Bird Day Cake + Vanilla Malt Syrup Recipe by Molly Brodak

On the top of the list of the things I cannot handle right now is my birthday cake today. Happy birthday to me! Who hasn't wished for a couple of magic chickadees to help with one's cake decorating?

I mean.

I mean.

The little chickadees are hand painted gumpaste and suspended with a hidden wire behind the dual tone gumpaste ribbons they hold.

Under the dusty blue fondant is insanely good vanilla malt cake and a fudgy chocolate buttercream, my favorite combination.

I've been working on a good vanilla malt cake for a while and I've finally perfected my recipe with this cake. Simply adding malt powder to the mix didn't work--not only did the malt powder tend to clump up, but the malt made the cake drier with a darker crust (as malt encourages browning). So if you can't bake it in the cake, there's only one other logical choice--a soak!

I don't always soak my cakes in syrup because I really love my basic cake recipe and I usually don't think it needs to be any sweeter or moister. But this soak is so, so worth it.

Below is the recipe for the vanilla malt syrup I used to soak this cake, which made enough for both the 6" and the 8" layer. If you've never used a syrup soak on your cakes, don't be shy with this stuff. It might look at first like the cake layer is just getting soggy but it give it a few minutes and the cake will absorb all the syrup and become fantastically moist and delicious. I dab it on with a silicone brush, but another good way to apply it is with a squeeze bottle.

So this is another good use for the dark malt powder I'm sure you bought to make the Salty Malty cookies--the recipe for which, by the way, is going away soon, so be sure to purchase it before the next Recipe of the Month comes along (and I hear it's going to be a recipe for the cheesecake to end all cheesecakes...) This syrup is exactly what you need to make malted milkshakes, so it's great to have on hand.

Vanilla Malt Syrup

1 c. water

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. dark malt extract powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean pod

pinch salt

Heat water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved. If using, add 1/2 vanilla bean pod and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add the malt powder and stir until it is completely dissolved. Cool, and add vanilla extract. Store in the refrigerator once cooled.

I truly cannot even

I truly cannot even

I died

I died

Salty Malty Cookies by Molly Brodak

Over in the Buy a Recipe section of Kookie House I sell a very good and special recipe that I typically have spent months/years developing. These recipes will change in inconsistent amounts of time since time is arbitrary here at Kookie House. Each recipe is available for a limited time only and I can't sell you the old ones, so be sure to save or print your downloads as soon as you purchase them, and check back regularly for new ones.

To start things off I wanted to offer my all-time favorite cut-out cookie, since cookies make up the floors and the ceiling and the around-and-around of Kookie House. No matter how many cakes and eclairs and fancy gumpaste flowers I make, cookies remain the still point of my spinning world.

The flavor of these cookies is incomparable. You have never had a cut-out cookie so good. I have never truly enjoyed eating sugar cookies, especially those iced with royal icing. They are typically too sweet and bland. These were designed to taste delicious with royal icing or fondant icing, but are incredibly addictive on their own. The malt flavoring not only adds a delectable richness to the buttery flavor of the dough but also encourages browning, gilding the edges of your cookies with that crucial Maillard gold.  

You do need to get yourself some dry malt extract. Malted milk powder will not work as a substitute. You need the pure stuff, and the darker the better. I highly recommend Briess Traditional Dark, which you can buy here or at your local home brewer's supply shop. If you like malt flavor, or just delicious things in general, you will find all kinds of other uses for powdered malt around your kitchen, from malted milkshakes to malted waffles to a more fantastic fried chicken batter. (Be sure to store the rest of your malt powder in a tightly sealed container away from humidity (not in the fridge), as it is hydrophilic and will turn into a sticky/crusty mess if moistened.)

These were designed to hold their shape yet remain soft in the middle, with a balance of granulated sugar and powdered sugar that I have spent a long time perfecting. They become just slightly larger after baking so that they will fit fondant cut-outs with a tiny border (a post on this soon). The edges aren't the sharpest cookie edges around, but what kind of maniac expects unnaturally razor-sharp edges on their cookies anyway. 

Included in your recipe will be some tips on rolling techniques, like why you should freeze your dough in sheets rather than chill it in a lump after mixing (it never made any sense to me that most recipes ask you to chill a disk of dough THEN attempt to roll it out once chilled into a crumbling, difficult mess), and why you should bake off your scraps into one giant Malformed Monstercookie instead of rerolling scraps more than twice.

freeze your dough like THIS before cutting out shapes

Buy it here for just two dollars then make yourself a pair of Yeezy Boost 350 to eat.