Can You Help Me Improve My Grandmother’s Chocolate Malted Milk Cake Recipe?

published Mar 23, 2015
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: I have a few questions that have plagued me for over 45 years about my grandmother’s prize-winning cake recipe. Unfortunately for me, it is my entire family’s favorite birthday cake. That means I have to grin and bear this baby 10 times a year. I need help!

She was a master baker and really stingy about sharing her methods … even with me! She made a chocolate malted milk cake that has an odd texture for cake, almost like cornbread. I’d like to moisten and fluff up this cake, but keep the amazing flavor. The icing she made for it is even more challenging.

We wore out 10 handheld electric mixers on this icing before we bought a KitchenAid stand mixer. But now it isn’t as light. I’m going to share her recipe just as she wrote it. Maybe something will jump out at you. I’m feeling so defeated. Expert eyes required.

Chocolate Malted Milk Cake

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Crisco
3 eggs
3 cups sifted Swan’s Down Cake Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons Carnation Chocolate Malted Milk Powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream sugar and shortening together. Add 1 egg at a time and beat. Stir to blend flour, soda, salt, and malted milk powder together, and add to sugar-and-shortening mixture. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix until creamy. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 55 minutes.

Batter will be thin and tends to rise over pan. (Note: It isn’t thin at all.) Be sure to use 9×13 pan, grease, and flour. Frost with whipped cream frosting.

Whipped Cream Frosting for Chocolate Malted Milk Cake (Double for 2-layer cake)

1 cup Crisco
1 cup margarine (I use butter)
2 cups milk, scalded
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar

Bring margarine to room temperature.

Scald milk and set aside to cool. Beat Crisco and margarine together and begin to add cooled milk and sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating and adding without stopping, until no grains can be felt between your fingers. (Note: This takes FOREVER with handheld mixer.)

Frost cooled cake. Refrigerate. (Note: The icing Grandma made came out light and fluffy like whipped cream. Mine is too dense.)

My Questions

  • Could it be that I use butter instead of margarine?
  • Is scalding necessary?
  • Am I beating too long for the cake or the icing?

Sent by Charli

Editor: Readers, have you made a cake like this before, or do you have some advice?