Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Maltball Cupcakes

Why do English baking recipes never work here in America? Am I the only one who has this problem? Look at these cupcakes.

Don't take it personally, Cupcake Jemma. I'm sure your recipe works perfectly well on your side of the pond.

It's not a metric system problem, since I bake by weight. And it isn't the malted milk powder, since I used imported Horlicks instead of Carnation or Ovaltine.

(Do you know how funny the name Horlicks is to teenage boys? Very)

There has to be some difference in the ingredients. Maybe our "baking soda" is not the right substitute for "bicarbonate of soda?"  Maybe American "Self-Rising Flour" is different from European "Self-Raising Flour?" Maybe I'll just use the European recipes as inspiration and seek out an American version rather than lose my mind trying to duplicate!


This morning my daughter climbed into my bed and asked if we could make cupcakes. I am in the last precious minutes of having a child young enough to climb into my bed. I'll be lucky if she speaks to me at all in two years. And this sweet kid has somehow dodged the Snarky Gene which marks the rest of us as a matched set. Of course, those cupcakes were in the oven half an hour later, clad in the overpriced cupcake liners she loves.

But... no. Sad trombone.

Not to worry. I tweaked an American recipe for malted milk cake that worked perfectly for cupcakes. Thanks, Hungry Rabbit NYC! And I adapted a classic Hershey's frosting recipe for the buttercream.

The buttercream is Malted Chocolate Milk. It is RI-DONK-U-LOUS! Send the children away so you can lick the beaters yourself.

I made some extra frosting and let the kids decorate their own cupcakes. They do love to dump that grit on there.

I topped my own cupcakes with both crushed and whole malt balls. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

And here are the bazillion minis I made for a BBQ this weekend. You know, the little ones have no calories.

Maltball Cupcakes
makes 24 large cupcakes, or about 70 minis

4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk, microwaved for 15 seconds to warm
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups cake flour (210) 
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
3/4 cup malted milk powder, preferably Horlicks (100g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (230g)
cupcake papers, preferably grease-proof

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted (170g) 
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (85g)
3/4 cup malted milk powder (75g)
6 tablespoons milk
4-5 cups powdered sugar (480-600g)

1 maltball per cupcake
12 additional maltballs, roughly crushed
disposable pastry bag (optional)
open star tip (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚ (325˚ convection) and line your cupcake tins. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Place cake flour, sugar, malt powder and baking powder in the bowl of the stand mixer and run at low speed for thirty seconds to combine. Slowly beat in softened butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal.

Add half the egg mixture, then beat on medium high for one minute to incorporate. Repeat with remaining egg mixture, then divide batter among cupcake tins. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the center looks dry, closer to 10 minutes for mini cupcakes.

On low speed, beat cocoa and malt powder into melted butter. Alternately add the powdered sugar and milk, beating at medium speed until you achieve the appropriate consistency. Don't mind if it seems a little gritty from the malt - that will dissolve as the cupcakes set.

Pipe decorations appropriate to your cupcake size. Sprinkle on crushed maltballs, and top with a whole candy. Store in the fridge if you plan to serve them another day.

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