble any clusters that are larger than 1/2″ in diameter and place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (20 g.) milk powder and toss till it is evenly distributed.

Melt 3 ounces of the white chocolate in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Pour over the crumbs and toss till the clusters are completely coated. Continue tossing every 5 minutes, until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.

Add the Ovaltine and toss till evenly coated. Melt the remaining 3 ounces white chocolate and pour over crumbs, tossing till clusters are completely coated. Continue tossing every 5 minutes, until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

Make the Ovaltine soak:
Whisk the milk and Ovaltine in a small bowl until the Ovaltine is completely dissolved.

Make the charred marshmallows:
Pre-heat your broiler. Place the marshmallows in a single layer on an unlined baking sheet. Broil till tops are charred but bottoms are still white (you can also use a kitchen torch or wand lighter). Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, to firm up the marshmallows and make them easier to work with. Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Assemble the cake:
Place a sheet of parchment paper (or a Silpat) on your counter. Invert the cake over it and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake.

Using the cake ring, “stamp” two circles out of the cake. DO NOT DISCARD THE SCRAPS!

Layer #1:
Clean the cake ring and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Line the inside with one of the acetate strips. Put all of the cake “scraps” in the ring and press into an even layer, using the back of your hand. Using a pastry brush, soak the cake with half of the Ovaltine soak.

Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the malt fudge sauce evenly over the cake (if you warm up the sauce it will be easier to spread).

Sprinkle half the malted milk crumbs and one-third of the charred marshmallows evenly over the malt fudge sauce. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.

Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the malt fudge sauce evenly over the crumbs and marshmallows.

Layer #2:
Gently tuck the second acetate strip in between the cake ring and the top ¼” of the first strip – you should have an acetate ring that is about 5-6” tall. Gently place one cake round (use the less pretty of the two) on top of the frosting. Repeat the soak/fudge sauce/crumb/marshmallow/fudge sauce steps from layer #1.

Layer #3:
Place the remaining cake round on top of the sauce. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining fudge sauce. Garnish with remaining charred marshmallows.

Place the cake – still on the sheet pan – in the freezer and freeze for at least 12 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

At least 3 hours before serving, take the cake out of the freezer, and – using your fingers and thumbs – pop the cake out of the ring. Gently peel off the acetate and place in the fridge. If not serving that day, wrap well in plastic and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver

milk bar chocolate malt cake

More Milk Bar love here:

Crack Pie
Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow Cookies
Compost Cookies
Birthday Layer Cake


  1. Chi on June 26, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Oh my god! I saw this on Chicory’s twitter and ran flying to your page! I love Momofuku Milk Bar and this cake is hands-down my fave from their cookbook!!!!!!!! Thanks so much for the review, definitely going into my to-bake list!

    • sherisilver on June 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Ha! Thank you so much! I know; I’ve been eyeing this for YEARS. Let me know if you make it! 🙂

  2. Dini @ The Flavor Bender on June 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I saw this on foodgawker and just HAD to come!! How insane does this look!! I’ve already made up my mind that THIS is the cake I want for my birthday… maybe just eat it all by myself! 😀 So glad I discovered your blog! I will definitely be following 🙂

    • sherisilver on June 26, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you SO much! It is totally worth the time and if you break it up over 2 days it’s super manageable. You need to make this; let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  3. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake on June 26, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Yesss! This looks amazing! I really need to break out that cookbook again, all of their cakes are just so delicious. Looks like yours came out perfectly!! 🙂

    • sherisilver on June 26, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks so much! It’s a lot of steps but truly not hard at all – do it! 🙂

  4. Thalia @ butter and brioche on June 26, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    You totally nailed this momofuku malt cake! I’ve been ogling it in the book for a while now – but have not had the guts to try it. Definitely inspired too now.

    • sherisilver on June 27, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Gah! Thank you so much! It is SERIOUSLY not hard – a LOT of steps but that’s what makes it look (and taste!) so good! 🙂

  5. Marissa on May 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    This looks amazing! I just made the birthday cake version and am ready to make this one! Great photos, I especially love the one at the top that shows the components of the cake before assembly. Can you clarify for me if the Ovaltine is supposed to be the plain malted favor, or the chocolate malted flavor? I know it’s a silly question, but I just wanted to double check! Thanks!!

    • sherisilver on May 20, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Marissa! I used the plain malt flavor. Let me know how it turns out!

  6. Carrie on February 8, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Have you made any other cakes of hers? If so, what is your favorite?

    • sherisilver on February 8, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      I make the Birthday Cake every year for my daughter and have made the Crack Pie several times too. I’m also a fan of the Compost Cookies and the Chocolate Chip Cornflake Crunch Cookies – all right here on the blog! Hard to pick a fave but that Crack Pie…………………….

  7. Pam on March 26, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Really good cake! More of a brownie style which is fun, I also subbed in cake flour which gave it a nice soft texture but did make the structure a bit delicate I think, it kind of crumpled when I sliced it.

    Although it’s a lot of work it certainly isn’t difficult to do, I’m addicted and can’t wait to try the Bday cake next!
    Thank you for the recipe!

    • sherisilver on March 27, 2018 at 7:22 am

      I’m so glad you liked it! Agreed – not hard but a lot of work. You should definitely try the Birthday cake; let me know! 🙂

  8. Joanne on April 26, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    What oil can I use instead of grape seed oil? My daughter is allergic to grape seed oil. Can’t use peanut oil either. Thanks.

    • sherisilver on April 27, 2018 at 7:15 am

      You can use any oil. Grapeseed is flavorless, and so a good choice for baked goods as it won’t compete with the other ingredients. But this cake has so much chocolate and other ingredients that I’m sure any oil you’d use will be just fine. Good luck!

  9. Lacy on June 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    The recipe on the Milkbar website lists a frosting instead of a second fudge sauce. I wonder why the recipe changed from the book. Im not a huge frosting fan so this recipe sounds great!

    • sherisilver on June 9, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      Hmm – just saw that – interesting! I wonder too!

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