Literary cooking: Miss Trunchbull’s Chocolate Cake

For this year’s Halloween bash, it was a goal for us to have a thoroughly gross fare on the table.

We borrowed Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes by Felicity Dahl and Josie Fison, illustrated by Quentin Blake (in Norwegian) from the library and glanced through it. While a lot of the recipes were decidedly revolting, there was also a limit as to what could be done easily, and what was really suitable for a party for adults…

We ended up making the chocolate cake from Matilda. It’s called Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake in the book, but I wonder if the more accurate name would be Miss Trunchbull’s Chocolate Cake?

The thing to realize, before cooking, is that this is a rather easy cake to make, but not really to eat (As Bruce Bogtrotter came to realize.) It is chocolate-y, sinful and moist. And you can’t eat more than one slice, one thin slice, at the time.

(This can be made to look elegant, but part of the point at the day was to have it look slightly sloppy.)

The Roald Dahl Fansite has the recipe in American measurements here

Translated, and adapted, from the Norwegian version with metric measurements.
Bruce Bogtrotter’s Miss Trunchbull’s Chocolate Cake

You need:

a 20 cm round cake pan.

225 g. decent quality dark chocolate.
175 g. softened butter
225 g. granulated/caster sugar
1 dl flour
6 eggs, separate yolk and whites.

Frosting:
225 g. good quality chocolate (We used 70% cocoa content, which was good, but a tad too bitter for our taste).
2 ¼ dl heavy cream.

(We also used white chocolate, to create a spiderweb pattern in the frosting, but that’s not in the original recipe).

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. (We kind of forgot this stage until much later, and it went fine.)
2) Line the cake pan with bake/wax paper. (If you know that it is the type of paper to stick to things, butter it, but ours turned out fine without that.)
3) Melt the butter by putting it in a glass-bowl (or any bowl that can take high temperatures) over a saucepan filled with water. (Also known as a bain-marie) Put the saucepan on the stove, and heat carefully. (You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave on low-temperature, but there is something fascinating about watching the chocolate melt)
4) While this is going on, gently whisk the egg yolks.
5) Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
6) Mix the butter into the melted chocolate, and stir until the butter has melted and melded into the chocolate mixture.
7) Take the mixture off the stove. (If you hadn’t started preheating the oven before, now is the time.)
8) Add the flour, granulated/caster sugar, and the whisked egg yolks to the chocolate mixture.
9) Add the whisked egg whites carefully, and gradually in small increments, into the chocolate mixture, so that they don’t collapse entirely. (I was holding my breath the entire time, as it was the first time I’ve been working with egg whites in this manner.)
10) Pour the now finished batter into the cake pan, and bake in the oven for about 35 -40 minutes. There will be a thin crust on the top of the cake, and if you test it with a fork or a tooth pick, the cake will appear underdone. That’s the way it is meant to be, and as it cools it becomes firmer.
11) Take it out of the oven, and let it cool on a wire rack.
12) The frosting is made by melting the remaining chocolate together with cream in a thick-bottomed saucepan, on low temperature. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and cream are mixed together. (It will look disgusting, so to speak once the chocolate starts melting and loose bits are everywhere in the cream. Don’t get discouraged, the frosting will look like genuine frosting in the end.)
13) When the cake has cooled enough, take it out of the cake pan and remove the paper. It sinks in the middle, so, place a plate under it, and turn it upside down on the serving plate before frosting it.
14) Use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Let it cool before serving, to let the frosting set a bit.

Additional note – this tastes fantastic cold out of the freezer. (There was once slice left after the party, but I was full so I had my last slice put in the freezer so I could appreciate it properly at a later date).

With almost half a kilo of chocolate in it, it is not amongst the low-calorie cakes, but then again, it is not a cake you make every day either because of the rich taste, so it should in theory be okay to splurge.

I’m also a tad curious as to how it would be as a cupcake?
Chocolate cake

Many thanks to the sister for remembering to take a picture of the final product.

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