Roald Dahl is incredibly good at capturing children’s imaginations with food. In The Witches it’s the luxurious description of strawberries and cream that sticks with me most. James and the Giant Peach is pretty obvious. And let’s not even get started on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

But what takes the …. the cake, I suppose, without trying to sound too forced, is the huge, chocolately, moist and creamy insane cake in the movie version of Matilda.

For those not in the know, Matilda is a 1996 movie with Danny DeVito and the girl from Miracle on 34th Street in it, about a little girl who develops psychic powers. There’s a horrible headmaster (Ms. Trunchbull) who tortures children in a makeshift iron maiden, and eventually the star, Matilda, sticks it to her good and liberates the school. But before that, there’s a scene where Bruce Bogtrotter gets called up on stage and accused of eating the headmaster’s piece of cake that she was saving. Bruce is then punished by being forced to eat a chocolate cake the size of a tire in front of the whole school. He does it, of course. What kid wouldn’t?

Anyway, that scene was the best thing about 1996, probably (apart from Wannabe being released, obviously). And there is an official recipe, you guys.

Also bringing you today’s recipe is a bunch of chocolate sticks I was gifted after a photoshoot we did for a local food magazine. As you can see, I stuck them on and around the whole cake in a poor attempt at decorating. That only used up, like, a quarter of the sticks I got, so I’m going to have to think up something else chocolately to do soon.


Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes


  • 8 oz (2 cups) high-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • Pinch of cream of tartar – optional
  • Wax paper


  • 4 oz (1 cup) semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon+ cold coffee

Preheat your oven to 350F.

  1. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar on high till stiff.
  2. Beat egg yolks slightly, in a separate bowl, until pale.
  3. Over a double-boiler, melt chocolate and butter together and stir until smooth.
  4. Stir together sugar, eggs, and flour in a large bowl until smooth, and whisk in the chocolate mixture.
  5. Fold half the egg whites into the cake batter. The batter should be a bit lighter and be one uniform colour. Folding takes time, and if your arm is hurting by the end, you’re doing it right.
  6. Fold the remaining egg whites in. The batter should be way lighter in colour and texture.
  7. Butter two 9″ cake pans, and place a round of wax paper on the bottom of each, so it sticks to the butter.
  8. Pour the batter evenly in the pans, and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the top is crispy.
  9. Cool the cakes in the pan, and tip them out upside-down and stack them on top of each other on a plate or wire rack. The cakes tend to deflate a little — it’s okay.

For the ganache:

  1. Chop your chocolate into small slivers, or use chocolate chips.
  2. Heat the heavy cream on medium-low heat until just before simmering.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let melt for 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Flavour with coffee, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to taste
  5. Stir until smooth.
  6. Pour over the cakes.

Decorate with chocolate curls or sticks, or put strawberries on top for a little break in the chocolate.

The cake is delicious. I’m going to say that right now. But, it is incredibly chocolately and rich and intense and just… It’s pretty insane. I dislike how the phrase “death by chocolate” is tossed around by restaurants that don’t actually deliver, but this delivers, baby. If you’ve had an exceptionally hard day, or it’s Valentine’s Day or your birthday or some other day where you just need chocolate, right now, then this is the recipe for you.

If you want an even richer cake, make some whipped ganache or chocolate buttercream and spread it between the cake layers. As the cake is spongy it’s not really necessary, but if you’re an icing fan then go for it.

Serve with a very tall glass of ice-cold milk and revel in your chocolate love.