5-Minute Chocolate Malt Buttercream

This creamiest, dreamiest 5-Minute Chocolate Malt Buttercream is loaded with heaps of malty chocolate flavor. It's perfect for frosting single-layer cakes and cupcakes, including this Dreamy Chocolate Guinness Cake.
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This 5-Minute Chocolate Malt Buttercream is ALL THE THINGS.

Chocolate-malt flavor combos are one of my most favorite things (see these Malty Cupcakes!).

This particular recipe was created specifically for my Chocolate Guinness Cake which is a beautiful, light, simple chocolate cake…and together they make magic.

However, this buttercream is delicious on any chocolate cake, yellow cake, as well as cupcakes!

You’ll Want to Make This Chocolate Malt Buttercream Because…

  • It’s hella delicious
  • Uses just seven ingredients
  • Takes five minutes to throw together
  • It will effortlessly elevate any cake or cupcake recipe
  • Perfect for single-layer cakes and cupcakes (not layer cakes)
  • It’s soft, creamy, lush…think of every delicious adjective and this buttercream deserves it!

Malted Buttercream Q&A

Why doesn’t the cream need to be at room temperature?

The cool, heavy whipping cream will help the buttercream set a bit.

I can’t find malted milk powder, what can I use?

You can grab Ovaltine if you’re in the US and Milo outside of the US. Let me know if you use any other substitutes in the comments below!

Can I use this for a layered cake?

Nope! This frosting is way too soft, it would be a disaster. This is perfect for sheet cakes. It would work for both 8- and 9-inch (20- and 23-cm) round and square cake pans, as well as 8×11-inch (20×28-cm) and up to 9×13-inch (23×33-cm). It would also work well for cupcakes.

On smaller cakes you’ll have a thick layer of frosting and on larger sheet cakes there will be less frosting per bite, if you get my gist.

Malt Buttercream Substitutions

I tested this recipe with a number of substitutions. The recipe below is the ideal combination of ingredients in terms of flavor and texture.

Some of the things I struggled with: I honestly didn’t want you to have to use cream, but I really love what it does with the texture (so it stayed in!).

I tried adding some vinegar to cut the sweetness, but frankly found it unnecessary. Is this sweet? Yes, it’s an American buttercream lol. But I didn’t think it warranted adding another ingredient to the recipe.

If you’re in a pinch, I recommend these substitutions:

  1. If you don’t have cream cheese use unsalted butter for both the butter and the cream cheese (substitute 1:1)
  2. If you don’t have Malted Milk Powder, you can use Ovaltine or Milo.
  3. If you don’t have cream, you can use regular milk. However, start with adding just 1 tablespoon (15 g) of milk. Milk is much thinner than cream and has a dramatic effect, in small doses. As I’ve mentioned, this is a soft buttercream and you don’t want it *too* soft.

Step-by-Step Instructions for 
Chocolate Malted Buttercream

Below are step-by-step photos (with captions) to make your Chocolate Malted Buttercream perfect every time! My biggest tips are:

  1. Have your butter and cream cheese at room temperature. The ingredients will incorporate better if they’re at room temperature. The butter and the cream cheese won’t combine well if they are chilled.
  2. Weigh your ingredients. With so few ingredients, it’s crucial you get them perfect. If the qualities of the buttercream aren’t precise it could become too soft (it’s already a pretty loose buttercream).

STEP ONE: Gather your buttercream ingredients (butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, malted milk powder, vanilla and cream.)
Whipped up cream cheese, butter and confectioners' sugar.
STEP TWO: Cream your room temperature butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
A close up of chocolate malt butter cream.
STEP THREE: Add in the cocoa and malted milk powder and mix until blended. Add in the cream and vanilla and mix for one minute more.
Chocolate malt buttercream on a spoonula.
STEP THREE: It will look smooth, creamy and soft when finished (this isn’t a stiff buttercream).

Chocolate Malt Buttercream Tools

I love to use my electric stand mixer to make buttercream because it makes them seriously effortless.

You’ll also need an awesome spatula to periodically scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined.

A close up of the buttercream.

Chocolate Malt Butter Cream Goes Great With These Cakes

This buttercream was specifically made to go with my Chocolate Guinness Cake which is a super easy and mega delicious chocolate cake.

It would be dreamy on Granny Pete’s Chocolate Cake in place of the marshmallow frosting. It would also be delicious smeared over these Mocha Cupcakes or these Malt Cupcakes.

Buttercream Inspiration

This frosting is inspired by so much! I am a malt fiend. I love Thrifty’s Chocolate Malted Krunch SO DAMN MUCH. Definitely my favorite ice cream on the planet.

I also love my friend Jessie Sheehan‘s Banana Cake with Malted Buttercream from her latest cookbook, Snackable Bakes. If you don’t have this book GO GET IT! It’s loaded with awesome, easy recipes.

Rebecca Firth

Chocolate Malt Buttercream

This creamiest, dreamiest 5-Minute Chocolate Malt Buttercream is loaded with heaps of malty chocolate flavor. It's perfect for frosting single-layer cakes and cupcakes, including this Dreamy Chocolate Guinness Cake.
5 from 5 reviews
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Chocolate, Malt, Buttercream, Frosting, Cupcakes, Cakes, Dessert, Baking


  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, ( room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) cream cheese, ( room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (43 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup (42 g) malted milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon (13 g) vanilla paste or real vanilla extract


  • In an electric-stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the butter and cream cheese and mix on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth and completely blended. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low for 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined.
  • Add in the cocoa powder and malted milk powder and mix on low for 1 minute or until combined. With the machine on low, add in the cream and vanilla and then mix on medium for 1 minute more or until it looks smooth and well combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl one more time to make sure everything is well mixed and smooth.


A Note About Cocoa Powder

A highly recommend unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder. I love the color and the flavor. A great store-bought brand is Hershey’s Special Dark and it’s what I tested this recipe with.

A Note About Malted Milk Powder

I used Carnation Malted Milk; but I have also used Ovaltine Chocolate Malt (outside the US you could also use Milo). I prefer the Carnation if you can find it.

A Note About Mixers

You absolutely don’t need a mixer to make the recipe. In the video and photos you’ll note I used one…I was just feeling a wee lazy.

Double Batch

This recipe doubles like a dream!
Thanks for baking with me! Please rate + comment this recipe and tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo


Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

I love your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot, I look forward to chatting with you!

Rebecca xox

Recipe Rating


  • Maghie March 17, 2024 at 11:48 AM

    Making for my daughter’s 8th birthday today- st. Pattys day!
    Can I cut the sugar in half? She doesn’t like super sweet frostings.

    • Rebecca Firth March 17, 2024 at 11:52 AM

      Happy birthday to your daughter!

      So, I wouldn’t reduce the sugar because that will affect the structure of the frosting (it will make it too thin). To cut the sweetness, you can add white vinegar, in 1 teaspoon increments. I would do about 2 teaspoons for this much frosting and that should cut the sweetness a bit.

      Any time you add extra liquid to a frosting, that can change the consistency as well. If it’s too thin, you could add an additional 1 tablespoon of butter and/or let it sit to firm up a bit.

      I hope she loves her cake! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! xo

      • Maggie March 17, 2024 at 12:10 PM

        Thank you so much for your quick reply!
        How about malted milk powder. I don’t have that nor the substitutes you listed

        • Rebecca Firth March 17, 2024 at 1:06 PM

          Of course!

          If you don’t have the malt powder, I would consider adding more cocoa powder. Since I haven’t made it without, I can’t speak to what the texture will be…

          If the consistency is too thin w/o the malt powder, I would adjust with more cocoa powder and/or more confectioners’ sugar. Make sure both are sifted prior to adding to your buttercream (so you don’t get lumps).

          Let us know what the final version is like! xo

          • Maggie March 17, 2024 at 8:05 PM

            Thank you again for the responses. The frosting turned out great! I ended up subbing extra cocoa powder. I added too much initially so I ended up adding more cream. The white vinegar helped as well.

  • TME March 16, 2024 at 1:08 PM

    5 stars
    Delicious! My hubby loves chocolate malts, so this was a big hit. Made this because I searched for Guinness Chocolate Cake. Both were wonderful. (And, I like having smaller recipes since I’m cooking & baking for two.)

    • Rebecca Firth March 16, 2024 at 1:40 PM

      So happy you liked both!!! Enjoy your cake!! xo