Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

When I was kid, there was an ice cream truck named Mr. Frosty that meandered through our neighborhood on hot summer days. As soon as we heard the familiar song, we would drop whatever we were doing to raid my dad’s coin dish on his dresser.

My brother and I typically opted for Screwballs because there was nothing better than that frozen piece of gum nestled into the bottom of the conical, plastic cup. Please tell me at least some of you agree with me?

When my dad was home from work, he always ordered a chocolate malt with extra malt. Never being much of a chocolate fan, this ultra thick, malty shake never appealed to me – although I couldn’t resist sneaking slurps of my dad’s treat just see if I could acquire a taste for the flavor.

Yeah, that didn’t really work until adulthood when I started ordering vanilla malts from the local ice cream stand. Malt, who knew?!

Last week, I was strolling through Target’s Easter candy selection and had a flash of brilliance when I laid my eyes upon Whoppers Easter Robin Eggs. Cupcakes. Chocolate Malt Cupcakes!

Well, that whole flash of creative brilliance was squashed when I shared this idea with Amber who chuckled and informed me that my idea was not as imaginative as I had thought. In fact, she made them AND posted them awhile ago, but being that I have the short term memory of a gnat – I forgot. I even commented on the post about how much my dad would love them. Holy bad memory, Batman!

Although Chocolate Malt Cupcakes may not be the most ingenious idea I’ve ever had, I knew they would be the perfect Easter dessert for my malt loving dad.

A thick, rich, fluffy, malt buttercream blends perfectly with chocolate cupcakes to create an amazing Easter inspired dessert. Clearly malt and chocolate are a combination that bears repeating, over and over again. Pick up those Whoppers Easter Robin Eggs and go to town. Your family will love you for it.

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18-22 minutes


For the Cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (see note below)
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (see note below)

For the Chocolate Malt Buttercream

4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup malt powder
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream


For the Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.

3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

For the Buttercream

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until creamy.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the malt powder, cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar.

3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and mix at low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4. Once all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add in 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat the buttercream for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. If you want your frosting a little thinner, gradually add in more cream, 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

5. Frost your cooled cupcakes and garnish with Whoppers Easter Robin Eggs


- If you are not a fan of boxed cake mixes, just use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe that yields 24 cupcakes.
- You can sub Whoppers candy for the Robin Eggs.
- My favorite Devil's Food Cake is Betty Crocker - Pudding in the mix.
- If you don't have instant espresso granules, you can sub in 1/2 cup warm coffee.
- The espresso in this recipe really just deepens the chocolate flavor, but if you aren't into the whole coffee thing, just use 1/2 cup warm water.
- I used a large French Tip from Bake It Pretty to pipe the buttercream.

45 Responses to “Chocolate Malt Cupcakes”

  1. Too funny. I remember that conversation and how excited you were! They’re way prettier than mine, Jamie. That’s for sure.


  2. Susan — April 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Sounds wonderful, thanks for the Easter cupcake inspiration, was wondering what to bake for Sunday.


  3. Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker — April 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Your cupcakes are gorgeous! I fell in love with malt last year; will definitely need to make these!


  4. Becky @ Becky Bakes — April 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Mmmm…I love malt anything! This is my favorite cupcake recipe too and the malt buttercream sounds delicious. Saving this recipe!

    Oh, and those Bake It Pretty tips are the best aren’t they!?


  5. Chels — April 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    My husband loves Chocolate Malt Shakes so I think he would really dig these cupcakes, especially if there is espresso in it, YUM! Gorgeous pics as always!


  6. Urban Wife — April 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I need to make these stat.


  7. Kim — April 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Vanilla Malt milkshakes are my FAVORITE! Perhaps I’ll have to play with making a vanilla malt cupcake.


  8. Maya — April 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    What tip did you use to ice? I love how round it is.
    You make amazing stuff!


    • Jamie — April 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      I used the large French Tip from Bake It Pretty. Thanks do much for stopping by!

  9. TidyMom — April 7, 2012 at 9:13 am

    lol I’ve done that before!

    these look and sound delicious Jamie!


  10. Oh Yum! Your cupcakes look so good!!! Wonderful recipe!


  11. Maria — April 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Screwballs were definitely the best treat on the ice cream truck! Totally agree.
    These cupcake sound great..I love whoppers (alas I stand alone) nobody else in the house likes the taste.


  12. thelittleloaf — April 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I loved chocolate malt as a child and love it now! These look gorgeous – I wish I could pipe icing like you :-)


  13. Elisa — April 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

    There is a coffee company that puts malt in the mochas….delicious. I would probably love these too. Another of your recipes added to the “to try” list.


  14. Shea Goldstein — April 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

    These look fantastic…can’t wait to make them. I love malt!


  15. Mireia — April 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    These look perfect, and I adore the little egg chocolates on top!!!


  16. AmyRuth — April 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    They are just perfect… photo and all. What an awesome Easter idea. Have you ever made Dorie’s chocolate malt whopper cookies? They also are tasty. They have Ovaltine in the mix


  17. Martha in KS — April 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I have a food memory of a cake served at a church social which still makes me salivate almost 50 yrs. later. It was a yellow cake with chocolate malted icing. Made a chubby little girl very happy. I’ll try to replicate it using your buttercream icing. Thanks for the recipe!

    I can also hear “Da da da da da da, dah dah dah… look for Mr. Frosty.”


  18. susan — April 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    these are so pretty, Jamie. I could eat the frosting right off my screen!


  19. Joy — April 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Hi! Does this recipe call for malted powder (made of barley) or malted milk powder? Thanks!


  20. Sherrie — April 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I used to eat Ovaltine by the spoonful when I was a kid, old memories! Thanks for another great recipe. :)


  21. Tracy @ Pale Yellow — April 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    These look beautiful and delicious! Such a great use for those leftover Robin’s Eggs or Whoppers.


  22. Brisha — April 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    These look fantastic!!! Yumm! I love malt! Do you use ovaltine for your malt powder in the buttercream?


  23. megan @ whatmegansmaking — April 10, 2012 at 5:46 am

    I love every time you post a new cupcake recipe! This frosting sounds wonderful. My husband LOVES chocolate malts so I think I just found his new birthday cake! :)


  24. Kristen — April 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Malt has to be one of my most favorite flavors. I do think these are pretty genius!


  25. Kajal — April 12, 2012 at 5:39 am

    I Love malt!!! and this looks awesome! can’t wait to do a malted turtle now! Thanks for posting this Jamie :)


  26. Bakeaholic — April 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    These are the most perfect looking cupcakes!! Yum!


  27. New Orleans Honey — April 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm



  28. Wonder — May 5, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Hi there, I’m just wondering if the malt powder is the same as ‘Milk Powder?’


    • Jamie — May 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      I used Carnation Malted Milk Powder for this recipe. Milk powder or powered milk will not contain the malt flavor. Have a great day.

  29. Krista — May 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    This cake recipe is now my “go to” for chocolate cupcakes. DELICIOUS. Currently frosting 93 for my husbands graduation party, with this chocolate malt frosting, a basic vanilla buttercream, and’s chocolate buttercream. Thanks so much!


    • Jamie — May 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe and 93 cupcakes? You are amazing!

  30. Lisa — March 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    These cupcakes are fantastic. I get requests for them all the time. I add an extra egg, but I do that with every cake or cupcake recipe. It just adds to the moist flavor. Thanks for sharing.


  31. Jamie — October 11, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I made these today and they are delicious! I added about one cup total of the malt powder because I liked the flavor. Very moist and good contrast between the frosting and cake. I did not add the coffee because the cocoa powder I used (verona) is very chocolatey as is. Yum yum!


    • Jamie — October 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      I’m so glad the recipe was a success for you. Thanks for visiting.


  32. Rabeea — February 6, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Hi. Love this recipe. Just wanted to ask you how would I adjust it if i had only chocolate malt powder at hand. Or the icing can’t be made at all without the plain malt powder? Thanks!


    • Jamie — February 8, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      I think the chocolate malt powder would work just fine. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting.


  33. Madeline — May 19, 2015 at 8:43 am

    These cupcakes were so soft and moist! I used the chocolate malt powder instead of the plain for the frosting and it was really really sweet. I definitely want to try this recipe again with the plain malt powder to see if I like it even more.


    • Jamie — May 22, 2015 at 11:15 am

      I’m so glad the recipe was a success for you. Thanks so much for visiting.


  34. Estee — February 27, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Jamie! If I already have chocolate malt powder on hand, then how much should I use? Thanks!


  35. Estee — February 28, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Hi. How would I adjust the amount if I already have chocolate malt powder on hand???? Thanks in advance. 


    • Jamie — February 29, 2016 at 6:53 am

      Hi, Estee! I would suggest using 2/3 cup of the chocolate malt powder, eliminating the cocoa powder, and just taste until you get the taste you want. Maybe add some cocoa powder if you want a more chocolate flavor? Let me know how it goes!

  36. regina — March 17, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Where can I purchase a french tip?  Could I use a large plain tip?


    • Jamie — March 19, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Hi, Regina! You can purchase a french tip at Williams Sonoma or on Amazon. You could definitely use a large plain tip, but the design would just come out differently. I hope you enjoy the cupcakes!

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