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Cooking Through Fiction: Miss Trunchbull's Chocolate Cake

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

Roald Dahl is one of my favorite writers, and Matilda is one of my favorite children's books. Matilda is a sweet exceptional girl, but her parents think she's just a nuisance. She expects school to be different, but that's not possible when Miss Trunchbull is the headmistress.

My sister loved the movie, and we used to watch it over and over again. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is of the chocolate cake. When Bruce is accused of sneaking into the kitchen and eating Miss Truncuhbull's "most scrumptious cake in the entire world," he is forced to eat the most gigantic version of the cake ever!

I'm not sure this is punishment, but that cake probably weighed 100 pounds. I rooted for Bruce to eat it all, though! Just to show Miss Trunchbull that bullies don't win!

I kinda wanted this cake to be real, so I finally decided to make it. Even though Miss Trunchbull is a meanie, her chocolate cake is the most scrumptious cake in the entire world. Once piece of this will never be enough!

Miss Truncuhbull's Chocolate Cake

Difficulty: Average

Yields: 10–12 slices

Prep time: 1 hour

Baking & Finishing time: ~2 hours


For the Cake

2 cups sugar

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup dark cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoon espresso powder in 1 cup hot water

or 1 cup dark hot coffee

½ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Dark Chocolate Ganache

2 cups heavy cream

16 ounces dark chocolate chips

For the Chocolate Frosting

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter,

at room temperature

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder


1. For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30–35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

4. For the Ganache: Heat cream in microwave safe bowl for 3 minutes. Pour hot cream over bowl of chocolate chips. Let sit for 2 minutes.

5. Stir until completely combined. Let cool for 10 minutes.

6. For the Chocolate Frosting: Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

8. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.

9. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip!

10. Create a "dam" or line of frosting around the inside of the bottom cake round. Fill the center with the ganache. Place on top cake round, and cover the top and sides of cake with frosting. Best eaten immediately.

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