I have recently got into baking cakes. Why? Because cakes are good.
One of the cakes that I had been dying to make for months and months and months is an extremely, extremely, extremely decadent Chocolate Caramel Layer cake from America’s Test Kitchen. The recipe debuted last year and, for whatever reason, the entire episode had me drooling all over myself, having some sort of erotic connection with this salty caramel deep chocolate cake. It was fucking weird given that I’ve never been somewhat sexually attracted to a baking process before.
Still, I lusted after the cake until I finally felt able enough to try the recipe. For someone with a non-stocked kitchen—no stand mixer, no cooling rack, no cake stand, etc.—this should have been a lofty challenge but ended up being quite easy. It made me want to keep baking! However, a swapping of the corn syrup with agave for the sake of health lead to runnier, slightly burnt caramel but—Hey.—it was a good cake.
But that accident of the incorrect caramel actually created a delicious accident: it made the Bruce Bogtrotter cake.
Do you know Bruce Bogtrotter? Bogtrotter is the fatted cake eating child from Roald Dahl’s Matilda that was brought to life in the 1996 movie of the same name by child actor Jimmy Katz. The scene in the movie is a somewhat iconic, strange force feeding something where a little boy eats an entire cake at the request of the bullying principal, Miss Trunchbull.
Here, watch part of the scene.
Disgusting, isn’t it? But aren’t you also a bit like “Gimme that cake.“? It looks so moist and gooey and dangerous and bad. It’s the type of cake you want to eat while drunk at 2AM or when sad, in need of a sweet companion. Again: I don’t really ever feel this way about sweets but that Bruce Bogtrotter cake has hints of what happened to me and that America’s Test Kitchen cake.
Here’s why: after a few days of sitting and soaking in the pool of soupy caramel between layers, the cake became this wet chocolate knot. The caramel notes had disappeared and the cake became what Bruce ate in the movie: the moistest cake ever baked.
While I do not condone force feeding an entire cake to anyone (nor dropping a cake plate on a child’s head), I can recommend this recipe very highly. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it will impress any company. If you want to aim for Bogtrotter style, swap in the corn syrup with agave and don’t serve it until the day after its made, when the cake has time to get soaked in the salty caramel puddles you placed between layers.