Minty Chocolate Malt Cake

A load of crushed candy canes top this ultra minty chocolate malt cake that's a cinch to make.
A load of crushed candy canes top this ultra minty chocolate malt cake that’s a cinch to make.

Not one, not two, but three mints in one.

Forgive the play on the old Certs jingle (if you’re old enough to remember that), but this cake fairly leaves me breathless in its minty majesty.

“Minty Chocolate Malt Cake” is from the new cookbook, “Snacking Cakes: Simple Treats for Anytime Cravings” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Yossy Arefi, a fabulous food photographer and cookbook writer, who created the blog, Apt. 2B Baking Co.

These 50 recipes are the types of cakes we all love to bake — single-layered, simply adorned, easy enough to whip up on the spur of the moment, and perfect for any occasion.

Get ready to enjoy everything from “Grapefruit White Chocolate Cake” and “Salty Caramel Peanut Butter Cake” to “Chocolate-Orange Beet Cake” and “Sticky Whiskey Date Cake.”

Best yet, with each recipe, Arefi includes notes on how to bake the particular cake in other pans (loaf, round, sheet, square), if you so prefer.

You don’t even need an electric mixer for “Minty Chocolate Malt Cake,” just a couple of bowls and a whisk.

There is malted milk powder in the batter, which adds a subtle nostalgic toastiness, and coffee that always helps bring out the wonderful bitter edge of chocolate even more.

There is also mint extract in the cake batter, as well as the cocoa mint glaze. And just because I could, I decorated the entire top of the baked cake with crushed candy canes for even more minty goodness.

This is a super moist cake with an airy crumb that tastes like an Andes mint. It’s very chocolately with the cooling whoosh of wake-me-up mint in every bite.

Upping the mint factor with a load of candy cane pieces may be excess. But isn’t that what this joyous season is all about?

An effortless cake to get the party (socially-distanced this year) started.
An effortless cake to get the party (socially-distanced this year) started.

Minty Chocolate Malt Cake

(Makes one 8-by-8-inch cake)

For Minty Chocolate Malt Cake:

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon mint extract

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup malted milk powder

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup hot coffee or water

For Cocoa Mint Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, very soft

1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Pinch of salt

2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water

For garnish (optional):

Candy canes, crushed in a sealed plastic bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet

Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a strip of parchment paper that hangs over two of the edges.

Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the oil, milk, vanilla, mint extract, and salt. Whisk until smooth and emulsified. Sift the malted milk powder and cocoa powder over the top and whisk them in.

Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk until smooth. Lastly, add the coffee and stir until well-combined and smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula.

Bake the cake until puffed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then use the parchment paper to life the cake out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze: Add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to a bowl. Whisk until combined and any lumps in the cocoa have been broken up. Add the butter, mint extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons boiling water and whisk until smooth. If the glaze is very thick, add a few drops of water until it is smooth and pourable consistency.

Immediately pour the glaze over the cooled cake. If you let it sit, it gets fudgy and spreadable, rather than silky and pourable, which honestly isn’t bad at all. Sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces all over, if using. Let the glaze set for about 20 minutes before slicing the cake. (Store the cake, covered, at room temperature for up to three days.)

Other Pan Options

Loaf: Bake in a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan until puffed and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. You’ll need a half batch of glaze to coat the cake in a thin layer.

Round: Bake in a 9-inch round pan until puffed and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Sheet: Double the ingredients for the cake and bake in a 9-by-13-inch pan until puffed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Double the ingredients for the glaze, too.

Adapted from “Snacking Cakes” by Yossy Arefi

Another Sweet Treat from Yossy Arefi: Soft Chocolate and Fig Cake

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  • This cake looks BEYOND divine! And I had to look up the Certs commercial, hahaha.

  • Hi Liz: You had to look up the Certs commercial because you’re a youngin! LOL πŸ˜‰

  • Excess during this holiday season is definitely in order.

  • Hi there, thank you so much for this recipe. I love chocolate mint!
    Just wondering, my batter came out very liquidy, and I put it to the max baking time and the top deflated a bit. The bottom was quite oily. I followed the recipe to a t, any recommendations on what I can do different?

  • Hi Sam: Oh, no. I’m sorry to hear that. From your description, it sounds like the batter ingredients might not have been fully incorporated if the bottom got oily and the top deflated. Or perhaps the oil began to separate in the batter because the oven wasn’t hot enough to give everything a lift at the start. Is your oven calibrated? Could it be that it might actually be at a lower temperature even if the dial reading says 350 degrees? Were your eggs at room temperature? This recipe didn’t specify that, but I find that most cake recipes advise that eggs be at room temperature in order to create more lift in the batter when baking.

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