You know that feeling when you know something would be incredibly bad for you and you still kinda want to do it anyway? Like staying up all night on a school night because the TV show you’re marathoning is too good, or consuming way too much sugar in one go because, hey, you’ve had a long day and you deserve it, alright?!
I know it certainly happens to me a lot, and I often end up craving something not entirely reasonable just because the thought of it sounds appealing. A perfect example of that — and one that has haunted me since I read the book and saw the movie as a child — is the chocolate cake showdown between Bruce and Mrs. Trunchbull in Matilda.
You would expect that now that I’m practically a legal adult I’d find overcoming cravings like that easier than ten years ago, but on the contrary, my desire for chocolate cake has gotten even worse for two reasons: 1. I now know how to bake and 2. There is now, thanks to the fantastic musical version of Matilda, a song to cheer me on as I then devour the cake I’ve baked. (I mean… what?)
If any of this sounds familiar to you, or you’ve just always wanted to learn how to make beautiful, glorious chocolate cake in a really easy way, now would be the perfect time to blast the Matilda cast recording, and let me take you through the steps of this really simple chocolate cake recipe!
1. Get two sandwich tins, or cake pans, and line them with parchment paper. Then you wanna grease them with a tiny bit of melted butter so that they’re glossy but not too oily. This will help you get your cakes out of the pans easier once you reach that stage.
2. Preheat the oven 180C/350F/Gas 4 and if you’ve never done this before, or you don’t know how to use your oven, please get an adult to help you! (And tell them I’m sorry for giving you bad ideas, and I hope they really like the cake!)
3. Next, you’re going to have to mix a lot of ingredients into a bowl and whisk them until they become a smooth, well combined mixture. Here is everything that needs to end up in the mix:
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- 350g/12½oz caster sugar
- 85g/3oz cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 free-range eggs (Tip: if you get some egg shell in the mix when you break the eggs, use the rest of the shell to scoop it out. It’s much easier than trying to chase it around with a spoon or your fingers!)
- 250ml/9fl oz milk
- 125ml/4½fl oz vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
You can either mix everything with a wooden spoon or a whisk, or use an electric whisk to get the job done.
4. For this next part, I urge you to be careful, even if you’re a responsible adult like me (Ha!) and you won’t be asking an actual grown up person to help you. You need to boil 250ml of water and slowly add them into your ingredients mixture. Don’t add all of the water at the same time, make sure it mixes well with the rest of the ingredients, and take care while working with boiling water!
5. At this point, your mixture will be much more liquid-y than what you started with, but that’s okay! The hardest part is over! Now, all you need to do is divide the mixture into the two pans or tins you’re using and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (Tip: You’ll know the cake is baked if you stick a toothpick in it and it comes out clean. Please be careful while reaching into the oven, and always wear oven gloves!)
6. Okay, so the hardest part is definitely done now, and all you need to do now is make the icing, which is much easier! Get a saucepan, heat it to a really low heat, and mix 200g (7oz) of plain chocolate and 200mL (7fl) of double cream and leave them over the low hear until the chocolate melts completely.
7. Then, remove the melted icing mix from the heat and whisk it until it thickens and gets glossier. All you need to do once you’re done is leave it in the fridge for an hour or two, and then you’ll be ready to ice your cake!
Putting It Together: (Baking is an art form, alright!?)
1. Once your cakes are baked, take them out and let them cool for about half an hour. You could use that time to finish preparing your icing if you’re still doing that.
2. When your cakes are completely cool, run a round-bladed knife (don’t use a knife that’s too sharp here!) around the edge of your tin or pan to separate them more easily, and get them out of the tin you used.
3. Then you get a while to rest while your icing cools in the fridge. As soon as you know it’s cool enough, all you need to do is assemble the cake, and I’m pretty sure you know how that goes already: cake layer – icing layer – cake layer – literal icing of the cake!
4. Additionally, you can decorate with any kind of sprinkles or anything you’d like to put on top of your cake.
Et voilà, you now have an amazing, beautiful, delicious cake that you can either feed to school children in an attempt to terrorize them, eat by yourself or– well. Be nice and share it with some friends. Even then, however, make sure to blast “Bruce” from Matilda for encouragement!
(Original recipe source: BBC)