Matilda, Danny DeVito's thunderous directorial follow-up to Hoffa (1992), features an inexplicably tempting chocolate cake, despite its open admission of containing bodily fluids. Sit down and consume this entire confection today alongside Dan Pashman of The Sporkful.



  • 1 Tbsp butter

  • 3 cups flour (plus more for dusting)

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 8 ounces cream cheese

  • 12 ounces butter

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 pound powdered sugar

  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)


Makes a 3-layer, 9-inch cake 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Liberally butter three 9” cake pans, and tap a tablespoon of flour around in each, until evenly coated.  Line with a round sheet of parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, first cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vegetable oil.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and whisk until smooth.  Divide evenly between the cake pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Place pans on racks to cool for at least 30 minutes before flipping onto racks, and allowing to cool completely, another 30-60 minutes.

  3. While cakes cool, beat together butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  Once fluffy, add cocoa powder, and mix until combined.  A cup or two at a time, add powdered sugar, and beat until creamy and smooth.  Add a splash of milk if desired to adjust consistency.

  4. Slice the rounded tops off each layer of the cake, frost, slice, and serve.