Chocolate Malted Milk Cake.

Patsy and Stu
I love malted milk, and especially chocolate malted milkshakes. I assume I inherited my taste for malts from Dear Old Dad, who is also a malt lover. My husband shares this love of malts, and in the summer we occasionally walk to Hartigan’s Ice Cream for malts. My parents often tell of one blissful pre-marital summer when they drank so many malts they each gained 10 pounds. I dunno, those vintage love birds are looking pretty svelte to me! Oddly, my son does not like malts, which puzzles me to no end. What’s not to like?

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Malted milk is made from
malted barley, wheat flour and whole milk, evaporated into a powder form. When you stop gagging, seriously -- it’s quite delicious whipped into a shake. Malted milk is an unusual flavor if you’re used to regular ol’ powdered chocolate milk mix and chocolate milkshakes (nothing wrong with’em). I imagine on some tastebuds that unique malty taste doesn’t blend well with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. I’ve often wondered what that malted flavor really is. If I had to describe it, I wouldn’t know what adjectives to use. “Malt” is a word generally used in conjunction with beer and whiskey. Malted milk, thankfully, does not taste like beer or whiskey.

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Malted milk was invented by the English-born
Horlick brothers -- William and James -- as a nutritional aid for infants and “invalids.” The Horlicks emigrated from England to Chicago, and ultimately settled in Racine, Wisconsin where they began manufacturing their milk-based product “Diastoid.” Mmmm, can I have a thick, frosty Diastoid shake to go with my burger, please?

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Eventually they trademarked the more appetizing and descriptive name “malted milk,” which became popular not only with mothers of infants and teenagers at aptly named malt shops, but also with Arctic explorers, who appreciated the nutritious and non-perishable qualities of the milk powder. Back then it was mixed with water, making it tremendously convenient for Arctic travel.

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Recently I had malted milk in a truly delicious
Chocolate Malted Milk Cake I discovered at Lost Recipes Found. Created by Leona Kroupa of Cedar, Michigan, the cake won a prize at the Pillsbury 5th Grand National Bake Off in 1954 -- and well deserved, too!

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Even with 1-1/2 cups of Ovaltine Malted Milk powder, this cake doesn’t taste so much like a chocolate malted as it does like a really REALLY good chocolate cake. It has just a handful of ingredients all mixed together in the same bowl. The only modification I made in the batter was to substitute light sour cream for the full fat version.

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The Honey Nougat Frosting is to absolutely
dreamy -- like fluffy honeyed ambrosia made toasty and crunchy with roasted almond slivers. I used only 1 tablespoon of honey (whisky spiked Heather Honey!) instead of 2, and I admit I forgot to add the 1/2 tsp. of vanilla, but it was still one of the tastiest and surprisingly not over-sweet frostings I’ve ever made.

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Don’t be intimidated by the double boiler method for making this light marshmallow-like frosting -- it’s easy and so satisfying to watch the ingredients slowly froth up. I mixed the toasted slivered almonds into the frosting, but you could sprinkle them on top as well. Or omit them if you're not a nut lover. The recipe makes a nice manageable 8x8 (or 9x9) cake.

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Horlick's malt powder used to be easy to find in stores around here, but no more so I buy regular flavor Carnation and chocolate flavored Ovaltine -- just like
Little Orphan Annie. Vermont Country Store carries the Horlick's malted milk tablets, but holymackerelandy! They cost $19 PLUS shipping (which ain't cheap at VCS) for 27 tablets. YIKES. Back in the day we bought jars of those tablets at the drug store, and even if one allows for inflation there's no way they were that expensive.

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You'll need glasses of cold milk with this scrumptious chocolatey fluffy-topped cake. And before bed have a mug full of milk mixed with some leftover Ovaltine.

Little Orphan Annie knew what she was talking about!

Want to make this nummy cake? Go here for the recipe.

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