Web Toolbar by Wibiya Happy Bee Day: Vanilla Malt-Ball Cake & Homemade Dulce de Leche ~ Dozen Flours
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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

November 21, 2011

Happy Bee Day: Vanilla Malt-Ball Cake & Homemade Dulce de Leche

Hi everyone! It's been a long, long time since I've make a cake like this one (or blogged in general...my apologies for that). So long, in fact, that I had to read up on some of my techniques for working with fondant. Thank goodness Elisa Strauss wrote a cookbook!

A few months ago a college from work referred her friend Shauna to me to make a cake for a baby shower she was hosting. Her theme was classic Winnie the Pooh and wanted something with warm yellows, sagey greens, and snuggley browns. She sent me a photo of a cake that she liked but gave me artistic freedom to make changes as I saw fit. I tried to stick to her original muse as much as I could. I made the colors a little softer, made the bees cuter, and "Julia-fied" the overall look. :) In addition to the beehive cake I also made 30 cupcakes and 24 cake pops. The beehive cake was made entirely out of my tried and true Chocolate Stout Cake. It's perfect for carving as its dense texture really holds its shape well. I made it two days early so it could sit in the fridge and chill. This allows the chocolate flavors to really blossom and develop. I filled it with chocolate ganache and chocolate cream cheese frosting and did two layers of Italian meringue buttercream on the outside to seal and stabilize the cake further. This also provides an excellent canvas for the fondant.

The cupcakes were a combination of the same chocolate flavor and one of my favorites, Vanilla Malt. It's a great alternative to just plain vanilla but really benefits from a dominantly flavored frosting like milk chocolate. However, since I needed to dye the cupcake frosting green and yellow, it had to have a white base so chocolate was out of the question. So I added a layer of homemade dulche de leche between the cupcake and the frosting for just a little extra flavor. No matter how cute it looks, it still has to taste good! I had so much fun making this cake! It's nice to know that I haven't forgotten everything I've learned over the years. And the best part, it got me to post again and for that I'm beeyond happy. :)

PS: If anyone knows where I can find these little fluted cupcake liners, I would be very appreciative. I ordered them a few years ago and can't remember where I found them online. They are rigid and don't need to bake in a cupcake pan. I love them!

Malt-Ball Cake

Yield: 1 9x9 cake (enough to make about 25 cake pops) and 18 cupcakes 

adapted from Brooklyn's Baked Bakery

2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup malted-milk powder (I like Carnation brand)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (Best quality you can get. It has a big influence on the flavor!)
2 cups ice water
4 large fresh egg whites, at room temperature (avoid egg whites in the carton)

Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper or line a a cupcake tin. In a large bowl, whisk the flours with the malt powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the shortening until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches at low speed, alternating with the ice water, occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter between the pans, spreading it evenly, and bake the cakes for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and let cool completely. Peel off the parchment.

To make cupcakes, bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven the moment that the cake is solid on the surface and when you put a toothpick in the center of one of the cakes it comes out clean. Let them sit on a cooling rack in the pan for about 5 minutes. The cupcakes will continue to bake while they cool off and they get more stable too so don't be tempted to pick them up or they will crack.

Home made Dulce de Leche
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
pinch of salt

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425F.

Pour condensed milk into pie plate and stir in a generous pinch of salt. Cover pie plate with foil and crimp foil tightly around rim. Put in a roasting pan, then add enough boiling-hot water to reach halfway up side of pie plate, making sure that foil is above water. Bake, refilling pan to halfway with water about every 30 minutes, until milk is thick and a deep golden caramel color, about 1 1/4 to 2 hours. Remove pie plate from water bath and transfer toffee to a bowl, then chill toffee, uncovered, until it is cold, about 1 hour.


  1. I was SO happy to see a post from you in my google reader! Have you tried king Arthur for those fluted liners? I might be going there this weekend!!!!! I will look the for you (25% off this weekend!!!)

  2. Hi Tami! :) I actually found them when I searched for brioche liner instead of cupcake liners. You can find them here: http://www.simplycaked.com/tulip-brioche-cups/brown-brioche-floret-baking-cups

    Thanks though!!

  3. You've outdone yourself this time! Back with a vengeance. :-)

  4. You say "Vanilla - best quality you can get". What vanilla is your favorite? Store-bought? Homemade?

    Homemade Vanilla at

  5. Hi Rusty,

    My favorite is Singing Dog Vanilla. I have tried homemade vanilla made by someone else but have never made it myself.

  6. ADORABLE bee treats!


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