Better Than Trunchbull’s Chocolate Cake

In case you are unaware, Miss Trunchbull is the monster-like Headmistress in Roald Dahl’s book titled Matilda, which has also been made into a movie (one of my many childhood favourites). In the book/movie, she punished a rather pudgy Bruce Bogtrotter (for stealing a slice of her cake) to finish an entire chocolate cake without throwing up. Anyway he managed to do it, but only with cheers of encouragement by the whole student body made to stay back to watch the spectacle. I don’t think you’ll need any cheers to finish this cake I’m going to present to you though…

THE Chocolate Cake

My personal rule is that the frosting of the cake shouldn’t be denser than the cake itself, so I frosted the cake with Fresh Vanilla Whipped Cream, just to add a light cooling fresh feel to the already light chocolaty cake!

This chocolate cake is different from others. It is REALLY simple to make, provided you keep these few points in mind:

1. You will get a really thin batter, don’t worry about it because it’s supposed to be like that. It’ll give you the moistest cake you’ve ever tried

2. Do not fill the baking tins too much, stop at 3/5 of the way (not, 2/3, not 3/4, but 3/5!)

3. Do not panic if there is any spillage in the oven, just break it off and enjoy the extra treats

Once you’ve drilled these notes into your head, you’re ready to start!!

This recipe makes a whole 9-inch cake, but I’ve used a small round tin, and additional cupcake tins. You can use this recipe to make cake of any form!



1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cups good cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs (or 3 normal ones), at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used Kapal Api – local Indonesian coffee, staying true to my roots)


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Prepare your cake pans, lining them with baking sheet or cupcake casings.

2. Prepare the dry ingredients. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl, until combined.

3. And now for the wet ingredients. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. (At this point, you’ll notice that the batter is already very thin, yet you still need to add the 1 cup of coffee, don’t worry just keep going!) With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. (Note that you shouldn’t fill the pans too full towards the brim, because this cake rises, a lot, and since the batter is thin it will overflow and create batter puddles in your oven. Fill the pans/cupcake tins about 3/5 of the way) For cupcakes, bake for about 15-18 minutes, for a cake 35-40 minutes, or till a tester inserted comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.



2 teaspoons gelatin powder

4 teaspoons cold water

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (optional)


1. Combine gelatin and cold water in a bowl, and set aside.

2. Whip the whipping cream and icing sugar using a mixer, stop when it begins to thicken and you can see the ripples. Add the gelatin-water mixture and vanilla extract, continue to whip till the mixture reaches whipped cream consistency. (Do not overwhip!) Put the mixture in the fridge till ready for use.


1. Cut the cake horizontally into as many slices as you wish, using a long sharp knife. I suggest using the knife to “draw” a life parallel to the cake surface first, while slowly turning the cake around. Then begin to drive the knife deeper into the centre of the cake using the same circular motion. Make sure that you keep the knife in the cut area at all times so you wouldn’t get a jagged surface. (The texture of the cake happens to be perfect for cutting)

The cake layers

2. Once the layers are ready, spread the whipped cream on the bottom layer, put the second layer on it, and so on. Then spread the remaining cream on top of the uppermost cake layer, and top with mini chocolate chips!

Almost ready to eat!

The cake is now ready to eat! Even if you’re leaving it till later, you don’t have to worry about the whipped cream melting because the gelatin stabilises it enough. If the cream doesn’t melt in hot and humid Singapore, it shouldn’t be a problem no matter where you are in the world.

I hope you’ll enjoy this cake as much as I do! The eating part SHOULD be messy as such…

Butchered cake

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