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Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Deep down, there's a part of me that believes that I belong in the city. Though I grew up in a city of sixty thousand, I spent most of my youth daydreaming of faraway places. Tropical islands, foreign countries, and big city lights were what I saw (and still see) when I closed my eyes. There was something about the tall buildings, the bustle of both cars and people, and the glowing of the city that I saw on television that drew me in.

Eventually I moved to one such city and fell in love—in love with the culture, the people, and the feeling of belonging. However, as all things go, the day came where I had to say goodbye. I packed my bags and left, my heart breaking in two.

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

As the years have passed since then, the chaos of the city, both wonderful and maddening, is something I have sorely missed. I made a promise to myself that I would return to the city again one day. When I began applying for jobs last spring, I sent applications far and wide. While I couldn't have predicted where I would end up, the reality surprised everyone, including myself. Instead of moving to my big city, I moved to a small town, population 3000.

I now reside in the heart of lakes country. Life moves slowly and conversation circles around whether the fish are biting and when hunting season begins. It is a very different life from the one I had in the big city, but it is neither better nor worse. There is one thing to be certain, however—it will take some getting used to.

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Three stoplights fill the roads, allowing cars to traverse the small town in just a few short minutes. My restaurant options have decreased by ten fold, exchanging chains for mom and pop diners. I have to drive over an hour away to find dairy-free butter, a staple in my kitchen. Some days this place feels smotheringly small, so different and unfamiliar from what I am accustomed, and others it feels like a wide open space, peaceful and inviting.

The other evening I opened my window to allow the night breeze in. While the blinds occasionally rustled, it took me awhile to realize the gravity of what was taking place. There was silence outside the window. No cars on the highway or on the nearby streets, no airplanes overhead or sirens in the distance. It was so quiet I double checked to make sure the window was even open at all. In that moment, I wondered if this small town might just grow on me after all.

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake is a dessert for all weather, warm or cold. The cake has a heavy flavor of malt and vanilla bean, though the crumb itself is light and moist. A light vanilla malt glaze tops the cake, coating the top and soaking into the bottom. I shared this cake with my new coworkers, a small gift of butter and sugar, and it disappeared both quickly and quietly. Light enough for warm fall weather and bold enough for a chilled evening, this cake will find a place on your table during all seasons.

One Year Ago: Cucumber Zucchini Cream Cheese Slices and Banana Rum Bread
Two Years Ago: Coconut Pancakes and Rocky Road Cookies
Three Years Ago: Jean Talon Market and Blueberry Tofu Smoothie

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Yields 1 bundt cake

Vanilla Bean Malt Cake
8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (280 grams) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (120 grams) sour cream (or plain, non-fat yogurt)
1/3 cup (75 grams) vegetable oil
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups (265 grams) cake flour
1/3 cup malt powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, malt powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the milk, stirring until batter is uniform and smooth.

Add batter to prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before glazing.

Vanilla Malt Glaze
1 1/2 cups (187 grams) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons malt powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, slowly add a small amount of milk. Likewise, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

To assemble, turn out bundt cake onto a serving platter. Carefully pour the glaze over the top and allow to set for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Reader Comments (29)

This is gorgeous. I love your writing it is so emotive; you really make me feel the conflict between the love for chaos and the need of quiet.
Such a pretty pound cake, and the malted flavour reminds me of my childhood. Photography? perfect as always!
I can't wait to make this! Vanilla and malt are two of my favorite flavors! Before I start, I just wanted to check, is there no malt powder in the cake itself? Thanks!
09.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Is there no malt powder in the cake?? Thanks.
09.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSherry
Kate & Sherry-- Forgot to add it in! The recipe has been fixed to reflect this. There is 1/3 cup malt powder in the cake.
09.26.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I recently found your blog and I just love it. It's hard to balance storytelling and writing with food recipes and photography, and I think you do such a nice job--very inspiring. I've never baked much with malt, but this cake looks fantastic!
My dad lives in the country in Texas, and I love going there in large part because of the silence. I'll sit on the porch at night and look across the pasture at the faint light from the house next door, and it makes me feel so peaceful. And although it's not totally silent, what with the crickets and horses and wind, that country silence is my favorite of all sounds. Anyway, I love simple cakes like this. I have a go to vanilla milk bundt that I like to make. I never would have though of adding malt, but it sounds wonderful. Will definitely have to give it a try.
09.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha
I'm definitely a city girl at heart. I lived for a year on an island (PEI...less exotic than it sounds) and it was much too tiny/secluded/not city like (go figure) for me. I love being out in nature but that's what I love about Calgary. You get the city and the mountains are only an hour away!
sounds wonderful :)
09.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVickie
I love the classic flavour of this cake. Gorgeous!
Looks so great! Do you think it would also work with chocolate malt powder?
09.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShanna
Ah, the small town life. Sounds heavenly, but every now and then I do miss the city lights and the traffic noise haha. I moved back to my hometown a couple of years ago to raise my little family. We only have 2 stop lights and one grocery store and 2 gas stations. haha I miss having Target or an IHOP near. But other times, I love going to the city to shop at these places too. Its my special trip and I can splurge all I want. haha
Last night I threw in diced apples and cinnamon into a yellow cake mix. After it was baked and cooled down I drizzled melted caramel on top. It was so yummy. My sons loved it. I have used 2 of your recipes also. And they love it too.
09.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarm
I really want to try baking with malt powder. It sounds like such a great addition to this cake. I would not be good at being a small town girl, but I don't think I'd like a big city either. But I might be able to adapt to either. You never know what it's like until you're in the moment.
09.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Dembowski
please explain: what is "malt powder" ? I've never heard it before, is it healthy? Thanks for a short info! Iris
09.27.2013 | Unregistered Commenteriris
It may surprise you to know you have a fan in Papua New Guinea. I work on a petro chemical construction project in the middle of tropical jungle and fanatise about doing baking when I get back on home leave to the UK, as here it is the same camp food every day. Your blog gives me inspiration and for that I thank you.
Best regards
Tim Walsh
(P.S. At night here the frogs and insects make more noise here than during the day!!)
09.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Walsh
This sounds SO delicious. I don't have much experience with malt powder but this is making me want to explore it more! Also, your writing is so captivating - I love reading along : ]
09.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShelly
The cake looks great!
I too am asking whether the malted milk powder containing cacao will work here - I am not aware of such product in Israel and the only kind I've manage to find in a store which imports American and other foreign products is by Oveltine, containing cacao.
09.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
Good morning.
Since early September I began to take a tour of all network blogs that suggests me something. It's my personal way to show all I like. I have linked your blog in my latest publication. Everything is properly referenced. Congratulations for your work. Thank you very much.
09.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCósima
This looks amazingly delicious.
10.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanette
I love malty flavours! Thanks for sharing x
10.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrisha
It seems sooooo good !
10.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouise
I made this yesterday, I went out and bought a bundt tin especially. I had no regrets, it is by far the moistest cake I have ever eaten.

I couldn't find pure malt powder here, so did actually have to substitute Ovaltine, but still it was amazing.
10.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDani
I love the combination of this. Sounds scrumdidilyumptious
Love the styling! The cake sounds perfect for this chilly evening.
Oh, your photos. I'm in love.
10.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarly
Great cake! I made it for afternoon tea today and it got rave reviews!!
10.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMintpatty
This looks SO good. My favourite milkshake flavour is vanilla malt so this grabbed my attention straight away. I'm making this to take to a friend's place tonight.
10.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
This is just the best cake. Every Sunday I make something to take into the office and I made this. It is now Tuesday and it is almost and I have handed this out to 4 of the girls! So yum!!!
10.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBron
I am generally not one to leave comments, but this cake was so amazing that I just had to let you know. I have made quite a few of your recipes, and they are always fantastic.
10.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I want to thank you for this recipe, this cake is so moist and delicious, I can't stop eating it! I tweaked it.a bit by adding cocoa and coffee to half the batter to turn it into a marble cake. I baked it in mini bundt tins and dusted them with sugar, soooooo gooood! Big Thanks!
12.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarin Hossack

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