Get ready for the best malted chocolate ganache cake! This moist chocolate cake is packed with malted milk flavor and covered in the dreamiest chocolate ganache frosting. It’s the perfect layer cake for chocolate lovers!

chocolate ganache cake cut in half on a wooden cake stand.

There is nothing better than a huge slice of chocolate cake! Based on my viral dark chocolate coffee cake, it is even more chocolatey!

Made with toasty malted milk powder in the cake layers and chocolate fudge frosting, this chocolate ganache cake is beyond decadent and is perfect for birthdays, special occasions, or dinner parties.

If you love this chocolate cake, you’ll love my chocolate-covered strawberry cake!

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Ganache Cake

  • While this may be a chocolate-heavy recipe, the addition of the malt powder makes it not overly sweet, similar to my ding dong cake.
  • This is a rich chocolate cake with tons of chocolate flavor in every bite. It’s the same base recipe as my black velvet cake!
  • The addition of oil makes this a super moist cake that stays soft and moist for days.
  • The entire chocolate ganache cake is covered in the best-whipped chocolate ganache; no powdered sugar is needed.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

ingredients needed to make chocolate cake in bowls with labels.
ingredients needed to make chocolate ganache frosting in bowls with labels.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

Unsweetened cocoa powder: Ghiradelli Dutch Cocoa Powder is the best, and will give the cake a rich and chocolatey flavor like in my Reese’s cake. I don’t recommend substituting it for regular cocoa powder.

Sour cream: This provides moisture and richness to prevent a dry texture. Full-fat plain Greek yogurt is a great substitution. I love using sour cream in my cookie butter cake, too!

Malted milk powder: I recommend using King Arthur Malted Milk Powder for the best results! I tested this chocolate ganache cake with a few brands and found while others work, this brand has a stronger flavor and is less clumpy than the others.

Coffee: Brewed coffee intensifies the richness and flavor of chocolate – you won’t taste it, but you can substitute it with hot water if needed. I use this in all my chocolate cake recipes, like my raspberry chocolate cake and caramel turtle cupcakes.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ingredients

Chocolate chips: Semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips are best. I don’t recommend using white chocolate or milk chocolate because they are not equal substitutions in this recipe.

Heavy whipping cream: This ingredient is crucial for the ganache frosting, without it, it will not set properly

Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!

Recipe Instructions

Before you start, line three 8-inch pans (round cake pans) with parchment paper on the bottom and set them aside.

Make the Ganache

Step 1: Make the ganache frosting. Melt the butter and salt in a pot over medium heat. Then whisk in the heavy cream, granulated sugar, and malted milk powder and whisk occasionally until almost boiling. (image 1 below).

Step 2: Chill the ganache overnight. Stream the hot chocolate mixture into the bowl with the cocoa powder, mixing until combined. Scrape down the bowl then mix on a higher speed until lump-free. Transfer to a bowl with a lid and chill in the fridge. (image 2 below).

Bake the Cake

Step 3: Combine the dry ingredients. In a stand mixing bowl or with an electric hand mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, milk powder, leavening, and salt. Then mix in the cubed butter on low speed until it resembles coarse sand. (image 3 below).

a process collage of the steps for making ganache cake.

Step 4: Mix in half of the wet ingredients. Mix in the sour cream and oil. (image 4 above).

Step 5: Mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. On low speed, stream in the eggs, milk, vanilla, hot coffee, and cocoa powder (image 5 below). Mix until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well combined.

Step 6: Bake! Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans (image 6 below) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs. Let the pans cool on a wire rack, then remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely.

a process collage of the steps for how to make and decorate ganache cake.

Assembly

Step 7: Whip the ganache. Scrape the ganache frosting into a mixing bowl and mix it with the paddle on medium speed to loosen it up. (image 7 above).

Step 8: Decorate! Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Pipe some of the chocolate ganache on top (image 8 above), then place the next cake layer. Chill the cake in the fridge until firm, then cover the entire cake with a thicker layer of frosting. Decorate the top with malted milk balls and enjoy!

Expert Baking Tips

  • Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the “metric” button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
  • Baking times may vary. All ovens are different, and your layers may bake quicker or take longer than the indicated baking time. Check on them occasionally by inserting a toothpick into the center as instructed.

Making Ahead

You can make the ganache frosting recipe ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight, or up to one month. The cake layers can also be baked the day before, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the fridge overnight. You can assemble the cake the next day!

If you are short on time, try one of my quick recipes like chocolate pumpkin cake or Oreo cookie cake which are also perfect for serving a crowd!

Recipe FAQs

How long does chocolate ganache cake last?

Whether the cake is whole or cut into slices, it will stay soft and fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.

Does chocolate ganache cake need to be refrigerated?

No, the cake is fine at room temperature. However, I recommend storing it in the fridge overnight or when not serving so that it lasts longer and doesn’t dry out.

Can I use a different-sized pan?

You can half the recipe and bake it in a square 8×8 baking pan, similar to my mint chip ice cream cake.

Can you freeze chocolate ganache cake?

Yes! You can freeze it whole or in slices. Store it whole in a cake carrier or wrapped in plastic wrap. For individual slices, freeze the cake first then cut it into slices. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month.

Can I use a different kind of chocolate for the ganache frosting?

I recommend only using semi-sweet or dark chocolate for the frosting, using any other kind of chocolate like white or milk will not have the same consistency and texture.

Do I have to use the malted milk powder?

Nope! You can leave it out entirely if desired, however, the flavor will be more on the sweet side.

a slice of cake with ganache frosting on its side on a cake stand.

other chocolate recipes you’ll love

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

chocolate ganache cake cut in half on a wooden cake stand.

Malted Chocolate Ganache Cake

5 from 6 votes

Get ready for the best malted chocolate ganache cake! This moist chocolate cake is packed with malted milk flavor and covered in the dreamiest chocolate ganache frosting. It's the perfect layer cake for chocolate lovers!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20 servings

Equipment

Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup Malted milk powder, sifter
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cup Unsweetened dutch cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • malted milk balls, for decorating

Chocolate Cake Batter

  • 2 cups cake flour, *see notes below for measuring*
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 1/2 tablespoon cubed unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee, or hot water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

Instructions

  • In a pot, melt the butter and salt together. When melted, add in the heavy cream, malted milk powder, and sugar, whisking occasionally until nearly boiling; about 7-8 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips until completely melted.
    6 tbsp (84 g) unsalted butter, 3/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup (443 g) heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cup (300 g) granulated sugar, 2/3 cup (90 g) Malted milk powder, 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp (128 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Add the sifted cocoa to a stand mixing bowl. Stream the hot chocolate mixture into the bowl. Mix until combined, then scrape down the bowl. Switch to the paddle and mix for 2-3 minutes on medium-low, until lump free. Add the vanilla. Then pour into a container and refrigerate for a minimum of 4-6 hours, or overnight before using.
    1 3/4 cup (180 g) Unsweetened dutch cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottoms and set them aside.
  • In a stand mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, malted milk powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes on low until it resembles coarse sand.
    2 cups (240 g) cake flour, 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar, 1/2 cup (100 g) dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup (65 g) malted milk powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 6 1/2 tablespoon (90 g) cubed unsalted butter
  • Mix in the sour cream and oil until just combined. It will look like a very thick paste.
    1 cup (228 g) sour cream, 1/4 cup (45 g) vegetable or canola oil
  • In a bowl with a spout, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the HOT coffee and cocoa powder.
    1/2 cup (113 g) whole milk, 2 (100 g) large eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, 1 cup (210 g) hot coffee
  • Stream the egg mixture into the batter on low speed, then pour in the coffee/cocoa mix. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the bowl to make sure there are no pale batter streaks. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, around 520g each.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let the pans cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then flip each layer out of the pan onto the rack to continue cooling completely.

Assembly

  • To assemble, remove the ganache from the fridge. If using the next day, let it sit at room temperature for an hour. In a mixing bowl, paddle-mix the ganache on medium speed for 30-60 seconds to loosen it. Avoid overmixing or it will be messier to work with.
  • Trim cake domes if necessary. Put the first cake layer on the board or plate. Pipe the ganache frosting then add the next layer, alternating cake and frosting layers. Refrigerate the cake for 15-20 mins to firm. Then frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Swirl the frosting with a spatula, and top it with malted milk balls. Enjoy!

Notes

*Measure your flour properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Store the cake whole or in slices wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it whole or in slices for up to 1 month! The ganache can also be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 343IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. I’d give it 6 stars if I could. The best chocolate cake I’ve ever baked. So moist and decadent. Melts in your mouth. I used the King Arthur malted milk powder and loved the complexity it added in flavor. This will be my new go-to chocolate cake for holidays and dinner parties!!5 stars

  2. We don’t have malt powder in my country, what can I substitute with

    1. Hi Agnes, there isn’t a great substitution for malt powder because it has a very specific flavor! You can leave it out if you can’t find any.

  3. Hands down one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. Everyone enjoyed it!5 stars