Nigella’s Chocolate Malteser Cake

I’ve been a big fan of Nigella Lawson since the first time I caught her show on Discovery Travel and Living. I guess her charm is based on the way she conveys her enjoyment of cooking and food on TV (everyone at home agrees that she makes the “ummm” and “aaaah” sounds every time she takes a bite of something), or maybe it’s the joy she exudes while she’s in the kitchen. But the one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that the things she creates in the kitchen are incredible. I’ve already tried her flourless chocolate cake before, and it was superb. So last weekend, I finally got one of her books, Nigella Fresh, to add to my cookbook library. I may not have the time right now to go through the book but I’m putting it in my calendar.

The newest addition to my cookbook collection

Anyway, this recipe is not from her book Nigella Fresh, but rather from her book Feast. I came across it a couple of weeks ago in Tumblr. A photo of the cake from a blogger caught my eye, although at that time I had no idea that it was Nigella’s recipe. I happen to love chocolate cake and Maltesers so I decided to give it a go over that weekend. The cake turned out perfectly mouth-watering! My family loved it, my friends loved it, I absolutely love it. This recipe I am keeping for years to come. Another inspired recipe from the “Kitchen Goddess”.

You’ll definitely find this recipe all over the Web, but I’m putting it up for my friends here exactly as I found it. Also, at the end of this post, I’m putting up a modified version of the frosting recipe for anyone who would like to cut their sugar intake.

Chocolate Malteser Cake

Chocolate Malteser Cake



The finished cake without frosting

  • 150g soft brown sugar (muscavado sugar is best for flavour)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175ml milk
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Horlicks powder (or ovaltine)
  • 175g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Icing and Decoration
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 45g Horlicks
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 x 37g packets Maltesers


Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature (though it’s not so crucial here, since you’re heating the milk and butter and whisking the eggs.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/170°C. Butter and line two 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.

Whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and frothy. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Beat the milk mixture into the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients thoroughly. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the cakes should have risen and will spring back when pressed gently. Let them cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes and then turn them out of their tins.

Once the cakes are cold, you can get on with the icing. I use a processor just because it makes life easier: you don’t need to sieve the icing sugar. So: put the icing sugar, cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.

Sandwich the cold sponges with half of the buttercream, and then ice the top with what is left, creating a swirly pattern rather than a smooth surface. Stud the outside edge, about 1cm in, with a ring of Maltesers or use them to decorate the top in which-ever way pleases you.

Makes 8-10 slices.

Remember that when making this cake, there is free reign over how you want to decorate it. Use as much Maltesers as you like. Also, if Horlicks is not available in your favorite market, replace everything with Ovaltine, which is what I did. I also opted to bake the sponge in a single batch in an 8-inch round baking tin and simply split the cake before frosting. It reduces clean-up at the end and gives me an excuse to use my cake leveler which, by the way, you should get one of if you always end up with irregular planes when splitting cakes, like me.

What I found out after making the cake the first time is that the frosting can become too sweet or rich. So I’m posting a modified frosting recipe with reduced sugar and replacing some of the butter with vegetable shortening. And for those of us without a food processor at home but do have a motorized mixer, as every dedicated home baker should, I’ve also modified the procedure for making the frosting.

Light Malt Icing


  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 45g Horlicks/Ovaltine
  • 75g soft unsalted butter
  • 50g vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water


Beat the butter and vegetable shortening together with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy (about 1 minute). Fold in the cocoa, Horlicks powder and icing sugar with the butter. The resulting mixture will be fairly dry and lumpy, so use a fork to break down the large lumps. Scrape the sides and mix on medium speed. With the motor on, add the boiling water and mix on high speed until you have a smooth buttercream.

My suggestion is for you to make this cake and tell me what you think on the comments section at the bottom. Cheers! 🙂


2 responses to “Nigella’s Chocolate Malteser Cake

  1. Dear Batchhead, i will be really happy to receive this on my birthday.hahahaha 🙂 nagutom ako dito -.-

  2. Pingback: Anniversaire de Sébastien |·

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