Mara's Homemade is one of our favorite restaurants in the city. We discovered it after coming back from New Orleans - we were jonesing for cajun cuisine and found Mara's online. We gave it a try and boy were we glad we did. Not only is the food great and owners friendly, the homemade desserts are out of this world. Now every time we go to Mara's we HAVE to get dessert. If we're too full (which we usually are), we take it home. A couple months back, this is exactly what we did. We ordered the chocolate pecan cake to go. After we got home, I opened the box to take a look and said maybe I'll try a bite. That particular bite will forever be in my memory - it was absolute ecstasy. I called my husband over because he HAD to try it and 5 minutes later, the slice was gone. There was nothing we could do to hold back - it was that good.
So after that night, I was on a mission to find out how to make this incredible cake myself. I found this recipe online and decided that it was the closest thing I could find, pecans and all. Since my husband is a chocolate lover, I figured it was the perfect thing to make for his birthday. We brought it to my parents on Mother's Day (also his bday) and everyone loved it. While I am still not convinced that it is as good as Mara's, it is pretty darn close...but it won't stop me from ordering it next time I go!
Triple Chocolate Pecan Cake
adapted from The Baking Pan
8 1-ounce squares semisweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1/3 cup brandy or cognac (or any kind of liquid you like - I used instant coffee for a mocha flavor)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons whipping (heavy) cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
½ cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a deep casserole dish halfway with warm water and put on lower shelf in oven. Prepare one 9 inch springform pan; lightly grease the pan with butter, line with wax paper, and then lightly grease the top of the wax paper. (I did not use wax paper).
In top of a double boiler over hot water, Melt the semi-sweet chocolate and butter; stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder and sugar. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs and brandy; whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the eggs. Add the egg mixture to the sugar mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and stir until completely combined. Stir in the chopped pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set on higher shelf in oven.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is firm to the touch. Place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool for 15 minutes then remove cake from the pan and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 6 hours.
In top of a double boiler over hot water, combine the bittersweet chocolate, butter, whipping cream, vanilla and salt. Stir until melted and completely combined. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes.
Place a piece of wax paper under the chilled cake, and then drizzle spoonfuls of glaze along the edge of the cake, allowing the glaze to drip down and coat the sides. Pour the remaining glaze on top of the cake.
Cover the sides of the cake with ½ cup chopped pecans, gently pressing them on with your hand. Let the cake sit, uncovered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator until the glaze is set. Transfer cake to a serving plate.Cover cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate Leftovers.
After reading this recipe again, it sounds pretty complicated. Don't be intimidated, because it really is not. I do have to warn you though, this cake is definitely chocolate overload - if you don't like chocolate, this might not be the right cake for you. Fortunately, my family does not have that problem!