At first glance, this may just look like your average vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. But it’s so much more than that. I’ve enhanced the classic to make a snack cake worth talking about.
First, let’s talk about the cake. I started with a simple yellow cake. It has buttermilk to add tang and tenderness, and pure vanilla extract and butter for flavor. It’s a simple, cozy base. Then I added chopped bittersweet chocolate. Why not chocolate chips? I’ll admit that chips are the easy route. But chopped bittersweet chocolate has more to offer. First of all, I like to use good-quality chocolate with a cocoa percentage around 65 or 70 percent. That’s easier to find in block form. Secondly, when you chop chocolate you end up with pieces of varying sizes, from chip-sized chunks to smaller flakes to even smaller chocolate dust. When all of these pieces of chocolate get folded into the cake batter, every inch of cake gets a different degree of chocolate, making the eating experience varied and pleasant.
Next we have the frosting. I amped it up with a bit of malted milk powder. Malted milk powder is a combination of dried milk, barley malt and wheat. It’s naturally sweet, with a somewhat caramelized dairy flavor. It goes beautifully with chocolate. I doubled the chocolate flavor by adding both cocoa powder and melted chocolate, and rounded the whole thing out with plenty of butter. This frosting is super-rich and luscious. These two parts come together to make the snack cake homey enough for an after-school treat and special enough for the most-important occasion.
Get the Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Snack Cake with Chocolate Malt Frosting
Samantha Seneviratne is a New York-based writer, recipe developer and food stylist. She is the author of The New Sugar and Spice (Ten Speed Press), a baking cookbook combining family stories and food history with recipes that reimagine dessert as a more balanced mix of sugar and spice. Her second book, Gluten Free for Good (Clarkson Potter), comes out in August 2016. She blogs about dessert at Love, Cake.