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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!

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Slice of Chocolate Layer Cake

If there’s an iconic chocolate cake, the one from “Matilda” would have to be it! There’s a scene (and trust me, I remember it clearly as this is one of my favorite movies!!) where Bruce Bogtrotter eats an ENTIRE cake in front of the student body.

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

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 dark chocolate cake for years.  But what makes this delicious recipe extra special is that fudgy, glossy frosting!  Mmmmm!!

Close-up of chocolate frosting

Ingredients Needed (Amounts in Recipe Card Below)

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder – Unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not dutch cocoa powder)
  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Buttermilk – Store-bought or make your own buttermilk; for best results, bring the buttermilk to room temperature before mixing.
  • Large Eggs – For best results, bring these to room temperature before mixing.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Hot Coffee or Boiling Water
  • Salted Butter
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sour Cream – Use full-fat sour cream rather than low-fat or “light” 

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 (baking time will be several minutes less)
  • Two square 9×9” pans

How to make Matilda Cake

You’ll start by making a homemade chocolate cake. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and the wet ingredients (all but the coffee) in a separate bowl. Add the wet to the dry and stir until mixed. Add the coffee in a slow steady stream and mix until combined.

Pour the cake batter into the parchment-lined pans and bake. Take a look at the cakes after about 30-35 minutes. If it needs more time, continue to bake. Let them cool on wire racks for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack.

When the cakes are cooled, make the frosting. The frosting is really the shining star in this fudgy chocolate cake!! Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the chocolate chips, stirring until melted.

Add the sugar, cocoa and salt. It’ll be grainy at this point but don’t worry, it’ll smooth out soon! Add the heavy whipping cream and sour cream and cook on low until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool completely to thicken before frosting the cake.

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’ll carefully cover with plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 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

Other Delicious Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Fellow chocolate lovers, you know I’ve got some recipes that’ll be right up your alley!  Here are a feppw 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!

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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
5 from 16 votes

Matilda Chocolate Cake

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cool Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
20 slices
Matilda Chocolate Cake has moist cake layers covered in a smooth, glossy frosting making it a decadent dessert perfect for any celebration!


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 heavy whipping 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.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have been looking for a good Matilda Chocolate cake since I saw the movie back in 1995 or so. I tried so many recipes, non of them was even close to the flavor I pictured watching the movie, till yesterday.

    I cannot say how GOOD is this recipe. It’s the best chocolate cake ever.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. So so so happy you loved it, Margaret!! 🙂 -Kelsey

  2. J. Wilson says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is replacing 3 of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. I also had an issue with frosting thickening up. But I’ve used the frosting on a cake baked in a13x9 pan.After slicing, the frosting just slides down the sides to give you something to kind of dip your cake into. Best cake I ever made!

    1. This made my day!! 🙂 So so so glad you enjoy this cake! ~Kelsey

    2. I had same issue with frosting. I left it in fridge for about 3 hrs and it was still like a pourable frosting. I stirred in about a cup of sifted confectioners sugar and it was perfect.
      As far as servings, I would guess about 10. I may add a third layer next time. 😊

  3. Ive been using this recipe for years now! Seriously the best cakes ive ever made!!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Just used the recipe for cupcakes the morning – so good! 🙂

  4. Hello! I’ll try your recipe 🤞. When you says cream, is it mean heavy cream? Thanks😊

  5. Hello there, the cake tastes amazing, but my sauce didn’t thicken up. I placed it in the fridge for 1 hour but its runny. How can I solve this problem?\

    Thank you

  6. April Miller says:

    5 stars
    My son requested a Matilda style chocolate cake 2 birthdays in a row. I was apprehensive because last year’s cake didn’t live up to expectations. I chose this recipe, quite frankly because the explanation of the chocolate “blooming” seemed to make sense to me with how some chocolate feels like one soprano note while others taste like the whole orchestra. Mixed metaphors aside, this cake did NOT disappoint! I thought the batter looked thin, but resisted the urge to mess with it and I was glad I did. It was delicious! My family raved. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll be keeping this recipe.

  7. Since the area of a 9″ round cake pan is 64 square inches, wouldn’t it be better to substitute 8″ square pans instead? They are also 64 square inches in area. (A 9″ square pan is 81 square inches in area. Would that make the layers too thin?)

  8. Dave Coron says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is very delicious. I have also seen the Matilda Play and have always wanted to make this cake ever since.

    1. We just saw the Matilda play in a nearby town earlier this year – it was fantastic! And totally made me want a slice of this cake again! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it! -Kelsey

  9. Hi Kelsey, I’m so excited to make this for my Bestie’s 50th!
    One question. For the frosting is it granular sugar or confectioners?
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Joy!! It is in fact granular sugar. When you cook the frosting, it’ll make it nice and smooth! 🙂 -Kelsey

  10. Dawn Cannon says:

    What kind of coffee do you recommend?

    1. My husband drinks Columbian coffee, so that’s what we typically have on hand! 🙂

  11. Brooke Jordan says:

    When you say cream, do you mean heavy whipping cream?

  12. Shelly Kirgiss says:

    5 stars
    This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. My family requests this for their birthdays.

    1. I love hearing that!!! Nothing is better than a really great chocolate cake on a birthday! 🙂

  13. Hi there
    Just wondering how long this would last in the fridge for once made and frosted ? Would it last a couple of days?

  14. Will the cake be okay to be stored in just an air right container on the counter?

  15. Mark Newton says:

    5 stars
    This is the best chocolate cake recipe I have made and i’ve made quite a few. The frosting is what really makes this cake special.

  16. 5 stars
    Made this cake for a friend’s birthday and it turned out beautifully, but the frosting…OMG, the frosting is to die for. It can be a little runnier than some like, but it was okay in my case. Delish!!

  17. Brandon Becker says:

    How many cupcakes would this make?

  18. I’m making this cake tonight. Do I need to refrigerate the cake after icing?

  19. Linda Perry says:

    5 stars
    I made this cake for my son’s birthday and he, my husband and I LOVED LOVED LOVED IT! Will definitely make it again!

  20. Stephanie Revere says:

    5 stars
    My family thinks this is the best cake recipe I have ever made. Very delicious and a real treat!