Love and Olive Oil

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Cupcakes, take 2. These were the unfortunate cupcakes that failed so miserably last weekend. Luckily, the flavor itself was not at fault; but rather the recipe I chose for the frosting. Cooked buttercream and I obviously do not get along. Hey, I tried.

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Another thing that does not get along is buttercream and heat. No matter whether it is American, Swiss, or cooked, when the temperature hits a certain threshold it breaks down. Literally. Gloopy separations do not make for pretty or tasty cupcakes. I tend to avoid buttercream of any kind when the temperature gets above 90 degrees or so. You’re going to need a much higher ratio of sugar to butter in the summer, and don’t you dare leave that butter out too long. In the summer months, the call for “room temperature” butter should be purposely ignored (instead, take the butter out maybe 5-10 minutes before you beat it, that should work just fine). Additionally, substituting shortening for some of the butter will help keep it stable.

I chose not to add malt to the cupcakes themselves, didn’t think it would make a difference in the overall flavor. So I simply topped my favorite go-to chocolate cupcakes with a dollop of sweet malted chocolate buttercream. Just malty enough that it tastes like a good old fashioned milkshake, but so much that you feel like you’re drinking a glass of ovaltine.

If the weather cooperates, I have a few more flavor ideas for cupcakes I’m going to attempt in the near future. And you deserve it, too, for putting up with all these non-dessert posts for the past few weeks, er, months. Totally unlike me, I swear. There used to be a time when 3 of the 5 posts on the homepage were sugary sweet. Considering it’s been over two weeks since I posted anything dessert like, and a full TWO MONTHS since my last cupcake post (oh, the horror!) If only I could figure out a way to sneak some beets in a cupcake recipe… hmm…

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons almond meal
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For Frosting:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk or soymilk
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix).

Pour into liners, filling each with 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). For mini cupcakes, fill each with 1 tablespoon batter. Bake 18-20 minutes (or 10-12 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For frosting, in a small bowl, combine milk and malted milk powder and mix until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add cocoa powder and 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla and malted milk mixture. Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition (depending on the temperature of your butter, you may need more or less sugar/cream to achieve the proper consistency). Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. do you know what I can use as a substitute for the almond meal? I love that many of your recipes exclude eggs as a family member has an egg allergy, but he also has a peanut/tree nut allergy. Any ideas for substitutions? Thanks.

    • You can use any other finely ground nut or nut flour, though it will affect the final flavor. If that can’t be done, just substitute whole wheat flour or regular flour and the cupcakes will turn out just fine. :)

  2. Your recipes look delish!..I’m new to your page and noticed you had a blog about cooking @ high altitude. Are all your recipes adjusted for high altitude or just the hot Mexican chocolate?

  3. Oh I love malt! I would love to try these!

  4. Love the colors of these cupcakes! I could decorate a room around them!

  5. I don’t think you need to sneak beets into cupcakes. Just make beet cupcakes. Maybe roast them til they get all caramelized, and then puree them. I might just have to do this myself.

    Or…. grated like carrots with cream cheese frosting. Beetcake Cupcakes!

  6. I know of just the recipe you’re looking for – Red velvet cupcakes made with puréed beets!

  7. what pretty pics, yet again :)

  8. These sound awesome! My daughter and I will have to try them!!! Thank you!

  9. These are so pretty! The photos are absolutely gorgeous – I love all the blue. The addition of coconut milk and almond mean I have to bookmark this, and put it on my “Must Try” list once I have an oven again!

  10. You could add beet juice/puree to your Go-To Chocolate Cupcake and make Red Velvet. I’ve never made it that way, but I’ve always wanted to try it.

    Here in California, I somehow managed to successfully frost a lemon cake on the 4th of July. Summer buttercream usually means making it REALLY fast and/or popping it in the refrigerator at the first sign of trouble (usually more than once)! The silly hoops we jump through for dessert… =)

  11. Lucky for me it usually doesn’t get too hot in Seattle so I don’t have to fight with buttercream, but last summer it definitely did. I made the swiss buttercream (from Smitten Kitchen) and it held up beautifully on a day that hit 95 degrees, even when the cake was kept outside.

    Just wanted to let you know. :)

    And these cupcakes look wonderful.

  12. Fido makes a beet cake!

    • Hmm…. now there’s an idea… actually saw a recipe for beet muffins, maybe I’ll try to sweeten that up a bit and make cupcakes! That is, if Taylor will share his precious beets (he’s decided they are his new favorite thing, like ever).

  13. I LOVE chocolate malt and have never seen it in a cupcake, this looks so delicious!

  14. I love your basic chocolate cupcake recipe. I love that it doesn’t contain eggs, since I’m always short on them from my baking adventures. Thanks for the new recipe!

  15. Such pretty cupcakes! I love a chocolate and malt combination, so I will have to try it.

  16. Oooh love malt flavored anything! These look delicious and the photos are gorgeous. And we understand the frosting/heat conundrum…had a cake that proved rather difficult to frost during these past few steamy days!

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