Malted Chocolate Devil Cupcakes

October 31, 2021

Oh my, oh my! Would you just look at these little devils! Happy Halloween ya’ll! I know, I have been completely missing in action since back in early April. I have a good excuse this time…well kinda. You see, I actually didn’t have a functional kitchen from mid-April until the beginning of September! Get out, right?!! I might be exaggerating a bit there, but I promise I will explain in detail a bit later. Stay posted! But even once my kitchen was back in working order, the Husband and I went off to Iceland again. Yup, trip number 12, which I will also tell you all about it a short while. But today I’d like to share this recipe for these adorable little devils. Here you have malted chocolate cupcakes which are so moist and rich and are piled high with smooth, silky Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Without a doubt they are sinfully delicious!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact, all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Our modern holiday of Halloween, actually has Irish origins. Today’s celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

And a couple of years ago, I had a howling good time making these little rascals:

Reese Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

And last year’s offering was Spooky Ghost Cupcakes!

So that brings us to Halloween 2021: Malted Chocolate Devil Cupcakes!

Some of you might notice that I used this same recipe from Joanne Chang for that amazing Malted Chocolate Easter Cake that I posted about back in April. I sure did. You might just say I am obsessed with (or maybe possessed by – these are little devils after all…) it. Seriously, this malted chocolate cake is shamefully delicious. And my go to frosting is pretty much always Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I just adapted the recipe to make these little fiends for Halloween!

I will say that although I do love the Wilton Gel food colors, I really wasn’t able to get that deep red colored frosting I was hoping for, so I thought the sanding sugar worked out well here. You can add it or leave it out as you wish. Diabolically pink little devils can be fun as well.

There’s still time to whip up a batch of the naughty little indulgences before the sun goes down on this Halloween. So what are you waiting for? Get baking! Happy Halloween!!!

Malted Chocolate Devil Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Pastry Love by Joanne Chang


For the Cupcakes:

  • 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) malted milk powder
  • 175 grams (1 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted after measuring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 200 grams ( 1 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs ( about 100 grams) at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk (about 20 grams) at room temperature
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) vegetable oil (such as canola)
  • 240 grams (1 cup) whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Malted Milk Frosting (recipe noted below)

Vanilla Syrup (recipe noted below)

Black Fondant for horns and tails

Red sanding sugar


Preheat the oven to 325° F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottoms of two regular cake pans with red foil cupcake liners. Spray the sides lightly with pan spray or very lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the malted milk powder, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the sugar, whole eggs and egg yolk on medium hight speed until the mixture falls back onto itself in ribbons when you lift the whisk up. Turn the mixer to low and slowly drizzle in the oil. Turn off the mixer and add about one third of the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and mix just until most of the flour mixture has been incorporated into the eggs, about 10 seconds. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the whisk. Add about half the milk along with the vanilla and turn the mixer back onto the lowest speed. Gently combine until most of the milk is mixed into the batter. stop the mixer and again scrape the bowl and the whisk. Add half the remaining flour mixture; mix on low until it’s mostly mixed in, then stop and scrape. Add the rest of the milk and mix again on low util it is mostly mixed in. Remove the bowl from the mixer , add the last of the flour mixture, and gently fold by hand with a rubber spatula until all of it is incorporated into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake tins.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans midway through the baking time, until the cupcakes spring back when you poke them in the middle and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when you insert it into the middle of the cake. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool in the baking pans on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting and vanilla syrup and set them aside.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, remove them from the tins. Using a pastry brush, paint and soak the tops of the cupcakes with the vanilla syrup.

Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and fill it with the frosting. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Once all the cupcakes have been frosted, sprinkle with red sanding sugar if you desire and add the fondant horns and tails.

The frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Vanilla Syrup


  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) water
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before using.

The syrup can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge indefinitely.

Black Fondant Horns & Tails


  • One 4.4 oz package of black fondant


Lay out a piece of parchment paper. Shape the fondant into 2 horns and one tail for each cupcake. 

Malted Milk Frosting


  • 135 grams (2/3 cup) superfine sugar
  • 2 large egg whites ( about 1/4 cup or 60 grams) at room temperature
  • 455 grams (2 cups or 4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 420 grams(3 1/2 cups) confectioners sugar
  • 105 grams (3/4 cup) malted milk powder
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • Wilton Red gel food color


In a medium metal of heatproof glass bowl, whisk together the superfine sugar and egg whites to make a thick slurry. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, make sure the pot is small enough the the bowl sits above the water and not directly touching it, or you may end up with scrambled egg whites. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is hot to the touch, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour the sugar-egg white mixture into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium high for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture cools. Add the butter bit by bit and whip on medium until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Add the confectioners’ sugar, malted milk powder, milk, vanilla, and salt and whip on medium until the frosting is smooth and satiny. Add red food gel color and mix until your desired shade of red is achieved.

The frosting can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Before using, let it sit out at room temperature for at least 6 hours or ideally overnight. Place the frosting in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until it smooths out again. It will look broken (curdled and very lumpy, possibly even separated with some liquid seeping out) for a while until it warms up, but don’t panic – just keep beating it and be patient.


Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Malted Chocolate Easter Cake:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Ateco disposable piping bags

King Arthur Bensdorp Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

Carnation Malted Milk Powder or King Arthur Malted Milk Powder

Vanilla Bean Paste

Wilton Icing Colors – Gel will not thin icing

Pastry Love by Joanne Chang – LOVE this cookbook!

Black Fondant

Red Sanding Sugar

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