Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake (Gluten-Free)

The cutest Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and a surprise chocolate filling, this cake is a small showstopper perfect for 4-6 people.

I love mini cakes and usually go for the 6-inch cake but this time round, I wanted to make a small cake we could easily eat in one day without leftovers. The 4-inch cake was the answer and fortunately, I have three of them, so after a bit of maths, I knew that this size was going to be perfect. Converting cake tins and sizes can be tricky, but I “cheated” and worked out the area of my square 6-inch tin is about the same as the area of three 4-inch circle tins, meaning I could simply adapt my favourite Chocolate Banana Bread Peanut Butter Brownies. So, if you want to make this cake as one square sheet cake, use the 6-inch cake and bake for a little longer (as in the method for the brownies).

Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake on a small palte
Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake

Why will I love this cake?

This Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake is a special one and I made it to celebrate my younger brother’s birthday this year as he used to love a Malteser cake when he was younger. This mini cake is:

  • Rich, chocolatey and fudgy like a brownie
  • Dense and decadent but not overpowering
  • Packed with a gooey chocolate middle
  • Spread with luscious chocolate buttercream
  • Easy to make in a few steps
  • Naturally vegan and easily gluten-free
  • Perfect for 4 to 6 slices of cake
  • A real showstopper

If you already love this Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake then read ahead for the recipe card. First, let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

Lifting a slice out of a Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake
Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake

What ingredients do I need?

As this is adapted from my fudge brownie recipe, the ingredients are similar:

  • Applesauce: this is instead of mashed banana although both can be used. The apple/banana acts as a binder in the batter and adds natural sweetness and moisture keeping this cake fudgy.
  • Plant-based milk: any milk will work here like oat, almond or coconut (from a carton).
  • Lemon juice: this curdles the buttermilk making a homemade buttermilk which binds the cake batter (acting like an egg).
  • Coconut sugar: for sweetness. I like coconut sugar as it’s richer in colour and flavour than other sugars but you can also use white or golden caster sugar or light brown sugar, too.
  • Thick dairy-free yoghurt: make sure this is as thick as you can find for the best batter and cake. I like the Cocos Organic yoghurt which is also packed with simple ingredients. You can try dairy-free Greek-style yoghurts, too.
  • Chocolate nut butter: or you can use chocolate spread or regular peanut or other nut butter. I love the Chocolate Peanut Butter from Manilife here, but choose your favourite. Ideally, this is smooth and runny.
  • Vanilla essence: for flavour.
  • Plain or GF flour: this brownie cake doesn’t need a lot of flour but I like to use plain or GF plain flour (with xanthan gum) for the lightest texture.
  • Oat flour: for some added wholegrain goodness. Simply blend your oats into a fine flour-like texture and make sure they are gluten-free, if needed.
  • Cocoa powder: or you can use cacao powder in this batter.
  • Bicarbonate of soda: for a slight rise, but remember these are brownie-style sponges.
  • Salt: for flavour.

As for the frosting, this is seriously my favourite and is dangerously good:

  • Vegan butter: always make sure to soften your butter by leaving it at room temperature for an hour or so. This ensures the buttercream is as light and whipped as possible.
  • Cocoa powder: or cacao powder as above. This makes the buttercream really chocolatey.
  • Icing sugar: for texture and sweetness.
  • Aquafaba or plant milk: to create a really smooth and creamy texture. I prefer aquafaba (the water from a tin of chickpeas, which you can then use in curries, cookie dough and sandwich fillers) as it behaves like egg white when whipped, leading to the lightest buttercream.
Close up of the inside of a Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake
Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake

To decorate, this Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake would not be complete without:

  • Vegan Malteser chocolates: I use the delicious ones from Doisy and Dam and they are so good. You can use other chocolates on top, too, or leave it plain.
  • More chocolate nut butter: or chocolate spread or nut butter as above, for inside the cake layers.

How do I make this showstopper cake?

The method is simple, just plan ahead so the cakes can cool down:

  • Whisk together all the wet ingredients: for the cake batters till smooth.
  • Add in the dry ingredients: and whisk to a thick batter.
  • Equally divide the mix between three 4-inch cake tins: and smooth over the top.
  • Bake for 19 to 22 minutes: until cooked through and an inserted skewer comes out mainly clean but some specks are OK (if the skewer is clean the cakes are over-baked and will dry out).
  • Allow to cool: firstly in the tins and then on a wire rack. Then pop them in the fridge till ready to use.
  • Whip up the buttercream: till light and airy.
  • Place one cake on a small plate: and spread over the buttercream.
  • Add a spoon of chocolate nut butter: for the filling and sandwich with a second cake.
  • Repeat with more buttercream and nut butter: and top with the third cake.
  • Spread the buttercream all over the mini cake: until swirled and gorgeous.
  • Decorate with crushed and whole Malteser chocolates: and then chill the cake to allow the cakes to set.
  • Slice and enjoy: with tea, coffee and ice-cold dairy-free milk.
A slice of Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake
Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake

How long will this cake last?

This cake lasted less than 2 hours once I’d finished decorating and photographing it, but it can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can wrap up and freeze the cooled sponges for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw and decorate as above.

Is this Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake gluten-free and nut-free?

Yes this cake is gluten-free when using GF flour for the cake and checking that your oats (for the oat flour) are certified gluten-free. To make this cake nut-free, opt for nut-free chocolate spread or seed butter like tahini in the sponges and then again for the cake filling, too.

I don’t have 4-inch cake tins, what can I do?

I suggest making this in one square 6-inch cake tin (using my Chocolate Banana Bread Peanut Butter Brownies as guidance for timings) and then spreading with a layer of chocolate spread/nut butter as the filling and then spreading on the chocolate buttercream. You could make this as a two-tier 6-inch cake but it would be much thinner and will need less baking time.

Eating a slice of Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake
Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake

I love this cake, what else can I make?

I hope you are going to love making and eating this Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake and for more ideas, how about my:

Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake (Gluten-Free)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The cutest Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and a surprise chocolate filling, this cake is a small showstopper perfect for 4-6 people.


    For the Sponges:
  • 150g applesauce or mashed banana
  • 60ml plant-based milk
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 30g coconut sugar
  • 30g thick dairy-free yoghurt e.g coconut
  • 30g chocolate nut butter, hazelnut butter or chocolate spread
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 50g plain or GF plain flour
  • 25g oat flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • For the Frosting:
  • 100g vegan butter, softened
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp aquafaba or plant-based milk
  • For Decoration:
  • 2-3 tbsp chocolate nut butter, or chocolate spread
  • Vegan Malteser chocolates


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line three 4-inch cake tins with parchment paper.
  2. To a large mixing bowl add the applesauce or mashed banana, milk, lemon juice, sugar, yoghurt, nut butter/chocolate spread and vanilla. Whisk till smooth.
  3. Sift in the flour, and add the oat flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk to a smooth thick batter.
  4. Divide the batter equally between three tins and smooth over the tops.
  5. Bake for 19-22 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out mainly clean, but some specks are OK as this is a fudge cake.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove and cool fully on a wire rack and chill in the fridge till ready to use.
  7. For the frosting: add the butter to a bowl and beat till light and fluffy, using a handheld or electric standing mixer. Now gradually beat in the cocoa powder, icing sugar and aquafaba or plant-based milk and continue beating for 2-3 minutes till really fluffy.
  8. Add one cake to a small plate or serving board and pipe a ring of frosting around the edge. Spread over the cake, making a small indent in the middle for the chocolate nut butter or chocolate spread. Repeat with the second cake and top with the third cake.
  9. Spread the chocolate buttercream all over the sides and top of the cake, making a rough swirl effect. Top with the Malteser chocolates and chill for 10 minutes in the fridge, if needed, to set the cake.
  10. Slice the cake and enjoy. Keep the cake for 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed container or you can freeze the cake layers, wrapped well, for up to 1 month.
Landscape photo of Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake
Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Mini Vegan Malteser Fudge Cake so please let me know in the comments below. If you do make this mini cake, I’d love to see so please tag me in your creations. I’m I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With mini Malteser love x

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