Screen To Plate: The History Of The Viral Matilda Cake And How To Make It At Home

Delve into the delectable world of Matilda Cake, immortalised in Roald Dahl's iconic tale. From its humble beginnings in literature to its recent resurgence in Mumbai's culinary scene, explores the cultural impact and enduring popularity of this chocolatey delight and follow this simple recipe to recreate the magic at home.
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Bruce Bogtrotter loved it and you will too!

Who can forget the iconic moment when good triumphed over evil? When the little guy won for once. When the crowds cheered for the takedown of the establishment by the rebellion. No, we’re not talking about an epic biblical battle, just the unforgettable scene from the 1996 classic movie, Matilda when Bruce Bogtrotter swallowed that last piece of chocolate cake and licked the plate clean.
The movie, based on Roald Dahl’s classic 1988 novel by the same name was a runaway hit for many reasons. Bookworms celebrated finding their representation in the character of 11-year-old protagonist Matilda. And foodies were transfixed by the sight of the heinous headmistress, Miss Trunchbull’s, iconic chocolate cake which Matilda’s classmate Bruce Bogtrotter dared to eat a slice of and paid the price.
As a cruel punishment, she has an enormous chocolate cake baked, far bigger than the poor boy himself and orders him to eat every last bite. And while he starts strong, as he makes his way through the monstrous 18-inch creation, he starts to struggle, but with the whole school cheering him on, he manages to conquer it. That may not have won him any favours with Miss Trunchbull, but for anyone reading or watching along, he was a hero.
While over the years there have been many recreations of this beloved cake (albeit in more reasonable proportions), it’s recently taken on a new viral status in India. With the coming of a live production of the Matilda musical to stages in Mumbai, audiences have a renewed interest in the classic and the cake is one more way to feel more immersed in the magical world of Matilda.
Joints like Freny’s – headed by Chef Freny Fernandes, also known for her work at Moner Bakery – have been serving up reimagined chocolate cakes inspired by Brucey’s triumph that have been winning hearts. And while there is no one right way to make the Matilda cake, the general guideline is that it should be big, bold and absolutely brimming with chocolate.
Here’s a recipe from the official Roald Dahl cookbook to make your own decadent Matilda Cake at home.

Matilda Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 225 grams of good-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 170 grams of unsalted butter, softened (equivalent to 12 tablespoons)
  • 150 grams of sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 30 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs, separated, with yolks lightly beaten

For the Icing:

  • 225 grams of good-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 225 grams of heavy cream

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Line the cake pan with baking paper and grease the bottom and sides of the paper.
  • Melt the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl placed in a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave on low heat. Add the butter and stir until melted and well combined.
  • Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, flour, and lightly beaten egg yolks. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes. The cake will have a thin crust on top and may appear undercooked when tested with a toothpick (don’t worry, it will firm up as it cools). Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the icing. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the cream, stirring occasionally until smooth and fully blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Once the cake is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pan and discard the baking paper. To prevent sinking in the middle, flip the cake upside down onto a plate by placing the plate on top of the cake pan and carefully turning them over together.
  • Using a spatula, carefully spread the chocolate icing all over the cake.
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