The Irony Of The Chocolate Cake Scene In Matilda

If you grew up in the 1990s, chances are you've seen the cult classic film "Matilda" starring Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Embeth Davidtz. Based on the 1988 Roald Dahl children's novel, the story's protagonist is a prodigal girl with psychokinetic powers who uses her supernatural gift to triumph over her school's tyrannical headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and her neglectful, immoral parents, Harry and Zinnia Wormwood.

One of the most iconic scenes in the movie — and perhaps one of the most memorable in modern cinematic history — takes place in the school's auditorium, during which a student named Bruce Bogtrotter is forced to devour a massive chocolate cake in front of the entire student body as a form of draconian punishment. This plot point has been embedded into fans' minds and has even inspired food websites and blogs such as Delish and The Stay at Home Chef to recreate the recipe. As it turns out, while the audience apprehensively observes poor Brucey eat the dessert with his bare hands, the actor himself was having a challenging time performing the feat in real life.

The actor who played Bruce Bogtrotter hated chocolate cake

For many people, rich, dense, fudgy chocolate cake has never been viewed the same after the ultra-cruel Principal Trunchbull ordered Bruce Bogtrotter to shovel down the entire stomachache-inducing sweet treat after catching him stealing a piece. Jimmy Karz, who played the role of Bruce in the film, has since retired from acting and is now a doctor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. As one can probably imagine, filming this part was as treacherous as it sounds. "That scene took about three weeks to film, from what I recall," Karz told The DO, a publication for osteopathic physicians. "I had to be on set all day, and I had to wear the same outfit every day." Cinematographer Stefan Czapsky revealed to Thrillist in 2016 that Karz absolutely hated chocolate cake — so much that they had to shoot around 144 angles of him eating it and that he would spit out bites when they would cut the camera.

The "Matilda" cast even reunited in 2021 to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary. Much to '90s kids' delight, Karz and Pam Ferris, who played Agatha Trunchbull, reenacted the beloved chocolate cake scene.