Healthier Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

January 29, 2014

Last call to enter my 1 year blog-iversary giveaway!  Ends Thursday, January 30th at 11:59 pm.

While we’re talking about happy things: cupcakes.  I had a chocolate malt cake for my dad’s or my sister’s birthday in 2010 or 2011.  I thought about it almost every day until Josh’s birthday, 2012 when I made a chocolate malt cake.  Over a year after that, I’ve been LONG due for a chocolate malt cake.  Neither of my previous experiences with this cake have been terribly healthy, and I don’t think that cupcakes should always be 100% healthy.  Have to live a little, right?  Calories don’t count on birthdays, holidays, or Fridays.  Everybody knows that.  So, I split the difference and made this half healthy.

Healthier Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Half healthy?  What’s half healthy?  Umm.. Well.  I used some whole wheat flour?  I also subbed out a good portion of the oil, opted for natural sweeteners as much as possible, and used a Great Depression-era trick for omitting eggs.  If you twisted my arm, I’d tell you it’s because I didn’t have enough all purpose flour, oil, sugar, or eggs to make a super indulgent cake.  That’s the life when you try to bake healthy — you never have enough of the less-healthy stuff around to splurge.   I shouldn’t say that though, because the results still tasted like a splurge.  I let my lady friends taste them before we out for manis, gifted one to a hungover friend in need, and sacrificed the rest to my friend’s birthday gathering after an amazing hibachi dinner — no one ever suspected that these were anything less than terrible for them.  My healthier chocolate malt cupcakes were a success!

Healthier Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

I have a strong desire to eat malt powder directly from the jar.  In fact, it’s on my top 5 things I’d cry over daily if I became a vegan.  However, vegans can rejoice.  If you love and miss malts, try barley malt powder in this recipe.  You can buy online or check out your local homebrew store  — they usually have it!  And it’s pretty inexpensive.  It tastes exactly like malted milk powder, minus the milk powder (which really adds no flavor).  Start with a little less than the recipe calls for, taste, and increase as desired.  If you don’t want to mess with the malt powder, they’re still good chocolate cupcakes on their own!

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 24

  • 1½ c white whole wheat flour
  • 1½ c all purpose flour
  • ½ c sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ c + 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ½ – ¾ c malted milk powder, to taste (vegans, use barley malt powder as described in the post)
  • ¼ c unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • scant ¾ c agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c water
  • 2 tbsp. white or apple cider vinegar
  • Your favorite chocolate frosting (enough for 24 cupcakes, packaged frosting is fine)
  • ⅔ c malted milk powder (vegans, use barley malt powder)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Whisk together flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and ½ – ¾ c malt powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, oil, agave, and vanilla extract. In a third bowl, combine water and vinegar.
  4. Pour the applesauce mixture and water into the dry ingredients at the same time. Beat with a mixer for 1 – 2 minutes, scraping sides if necessary, until well combined.
  5. Fill cupcake wells approximately ⅔ of the way full. There will be a little over enough batter for 24 cupcakes, but don’t overfill.
  6. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once cool enough to touch, move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Combine your favorite chocolate frosting (from a jar or homemade are both fine) with the malted milk powder. Add a very small splash of any type of milk if you find it difficult to stir. Frost and serve. Note that the frosting may be less firm than you are used to with these additions and wont pipe on and stay pretty — you’ll see mine smoothed out. The top of the frosting will firm up after sitting.

Nutritional estimate will vary based on the exact nutritional content of your chocolate frosting — I’m not the best at making frosting, so I didn’t want to include a specific recipe for it here.
If you taste the batter, it will have a strange mouth feel — what you feel is the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar, this will not carry through to the baked final product.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cupcake Calories: 250 Fat: 9 Carbohydrates: 43 Fiber: 2


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    Strawberry Funfetti Cupcakes | Hidden Fruits and Veggies Apr 08, 2014

    […] are a little more indulgent than I normally make on here but just like with my chocolate malt cupcakes, I feel like you have to live a little and splurge on baked goods now and then.  Even though […]

    huntfortheverybest Jan 30, 2014

    they look yummy!

    ashley Jan 30, 2014

    Love that you used applesauce in these!! They look amazing!

    cheri Jan 29, 2014

    love the barley twist to these cupcakes

      Kelly Jan 30, 2014

      Thanks, Cheri. Barley malt tastes JUST like malted milk, it’s a great vegan swap to know about!

      Kelly Jan 29, 2014

      Thanks, Em! I hate a few more than I’m proud of, but SO worth it.

    reba- Not So Perfect Life Jan 29, 2014

    I had no idea something like barley malt powder exhisted. What else would you use it in? Shakes? I hear you on the half healthy thing. A life without chocolate is not one I want to live 🙂 Happy 1 year. I love reading your blog. Sorry my traveling lately has left my commenting limited. I’m def reading!

      Kelly Jan 29, 2014

      Barley malt (and wheat malt) are in malted milk — the flavor is exactly the same and delicious. Most people use malt in shakes. I LOVE malt powder, so I malt flavor a lot of things (like oatmeal).