Matilda Chocolate Cake

Matilda Chocolate Cake

Matilda Chocolate Cake gets its name from the classic 1996 movie, “Matilda.” Its moist chocolate cake layers are covered in a smooth, glossy frosting making it a decadent dessert perfect for any celebration!

Jump to Recipe
Slice of Chocolate Layer Cake

If there’s an iconic chocolate cake, the one from “Matilda” would have to be it!  And I’m not gonna lie, every time I see that movie, I start craving a big ‘ol slice of chocolate cake. 

But not just any kind of chocolate cake.  It’s gotta have dense, moist, chocolate-y cake layers with swirls of glossy chocolate frosting!

After some trial and error, I can honestly tell you that this is THE BEST chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.  Yeah, that’s a big statement…and I mean it 1000%.  It starts with my Homemade Chocolate Layer Cake base, which has been my go-to chocolate layer cake for years.  But what makes this cake extra special is that fudgy, glossy frosting!  Mmmmm!!

Close-up of chocolate frosting

Why do you add coffee to the cake batter?

When you add a hot liquid to cocoa powder, it helps it “bloom,” meaning it enhances the flavor of the chocolate. You can “bloom” the chocolate with any hot liquid (milk, water, coffee, etc). However, I always choose coffee for my chocolate cake.

Why do I use coffee? Because coffee actually brings out even more chocolate flavor. Are you concerned you’ll taste the coffee? You won’t! I know it seems odd, but really it just helps deepen the flavor of the chocolate!

Chocolate Layer Cake with chocolate frosting on a platter

What pan size should I use?

You’ll see that this Matilda Chocolate Cake recipe calls for two 9” round cake pans.  However, there are a couple other options, too, in case you don’t have the 9” round pans:

  • 9×13” pan + 6 cupcakes
  • Three 8×8” round cake pans (will take several minutes less)
  • Two square 9×9” pans
Fork with a bite of chocolate cake on it

How do you store the chocolate cake?

Matilda Chocolate Cake is really best at room temperature. Therefore, if I’ll be eating the cake soon after completing it (within a few hours), I’ll just leave it at room temperature.

If it’s much longer than that, I store it in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated. Then, remove it from the fridge about an hour before serving so it comes to room temperature.

Can I freeze leftover cake?

Absolutely! I freeze leftover cake all the time. I typically cut my cake into slices and lay them in an airtight container with sheets of waxed paper in between. Then, when I want a piece of chocolate cake, I can easily just grab one and thaw it out! 

Close-up of Layered Chocolate Cake

Delicious chocolate dessert recipes

Fellow chocolate lovers, you know I’ve got some recipes that’ll be right up your alley!  Here are a few of the most chocolate-y and decadent!

Chocolate Cobbler – It’s like a chocolate lava cake, but wayyyy easier and just as delicious!
Chewy Homemade Brownies – These homemade brownies are dense, chewy, chock-full of chocolate and have a beautiful shine on top!
Hot Chocolate Poke Cake – This poke cake has all the elements of a delicious hot cocoa!
Cheesecake Brownies – Turn a box brownie mix into rich, fudgy brownies with a swirl of cream cheese filling!

Connect with Dance Around the Kitchen!

Follow us on PinterestInstagram and Facebook so you never miss a recipe!! And as always, thank you for following along with my blog, making my recipes, liking and sharing on social media and any other way you support Dance Around the Kitchen!  -Kelsey

Matilda Chocolate Cake

Matilda Chocolate Cake

Matilda Chocolate Cake has moist cake layers covered in a smooth, glossy frosting making it a decadent dessert perfect for any celebration!
5 from 4 votes
Course Dessert
Servings 16 slices


Chocolate Cake Layers

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup hot coffee

Glossy Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Cake Layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease two 9" round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda to your mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment). Stir until combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Once combined, add in the coffee slowly so you don't cook the eggs.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir slowly until combined. Then mix on high for two minutes, scraping the sides halfway through.
  • Distribute the batter between the two prepared pans.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (A few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick is fine, but you don't want it gooey).
  • Cool for a few minutes. Run a butter knife around the outside of each pan, and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.

Glossy Chocolate Frosting

  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  • Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.
  • Add the sugar, cocoa and salt and whisk together. (It will be a little bit grainy at this point, which is fine).
  • Whisk in the cream and sour cream. Continue to cook on low heat until hot and smooth, but do not let it boil.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Let the frosting cool in the fridge (it'll thicken) until it's at the right consistency.*
  • Stir the frosting until smooth and frost the cake.


*If the frosting thickens more than you’d like in the fridge, set it out at room temperature for a bit until it softens.
Keyword chocolate cake, layer cake


  1. 5 stars
    This cake is to die for. I thought my chocolate cake recipe was the ultimate until I tasted this. Moist, fudgey, chocolatey, and the icing is tangy and rich and smooth. I chocolate heaven. LOL Thank you so much, I got people begging for this recipe when I made it for a birthday party. I directed them to your site.

  2. I was looking for a good recipe for the Matilda cake and I am so glad I found yours. While I was dismayed that your cake had only two layers, I used 1.5 portions of your cake recipe and I now had 3 wonderful chocolate cake layers to play with. While I strayed just a tiny bit by using a chocolate mousse filling to sandwich the cake layers, the chocolate frosting that went with the cake recipe is truly divine. I have been looking for a cooked chocolate frosting recipe for some time now and this was absolutely the best one. Rich but not overly sweet. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. It is definitely one of the best chocolate cake recipes I’ve ever tried.

  3. I already posted the cake on my IG account but boy was I glad I found your recipe. While I was a bit dismayed that there were only two layers, I used 1.5 portions of your cake recipe and I had my 3 perfect chocolate cake layers. The cake had a beautiful crumb and was very moist. I did stray a bit by using a chocolate mousse filling to sandwich the cake layers but the chocolate frosting was so delicious. I was finally able to find a perfectly balanced cooked chocolate frosting. It was definitely the reason why the cake is so delicious. It matched so well with the very chocolate cake layers. Definitely one of the best chocolate cakes I have baked.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!! It’s definitely my go-to chocolate cake… moist and rich!! Thank you SO much for the review!! -Kelsey

      • 5 stars
        Sorry, I forgot to rate your recipe. 5 stars all the way to the moon and back! Wonderful wonderful cake.

  4. I’m trying to find the right pan for this. I got 8×1.5 how many of those would I need to make from your batter?

    I also have the rectangle 9X13X2in pan and can do the 6 cupcakes on the size but I’m guessing that just a one-layer cake?

    Lastly you recommend 9in round pans are those 9X9? and that’s 2 layers right?

    • Hi Marissa –
      You could use 3 of your 8″ cake pans – they’ll be slightly thinner and will take a few minutes less to bake.
      And yes, the 9×13 is just a single layer cake.
      And the 9″ round pans are 9″ in diameter and 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep and would give you two layers.
      I hope that helps!!! 🙂

  5. I’m excited to try your recipe for my daughter’s 40th birthday dinner. Can I substitute applesauce for the vegetable oil?

  6. 5 stars
    This was THE best chocolate cake I’ve ever made and everyone loved it! I substituted applesauce for the oil and it turned out amazing. AND the most delicious icing ever! Not too sweet and complemented the cake wonderfully

    • Thanks SO much, Tracy!! Glad to hear you loved this chocolate cake…..we sure do!!! 🙂 And thank you for the five-star rating. Made my day!!! -Kelsey

  7. I am hoping to make this cake for my sister in law using 8 inch pans. Will the icing be enough to ice this whole cake? And is there a specific amount to put in between the layers? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Dana –
      That’s a great question. I’ve used this recipe many times as a 9×13″ cake pan and two 9″ round pans…however, I haven’t done a three-layer 8″ cake. To be on the safe side, I’d probably make 1 1/2 batches of the frosting. I typically put about 3/4 – 1 cup of frosting between each layer. I hope that helps!! -Kelsey

  8. Hi Kelsey, I made this beautiful cake yesterday for a party tonight. I made the frosting this afternoon and yikes!! It’s been in the fridge for hours, probably over 3 and it’s still more like icing than frosting. It’s beautiful and glossy but more pourable than spreadable. I just stuck the bottom layer covered in the glaze in my fridge and will hope that I can get it to set up enough to put the top on and frost the cake before our guests arrive. It would have helped me a lot to have a man idea of how long it takes to set up. I could have easily made it last night when I made the cake.

    I can’t wait to try it though because everything looks and smells fantastic! And I did sneak some of the frosting and it’s divine. Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Hi, Nancy. I’m so sorry you had an issue with the frosting setting up! Hopefully it set up in time for your party and you all enjoyed the cake! 🙂

  9. Hi Kelsey
    This cake looks fantastic can’t wait to make it, but just a question for the frosting do you use heavy cream or lower percent ? Thx

  10. Hi Kelsey, we are name twins! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I was wondering if the flour you use is cake flour or all purpose?? Thanks!

    • Hi Kelsey – great name, by the way! 😉 Great question – I’ll update the recipe to clarify too, but I use all purpose flour.
      Hope you love this cake as much as we do!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating