If you read the Domestic Diva Mysteries, you know that poor Natasha just cannot bring Mars to the altar. She has tried everything, including baking an aphrodisiac cake. Natasha pretends her mother doesn't believe in mystical powers, but when it comes to Mars, she's willing to try anything. Alas, even their chants and potions haven't done the trick. There's still no ring on Natasha's finger. Love is a very mysterious and sometimes most elusive thing.
Natasha could use some advice from those of you who have had better luck in affairs of the heart. Sophie thinks Natasha should abandon her haute cuisine and bake simple chocolate comfort food for Mars. Naturally, Natasha is appalled. She would never bake anything so ordinary.
One of the things that Sophie and I like about Ina Garten is her ability to take something rather ordinary and make it special. Her recipe for a Brownie Tart, for example, takes a lunchpail staple and makes it elegant enough for company. The recipe reminds me a great deal of brownies that I often make. Both recipes rely on beaten eggs and a very scant amount of flour, which results in a chewy, almost fudgy brownie.
Ina used coffee granules and walnuts, but I switched it up a bit by omitting the coffee granules and adding one of my favorites, dried cherries. Somehow they seemed right for Valentine's Day. And instead of mixing them into the batter, I created a layer of walnuts, dried cherries and chocolate chips in the middle.
I kept Ina's wonderful chocolate drizzle that goes over it, but added flaked sea salt that I received from a thoughtful foodie friend as a gift.
To be honest, I didn't expect it to rise quite so much. It's total chocolate overload. The top is slightly crisp, the sides cake-like and the center is totally gooey chocolate. The salt on top is a welcome contrast to all the chocolate. Expect to eat this in very small amounts. I expect it will freeze exceptionally well. I'll keep you posted on that.
Death by Chocolate Cake
based on a recipe by Ina Garten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (divided)
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350.
Melt the butter with 2 cups of chocolate chips. Set aside to cool.
Beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and lemon colored. Add the baking powder and flour and beat. Add the vanilla and beat. Stir in the cooked chocolate mixture. Stir in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips.
Pour 1/2 the batter into the pan and spread. Sprinkle the walnuts and dried cherries over the batter. Sprinkle 1/3 cup chocolate chips over the walnuts and dried cherries. Pour the rest of the batter over top of them and smooth.
Bake 35-40 minutes.