Chocolate Malt Buttercream

If I’ve learned anything about icing and cake/cupcake decorating over the past few years, it is this: patience is everything. For me, that doesn’t always work. I have zero patience. I want things now. That typically ends in trouble. But I’ve learned to exercise a little restraint when it comes to baking. I got tired of failure after abysmal failure and just gave in to waiting.

It is majorly important to let anything you are baking cool completely before you ice it. Truly, it is. Even though you want to see how pretty those cupcakes will look once you pretty a fancy flower on. Trust me. Just wait it out. Go for a jog. Put on an episode or two of Top Model. Start reading a little bit of the new Sophie Kinsella book you’ve been dying to get your hands on. Get about 3 chapters in. Then go back and ice.

The icing I used for this cake is a chocolate malt buttercream. I went that direction after Brian confessed to me that he loved Whoppers. What kind of person chooses Whoppers over Snickers? Brian, apparently. I didn’t want to overload with malt flavor so I used a classic vanilla cake recipe of my mom’s (I’ll share it another time, promise). The thick, chocolatey malt buttercream offsets the vanilla cake perfectly. It’s sort of that best of both worlds idea.

Note, when icing a cake or cupcakes, beware of consistency. This is another issue I always have. I add too much cream and end up with runny icing. Then try to balance it by adding more confectioner’s sugar and it ends up just bad. Add the cream or milk ever so slowly. Mix it in really, really well before you add any more. I find that icing works best when it maintains a bit of shape but isn’t too thick or hard. If I can squeeze it out of my piping bag but it doesn’t run everywhere and lose the flower shape I piped out, then it’s perfecto.

Try to resist the urge to get a spoon and eat this. It’s wildly addicting.

Chocolate Malt Buttercream
Recipe type: dessert, frosting, cake
Prep time: 
Total time: 


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup chocolate malted milk powder
  • 4-6 Tbsp. cream or milk

  1. In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat butter until light and fluffy. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix well to combine. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add in cocoa and malted milk powder. Mix well to combine, ensuring there are no streaks. Add in remaining powdered sugar and beat well.
  3. Add in cream or milk a tablespoon at a time until icing reaches your desired consistency.

If you want more of a malted flavor, add in another half cup of malted milk powder.


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