This might be the best decadent chocolate cake ever! Based off of the cake from the movie ‘Matilda’, this two layer homemade chocolate cake features simple pantry ingredients and can be made in just 20 minutes.
Every year I tell my parents that my birthday wish is to have a big chocolate cake all to myself, Bruce Bogtrotter style. And every year they thought I was joking! So I’ve made this incredibly rich and moist two layer chocolate cake which I think is the perfect birthday cake. I think this cake, along with my chocolate peanut butter cake, are perfect for family gatherings.
This simple cake uses simple pantry ingredients and is perfect for birthdays, celebrations, potlucks and bake sales.
Tell me about this recipe!
- The cake layers are based off of my walnut chocolate cake. It’s a simple oil based cake which is combined with buttermilk to give you a deliciously moist crumb.
- Hot water is added to the batter, this blooms the cocoa powder and makes our cake layers super dark.
- The cake is topped with a super fudgy chocolate sour cream frosting. Unlike American buttercreams, this frosting isn’t overly sweet.
- You can make the cake layers ahead of time and wrap them up in clingfilm before you’re ready to frost the cake and serve.
- The frosting can be left as is or you can decorate with sprinkles!
- Oil: use a neutral tasting oil like vegetable, canola or rapeseed oil. You don’t want anything with a strong flavour. Because cocoa powder is so dry, we need to give extra moisture to the cake which is why we use oil instead of butter.
- Flour: I’m using all purpose flour in this chocolate cake recipe.
- Cocoa Powder: you’ll need cocoa powder for both the cake and the frosting. Be sure to use a good quality cocoa powder!
- Buttermilk: buttermilk is used in the cake, if you don’t have any then you can make your own (see below for how to) or use sour cream.
- Chocolate: this frosting tastes best with dark chocolate (so use something above 50%) and be sure to use a good quality chocolate as it will make a huge difference to how your frosting tastes!
How to make this recipe
Step 1: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment.
Step 2: In a large jug, whisk together your eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Step 3: With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in your hot water, be careful as there is a lot of batter and it is very liquidy! Pour the batter into your two 8-inch greased and lined cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Step 4: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, slowly beat the confectioners’ sugar and butter together.
Step 5: Turn the speed to medium high and beat until it is light and fluffy.
Step 6: Add the sour cream, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and salt and beat once more. Frost your cooled cake.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- I make sure that all of my ingredients are at room temperature before I start the recipe, so pull out all of the ingredients (including the buttermilk!) before you start baking.
- Allow your cakes to cool completely before you assemble the cake with the frosting. Otherwise your frosting will melt and slide right off!
- You can make the cake layers ahead of time. Bake and then once cooled completely wrap each layer in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.
Frequently Asked Questions
You have two options, either make your own buttermilk or use a different ingredient. To make your own buttermilk: for every cup of buttermilk needed, mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes. Alternatively, substitute the buttermilk for sour cream or yogurt. If you do this, the cake will be slightly more dense but still delicious!
Follow the recipe for my chocolate cake here to make matilda’s chocolate cake 3 layers instead of 2 layers.
Keep this cake in the fridge for up to 5 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving. You can also freeze the cake for up to 2 months. Allow it to defrost overnight before serving.
Try these chocolate recipes next!
Have you made this recipe? Make sure to tag me on Instagram @alpineella and leave a review below if you have! If you want more baking ideas, you can follow me on Pinterest.
Matilda’s Chocolate Cake
- 2 8" round cake pans
- ¾ cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cups very hot water
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- ½ cups sour cream room temperature
- 6 oz dark chocolate chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter or grease two 8 inch baking pans and line it with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. Set aside
- In a large jug, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- While the mixer is on low speed, slowly pour in the ingredients from the large jug
- While the mixer is still running, slowly add the hot water and mix. Your batter will be very thin. Make sure the mixer is on your lowest speed so it doesn't splash everywhere
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Melt your chocolate in a microwave, stirring every 10 seconds so it doesn't burn.
- In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar on low speed until well combined
- Turn the speed to high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add in your cocoa powder and beat on low, then increase the speed to medium for 1-2 minutes.
- Add your sour cream, melted chocolate and salt and mix once more.
I have ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa not Dutch processed can I use that instead?TY
Hi Sharon, unfortunately I have only tested this recipe with Dutch processed cocoa, and as this recipe includes both baking soda and baking powder you might not get the same level of rise or the same texture if you use natural cocoa powder. This blog post however does give suggestions on how to swap in unsweetened cocoa powder!
Hi! Just curious does the frosting get a crust on the outside or does it stay soft? Looks amazing😋
It gets a slight crust but not as hard as regular american buttercream!
This recipe has become my “go to” for chocolate cakes! Thank you for posting such a nice and easy to follow delicious cake recipe!
thanks so much for your review!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This cake is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a chocolate cake recipe. It is perfection.
Thanks so much for your review!!
I can’t get sour cream in my country! What would you recommend to use instead?
You could try using full fat yoghurt! This is a sour cream frosting recipe though so I suggest maybe using a different frosting for this cake!
I’m making the cake a 2nd time because it was adored by my family. My daughter, now 35, remembered the Matilda cake and was so excited to try it. It was delicious! My husband has the beginning of diabetics so this time I’ll use a mixture of plant based sugar and regular sugar. Same with the flour, I’ll use some almond flour and regular flour. I think it will be ok.
Can we use any substitute for eggs? If yes what is it??
Hi there, I haven’t tested this with any egg substitutes! But you can check out this blog post from another blogger who has a chocolate cake recipe without eggs: https://thecookiedoughdiaries.com/wacky-chocolate-cake/
This cake was amazing !!
I made it for my kids birthday and it was a hit ….
Oh yay, so glad you liked it!!
honestly thought i died and went to heaven with this cake. my new go to recipe, thank you!!!
Can I substitute buttermilk with yogurt in the frosting? Or do you recommend using only buttermilk for better results?
Hi! The buttermilk is for the cake, but you could substitute it with yogurt. The sour cream is for the frosting, but I haven’t tested it with yogurt.
It looks divine! 👌👌👌
I’ve checked the recipe few times to find out if I can’t see eggs there or it’s really missed in the printable form ))
Just in case letting you know. ❤️
Hi! I’ve just checked that for you but the eggs are showing up for me on the blog post and when I go to the printable form. If you still can’t see it though it’s 2 eggs!
This is the most moist and fudgey chocolate cake I have ever tasted!
Do you use the frosting on the inside as a filling (middles layer), as well as froting the outside?
Hi there! Yes I did 🙂