Thick creamy malted cheesecake jam-packed with malted milk ball bits is baked over a malted shortbread crust and blanketed with dark chocolate ganache then topped with a sprinkling of crushed malted milk balls. This cheesecake is a unique spin on the classic milkshake and candy.
When I think of malted desserts I think of malt shakes, which I have never tasted and have only have ever existed to me in 1950’s based books and movies from back when drive-in movies were still popular and boys and girls “went steady” (I watched a lot of “Happy Days” as a child). I think of girls in skirts embroidered with poodles and silky ponytails tied up high on their heads with ribbon leaning over formica diner tabletops and sipping thick, chocolate-hued milkshakes through striped straws.
The only malted dessert I’ve really ever actually tasted comes in the form of malted milk balls, which I love with their soft, milk chocolate shells and their crunchy malted interiors. The flavor pairings and textural differences between exterior and interior are so simple, but so perfectly complementary and, though I’m certainly not a child of the 1950’s, there is still something so nostalgic about them.
This spin on a classic cheesecake recipe takes simple malted milk balls and malted milk power and transforms them into something far less 1950’s and much more modish. The crust is made of shortbread and heavily malted to provide a subtle crunch that you might expect when biting into a Whopper (The candy that is, not the Burger King special. I think my brother was a little disappointed [or relieved] when I clarified exactly what kind of Whopper-infused cheesecake I was bringing over).
What I really love about this cheesecake is that despite the fact that it is clearly malted themed, the malted flavor is not overpowering. It is just enough; the flavor is clear in the crisp shortbread crust, softly expressed among the tang of the cheesecake filling yet attention-grabbing with surprise pops of malted milk balls. If you wish to stay true to the malted milk ball theme throughout, you can certainly use a milk chocolate ganache instead, but I felt this made the cheesecake too sweet and the rich, dark chocolate ganache added yet another layer of complexity to this ridiculously delicious cheesecake. All in all the flavors balance extraordinarily well.
I’ve found that a significant number of people hesitate to make cheesecake because they worry it is too difficult, and I think this is a shame. Let me leave you with some tips on how to make sure any cheesecake is a success:
- Allow your cream cheese to soften to room temperature before beginning (otherwise you’ll have lumps).
- Make sure ingredients are well-combined, but don’t over-beat the eggs, otherwise you’ll have cracks. This cheesecake is very forgiving because any cracks will be covered by the thick ganache, but this is still a good rule to follow.
- Don’t open the oven while your cheesecake is cooking, this will allow heat to escape and will cause your cheesecake to sink. Wait until you think the cheesecake is done, though it is OK to err on the side of checking slightly sooner to make sure your cheesecake is not overdone.
- I personally feel that the trickiest part is knowing when your cheesecake is finished baking. For this, look for edges that are set but a center that is still slightly jiggly, though it should be firm enough that it bounces back when lightly touched. The edges should ideally not be more than lightly golden brown.
Voila: perfect malted cheesecake.
More Cheesecake Recipes to Try:
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Malted Shortbread Crust
- 8 Tbsp butter softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp malted milk powder
- 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 24 oz packages cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup malted milk powder
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 2 cups semi-crushed malted milk balls (I place the milk balls in a large resealable plastic bag and then smash repeatedly with rolling pin until they are crushed into pieces but not finely crushed--you want to have some larger pieces of the milk balls in your cheesecake).
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 1 ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips (if you prefer to have a milk chocolate topping simply substitute the dark chocolate chips for milk chocolate ones), 8 oz
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup Additional semi-crushed milk balls to sprinkle on top
Malted Shortbread Crust
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In stand mixer (or with electric hand mixer) cream together butter and sugar.
- Add malt powder and stir until combined
- Gradually stir in flour until all ingredients are combined.
- Line bottom of 10" springform pan with parchment paper (remove the bottom, line with paper so that paper hangs over edges of pan, then replace sides of springform pan and snap on)
- Press shortbread crust into bottom of springform pan.
- Poke crust all over with tines of fork.
- Bake at 400F for 15 minutes then remove from oven and set aside while you finish preparing the cheesecake.
- Reduce oven to 350F
- In KitchenAid mixer (or with electric hand-mixer) cream together cream cheese, sugar and malted milk powder on medium speed, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until ingredients are well-combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition.
- On low speed stir in sour cream until just combined.
- Using rubber spatula, fold in crushed milk balls.
- Pour cheesecake batter into prepared springform pan/over malted shortbread crust
- Bake on 350F for 45 minutes/until cheesecake is mostly set, slightly jiggly in the center still but firm to the touch when lightly touched with fingertips. Edges may be slightly golden.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Transfer to fridge and allow to chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Once cheesecake has completely chilled, run a sharp knife around the sides of the springform pan and release the edges (sides of springform pan should no longer be attached)
- Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in medium saucepan and set to medium heat.
- Stir frequently until chocolate is completely melted and well-combined with the cream.
- Remove from heat and allow to set for about 1-2 minutes before pouring over cheesecake.
- Within several minutes of pouring ganache, sprinkle additional chopped milk balls over the top of the cheesecake.
- Return to fridge and allow to chill for at least 10 minutes so the ganache can set before cutting and serving.