Vanilla Malt Layer Cake with Cashews and Salted Caramel
Rich vanilla malt cake, filled and frosted with silky Swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with homemade salted caramel sauce. Roasted cashews are the crunchy crowning touch!
Remember this cake from my last post?
Lets talk a little bit about how it came to be.
You might remember that my husband and I enjoyed a fabulous long weekend in Seattle recently. It was a great time and you should definitely check out the post, if you haven’t read it already. Such a cool city, I only wish I could have experienced more of it!
While I was off gallivanting around like a young chippy without a care in the world, my mom was slaving away here in Philly, looking after our two kids here at my house. That is no small feat, my friends. These kids are non-stop, bouncing off the walls, energy in motion from the minute they wake up (7am) until they crash, hard, at around 9:30.
Case in point:
And she did it all alone. (My dad passed away 6 years ago.)
That takes brass ones.
Also, it was her birthday weekend.
I might be a bad daughter.
I hope this makes up for it! It’s another one of her favorite flavor combos.
The cake itself is vanilla malt. Like the milkshake!
I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, but with Greek yogurt in place of the milk (I like a thicker batter, and the tang from the yogurt was a nice contrast to all the sweet), and a few tablespoons of malted milk powder. A half recipe filled a 6-inch diameter x 3-inch high round cake pan perfectly.
It poofs way up in the oven, but then it sinks back down a little as it cools.
*EDIT- This recipe has been updated for ease of use, and to yield a better result. See recipe notes below.*
After the cake cools completely and then spends a night in the fridge, split it horizontally into three layers, and fill and frost it with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.
Can you see those little black specks? Those are vanilla seeds. This vanilla bean paste is loaded with them, and the flavor is so heavenly!!!
Simply perfect salted caramel sauce gets drizzled all over the top of the cake, and it drips and slips down the sides in the most gratuitous way…
Roasted cashews are Mom’s favorite nut (I mean legume ;)), and they are the perfect crowning touch.
Now who’s a bad daughter???
You are going to love this flavor combination. The malted milk powder brings out the most incredible richness, and that silky buttercream is just so ethereal! The buttery complexity from the caramel brings it all together, and the cashews give the most satisfying crunch!
I’m so lucky to have a mom with such a generous heart. She stepped in and took over like a boss. I know it was hard for her, but she did it because she loves me and my crazy kiddos. I could never properly repay her, but hopefully the cake comes close!
Thanks for all you do, mom, and happy belated! Tomorrow will be a proper celebration, I promise!
*This post was featured on Simply Gloria’s Show Stopper Saturdays Link Party*
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Vanilla Malt Layer Cake with Cashews and Salted Caramel
For the Vanilla Malt Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (187.5 g) cake flour
- 3/4 cup (93.75 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon malted milk powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, (scant)
- 3/4 cup (170.25 g) unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), softened
- 3 eggs, (large)
- 2/3 cup (157.73 ml) milk
- 1/2 cup (100 g) plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, (extract may be substituted)
For the Frosting and Toppings
- 3 egg whites, (large)
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened but still cool
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, (extract may be substituted)
- 1/3 cup (78.86 ml) salted caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup (68.5 g) whole roasted cashews
To Make the Vanilla Malt Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and mist three 6-inch diameter x 3-inch deep cake pans with non-stick spray.
- Cut three circles from parchment paper, and place them in the bottoms of each pan.
- Place the flours, sugar, malted milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the butter, and mix on medium-low speed, until the mixture resembles damp sand.
- Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition.
- Add the milk, yogurt, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, to aerate the batter and strengthen the cake's structure.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool for twenty minutes, then unmold and place on wire racks to cool completely.
To Make the Frosting and Assemble the Cake:
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a large metal mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Set the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, and heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture becomes translucent and no longer feels gritty when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger.
- Remove from heat and whip on high speed until the meringue becomes glossy and thick.
- Cool completely (there should be no hint of warmth when the hand is place on the side of the bowl. Place in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes, if necessary.)
- Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, while whipping on medium-high. When all the butter has been added, fold in the vanilla.
- Place one of the cooled cake rounds on a serving platter. Top with a layer of vanilla buttercream, smoothing to a thickness of about 1/2-inch.
- Place another cake layer on top, and repeat.
- Top with the final layer of cake, and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce about an inch in from the outside edge of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
- Top with cashews.
- This recipe has been updated, for ease of use and to yield a better result, as of 10.12.2015.
- Do NOT use warm caramel sauce. It will melt the frosting! If your caramel sauce is too thick, thin it with a little water (an eighth teaspoon at a time), until the proper consistency is reached.
Wait… when does the 1 1/2 sticks of butter go in?? I see it listed in the ingredients, but not in the cake directions. I just pulled them out of the oven too. 🙁
Hey Kate! You’ll want to add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix just until it resembles damp sand. Then the eggs can go in, and then the liquid ingredients. It’s known as the reverse creaming method and I love it because it allows everything to happen in one bowl, and you don’t have to worry as much about over-mixing. Hope that helps!
I was wondering… How do you measure your cake flour? I weigh most of my stuff (especially flour, since it’s so annoying to measure properly), and I found that when I weigh the cake flour, then 150g (which is supposed to be 1.5 cups specifically cake flour) come out to like… 1 1/4 cups when I put it in dry measuring cups. That’s quite a notable difference! o_O; I used the 150g measurement since it’s technically correct, and the cakes are in the oven now, but I’m nervous. So before I make the second batch, I’m going to wait and see how these come out. Have you ever weighed the flour and noticed a difference? Or do you have any experience between dry-cup measuring and weighing with this recipe?
I definitely agree- weighing is much more precise and it’s certainly preferred by professionals. When I worked as a pastry chef, everything was weighed. But I’ve found that most of my readers like to use old-fashioned measuring cups, so that is what I do. I just fluff up the flour a little bit with a spoon, then lightly spoon it into the cup until it’s overflowing. Then I use the back of a knife to level. If you google “how to measure ingredients properly,” you’ll see that this is a pretty standard way of doing it. 😉
Hey! I was wondering if you ever doubled this recipe? Or… does it really work if you use larger pans? Like 8inch? I’d like to make it for about a crowd of 30ish, so… I wanted maybe… four 6 inch layers (other desserts will be around; it’s a big Thanksgiving-type gathering) split in two and two, or… I don’t know. I don’t have 6 6 inch pans. haha. But do you think the batch would work doubled? Or split into 8 or 9 inch pans? I’m nervous! Thanks!
Gosh Kate I’m really not sure? I’ve only ever done it this way. Sometimes I refer to this chart– maybe you’ll find it helpful too. It’s worth a try! Good luck and let me know how you make out!
I’m too nervous to risk making it in the larger pan! Haha. I’m just going to do the 6 inch and do it twice for this event… But if you ever decide to ever play with the recipe again, I’m officially placing a formal request for a test with an 8 inch cake pan! 😀
Thanks for the quick reply! ^_^
Will do, Kate! Good luck and I hope you enjoy!
I’m curious whether you’ve ever made this cake in an 8 inch tin instead and how long you cooked it for? I’m thinking of doubling the recipe and making 2 x 8 inch cakes and splitting each in half for a larger crowd.
Hi there! If you want to bake it in an 8-inch pan, it should work just fine. I’d start by checking the cake at the 30-minute mark. If a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, then it’s done! If not, give it 5 more minutes and then check it again. Hope that helps! Good luck and enjoy!
So I doubled the recipe and split into 2 x 8 inch tins. Took about 38 mins to cook through. I checked at the 30 min mark and it was still gooey in the centre. I thought I was onto a winner but NO the cakes both puffed up well but dropped about 1/2 inch each. This is the second time I made the cake. I know I din’t overbeat, cooked till it was well-cooked, and used new baking powder so I am guessing I have a flop of an oven. Do you cook this on fan-bake? I’m sure it will taste fine but given it’s for a birthday cake tomorrow and I’m going to do the buttercream tonight I’m worried it will be too dense. Appreciate your thoughts. Should I coerce my husband into buying me a new oven?
It sounds like you want a new oven, lol! I just got one myself and it sure is nice to have a new toy 🙂 To be perfectly honest, this particular cake recipe is a little on the more dense, pound-cake-like side. I posted it almost three years ago now, and since then I have been tinkering around with it. I think I have a few improvements I can suggest, so I will go ahead and update the recipe. If you get a chance to try it again, hopefully you’ll have better luck with these updates. Thanks so much T, and I hope your husband agrees to giving you the oven of your dreams!