Matilda is one of those beloved family films that’s somehow equally traumatizing and heart-warming at the same time (ditto goes for the OG Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory).
Despite the childhood trauma the film caused for some, it also became the reference point for many when it comes to picturing the absolute best chocolate cake ever.
If you’ve seen the film, you know what we’re referring to. The Matilda chocolate cake is from the scene where Miss Trunchbull punishes poor Bruce Bogtrotter for eating a slice of her “personal” chocolate cake by forcing him to polish off an entire cake on his own while the whole school looks on in horror.
Good news: This cake is no longer just a work of fiction (and dare we say better than Ina Garten’s chocolate cake). You can make the chocolate cake of your dreams (hopefully not your nightmares) a reality with our rendition of this iconic chocolate cake.
Better get baking, or the Trunchbull might put you in The Chokey.
Miss Trunchbull’s Chocolate Cake from ‘Matilda’
Get ready to enjoy three layers of the most intense and moist chocolate cake you’ll ever eat paired with decadent chocolate mousse and a glossy ganache-style brown butter fudge frosting. Don’t worry, we’ve omitted Cookie’s sweat and blood from our recipe, but you may include them if you’re committed to authenticity.
This recipes yields one 8-inch round cake with three layers.
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups (250g) granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups (250g) light brown sugar
- 1-1/2 cups (135g) cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (270g) full-fat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup (178ml) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups (200ml) hot brewed coffee or hot water
Cookie’s Brown Butter Fudge Frosting
- 3/4 cup (176ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (84g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
- 5 ounces (150g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2-1/4 cups (258g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (45g) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 cup (135g) full-fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Bruce’s Chocolate Mousse Filling
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons (26g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (235ml) heavy whipping cream, divided
- 3.5 ounces (100g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup (86g) powdered sugar
Hot Chocolate Cake Soak
Step 1: Prep and preheat
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of three 8-in. round cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Set aside.
Step 2: Start the mousse
Using a double boiler positioned over simmering water, combine the egg yolks, sugar and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Cook the mixture, whisking continuously until it thickens and turns pale, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat.
Editor’s Tip: Another way to test the mixture for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. When the mixture reaches 160°, it is ready for the next step.
Step 3: Add the chocolate
Add the finely chopped chocolate (here’s our favorite chocolate brand to bake with) to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth and evenly incorporated. Set aside to cool.
Step 4: Whip and fold
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining cream (3/4 cups) with the powdered sugar and then whip the cream to stiff peaks, about 6-7 minutes.
Gradually fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Work slowly and carefully, so you don’t deflate the cream. Continue to fold the mixture together until it is evenly mixed, then cover and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Editor’s Tip: This cake is a labor of love (no wonder Miss Trunchbull was upset Bruce ate a slice). We suggest prepping the mousse a day ahead of (or the night before) baking the cake layers and assembling to ensure the mousse is fully set.
Step 5: Begin the cake
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugars, cocoa powder (here are the best brands of cocoa), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir and set aside.
Step 6: Mix it up
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, oil, vanilla and eggs. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir gently until the dry ingredients are almost fully incorporated. Pour in the hot coffee (aka the secret ingredient for chocolate desserts) and whisk it into the batter until fully incorporated.
Step 7: Bake
Evenly divide the batter into the three prepared cake pans and bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cakes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool for 5-10 minutes in the pans before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 8: Start the frosting
While the cakes bake and cool, prepare the frosting. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stirring occasionally, toast the butter until it begins to turn golden brown and smells very fragrant. Remove from the heat.
Editor’s Tip: Use a light-colored saucepan, if possible, when browning butter. This makes the milk solids easier to see as they brown, so you don’t accidentally burn the butter.
Step 9: Combine and cool
Immediately pour the room temperature cream into the browned butter, then return the mixture to the heat. Stir until steaming, then remove from the heat. Gently stir in the chopped chocolate until melted smooth and glossy. If the residual heat from the cream and butter isn’t enough to melt the chocolate, you can return the saucepan to the stovetop for a few seconds to bring up the temperature a little.
Add the vanilla, yogurt, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Mix until evenly combined and then let cool until the frosting has thickened to a spreadable consistency, about 30-45 minutes.
Step 10: Layer
Level the tops of your cake layers, so they easily stack. Next, brush the top of the first layer with the hot chocolate soak before topping with 1/2 of the mousse and spreading it into an even layer. Top with a second layer of cake, brush with hot chocolate and then top with the remaining mousse. Crown the cake with the final layer and finish with one last brushing of the hot chocolate soak.
Step 11: Frost and devour
To finish the cake, coat the tops and sides with an even layer of chocolate fudge frosting. Decorate simply as in the film or try one of these cake decorating ideas.
Slice, serve and enjoy either with your hands a la Bruce or with a fork (no judgment either way). The cake can remain at room temperature for several hours, otherwise, store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Did you know you can also freeze a decorated cake?)
Where Can I Watch ‘Matilda’?
With your cake in hand, sit back and relive the magic of Matilda. You can stream the movie with an HBO Max subscription or via Amazon Prime.
The post How to Make Miss Trunchbull’s Chocolate Cake from ‘Matilda’ appeared first on Taste of Home.