A Bruce Bogtrotter Chocolate Layer Cake

Do you all remember Bruce Bogtrotter? The poor child who realized that there can be too much of a good thing, forced to eat all of the Trunchbull’s chocolate layer cake in Matilda?

Image copyright Quentin Blake
Image copyright Quentin Blake from the book Matilda

Well, he got it right that chocolate layer cake is good. Particularly this one, if I do say so myself. 🙂

I’ve been making chocolate layer cakes in all different flavor combinations, including with nutella frosting in the middle, or chocolate cream cheese frosting with Cadbury Creme Eggs*, and this one, one of my absolute favorites: Chocolate layer cake with a cookie dough frosting in the middle, covered with a bourbon chocolate ganache.

the cake in all its glory


Feel free to mix and match – I’ve also made this with a chocolate cream cheese frosting, which I’ll post that recipe soon as well. My friends here are mixed as to which they prefer – the frosting or the ganache, but hands down the ganache is a winner for me.

And this cake! So moist, so delicious. Listen, I’m all about cheating by adapting box mixes, but seriously, this cake is so good and so easy that provided I have the time I will always use this recipe. It’s that good.

So a la the persevering Bruce, enjoy eating this cake!

*That combination of flavors was amazing! And I guess in blogger land with it having Creme Eggs and all I should post it before next Easter…so stay tuned… 😉 

Say what you will about proper food blogging photos, but I think the best ones show how quickly and inelegantly it was devoured...this cake was a success!
Say what you will about proper food blogging photos, but I think the best ones show how quickly and inelegantly it was devoured…this cake was a success!

Homemade Devil's Food Cakes

  • Servings: two 9 inch cakes
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Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk**
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit / 180 degrees celsius. Prep the cake pans by buttering them and then flouring lightly with either flour, or my favorite, unsweetened cocoa powder.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined, and then set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer on medium-high speed, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee, and again mix with the mixer on low. The batter is going to be fairly thin, which is fine!

Pour the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before finishing the cake per the instructions below.

**Definitely do not substitute the buttermilk in this recipe. If you don’t have any on hand, and I never have any on hand, you can easily make your own DIY version of buttermilk by measuring 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a measuring cup or glass. Add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) in the same measuring glass to reach 1 cup. Stir it around and let sit for at least 5 minutes before adding to the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

When I first started making this as a central layer, I halved the recipe. However, I find that since it has a thick consistency, more is always better, and it really keeps the two layers together, so you can add as much as you want if you use the measurements below. So I would make the full recipe, and if you have leftover, smear it on a cookie and eat it (speaking from experience here).

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla and beat well.

With the mixer on the lowest setting, stir in the flour and salt until the mixture begins to be doughy. Stir in the milk and beat until fluffy. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Here's that awesome frosting covering the bottom half of the cake. MOST of the recipe made it on the cake...the rest we may have devoured first! :)
Here’s that awesome frosting covering the bottom half of the cake. MOST of the recipe made it on the cake…the rest we may have devoured first! 🙂

Bourbon Chocolate Ganache

Recipe Adapted from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes

8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (I prefer Ghiradelli chocolate, either bars or chips, or Scharffen Berger)
8 ounces heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons bourbon

Melt the chocolate with the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over lowest heat, stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and blended with the cream. Remove the pan from heat and add in first 1 tablespoon of bourbon. Stir and taste (careful, it’s hot!), and feel free to add more if you think it needs it (and I always think it needs it…). Allow the ganache to cool slightly.

easy as cake

To Assemble the Layer Cake

Once the cakes have cooled, remove the first one from the pan.  Flip the cake upside down and place on the plate or you can use a wire rack – when you are pouring the ganache it definitely goes everywhere! I think little puddles of ganache are delicious and look great, but if you would prefer not, place the first cake on a wire rack, with either a pan or paper towels underneath. The danger with the wire rack is that you will have to move the entire cake afterwards when done and once the ganache has set – which has more potential to disrupt the cake and cause issues! It’s totally up to you, go with whatever you prefer. 🙂

Once you’ve got that first cake upside down and ready, on top of the first layer spread out the chocolate chip cookie dough frosting. It’s quite thick, so you may want to use your hands. Try to ensure it is even, and spread to the very, very edge of the cake.

Place the next cake on top of the frosting, right side up. Pour the ganache, with a spatula, over the cake. You can cover the entire cake, and use the spatula to push the ganache to fill in gaps. I like the look of drizzles down the side, so I may use less and leave the middle layer exposed. Again, up to you!

Serve, and enjoy!


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