The Bruce Bogtrotter Cake

Chocolate cake is not something that I'd automatically choose if given the choice. I don't know why but I'm always a bit wary of this particular flavour of cake (probably because I've been disappointed by so many in the past.) Is it chocolatey enough? Is it rich? Will the frosting taste of real chocolate and not too sweet? More often than not, chocolate cake always look nicer than they taste. Dry, bland, sickly, not enough chocolate, no depth of flavour. You name it, I've tried it.

If I have chocolate cake it needs to taste as amazing as it looks. I need to know my calories are spent on something worthwhile, right?! I want it to be oozing in chocolatey-ness, the cake needs to be moist, with a deep, rich chocolate taste. I want to feel like I'm going to have a heart attack just by taking one look at it. I want it to look like the Bruce Bogtrotter cake out of Matilda.

Those who have read or watched Matilda will know exactly which scene I'm talking about. I used to love watching (and reading) Matilda when I was a kid; it was one of my favourite books by Roald Dahl. For those who haven't read or watched Matilda, the particular scene I have in mind involves a boy called Bruce who, after stealing a piece of the evil headmistress Miss Trunchbull's beloved chocolate cake, is punished by having to consume an entire humongous chocolate cake. And just as it looks like Bruce is about to be sick from the sheer chocolatey-ness of this cake, the children in the whole school unites and spurs him on with words of encouragement, leading him to finish the cake and ultimately, victory over Miss Trunchbull.

Go Brucey!

Now, this cake might not be as impressive size wise compared to the one in the film but I can tell you it tastes how a chocolate cake should taste. Two layers (I did think of three layers but decided against it) of rich, moist and super soft chocolate cake, covered in dark Belgian chocolate ganache. Now I've cheated a little here with the filling… I bought a can of Carnation Chocolate Filling and Topping ages ago and was dying to try how it tasted so I tested it out here. Ever since I was a kid I'd always associated Carnation with evaporated milk and condensed milk but recently they have brought out products such as this chocolate filling and dulce de leche caramel (perfect for quick caramel slices). Carnation Chocolate Filling and Topping is essentially, sweetened condensed milk with chocolate. It's not as chocolate-y as I'd hoped but was still sweet and absolutely perfect as an oozy filling for the cake.

Originally in my head I'd wanted to photograph this cake neat and proper. But let's be honest- a cake like this- there's no neat way of eating it. Good ol' Brucey certainly didn't.

Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita
Yields 1 x 2 layer 8" cake


190g plain flour
260g caster sugar
40g good quality cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
140ml buttermilk (or regular milk + 1/2 tsp lemon juice/ vinegar)
120ml strong coffee, hot
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
90ml vegetable oil


200ml double cream
150g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used Callebaut Dark Chocolate Callets)


1 can Carnation Chocolate Filling and Topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two 8" cake tins with parchment paper.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl/bowl of your stand mixer. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk on medium for 2 minutes. (Careful it may be a little splashy)
  3. Divide batter between the two prepared cake tins (batter will be runny) and bake for 25-30mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  5. Once cool, trim the tops of the cakes (if needed), spoon Carnation Chocolate Filling onto one half of the cake and place the other half on top. If the filling is quite hard, transfer to a microwaveable container and microwave in 10 sec intervals until it reaches a spreadable consistency so you don't risk tearing the soft cake.
  6. Make the ganache: Heat the cream in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a bowl. Leave for a minute for the heat to start melting the chocolate and then stir  to combine thoroughly.
  7. Cool the ganache slightly before pouring over your cake.


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Interior designer & part time baker. Lover of architecture, design and all things cute.