Apparently there’s some kind of big match-up today that involves my local sporting franchise, which also features a halftime show starring the skeletal remains of Madonna, the Lady Gaga of the 1980s.

I suppose I should be offering you hot wings or dip or bite-sized things wrapped in bacon. Are we not AMERICANS, and do we not require nachos and miniature pizza snacks when watching televised sports? I DEMAND DEEP-FRIED SNACKS IN THE SHAPE OF A BALL OR A STICK.

I mean, if modern science is going to develop new breeds of jalapeño to help us convey more cheese to our mouths, the very least we can do is gorge on poppers for special occasions like this one. I’m pretty sure that if Jesus lived in the tri-state area, HE would be making poppers. (Obviously, Jesus is a Giants fan.)

beurre et chocolat

Of course, it is much more my style to avoid these events and instead host a gathering where we watch the collected oeuvre of Olympia Dukakis, eat quiche and get a little tipsy on French 75s. Or eat a giant bowl of pad thai and fall asleep on the sofa in front of the Puppy Bowl. Either would be fine.


Besides, I worry that my lower-right back is in such bad shape that I would do further violence to it were I to cheer too vigorously for the team I’m geographically required to like.

(For those playing at home, here are some things that have done NOTHING for my back pain:

  • Advil
  • Icy Hot
  • Aleve
  • Thermacare
  • Resting
  • Not Resting
  • Heating Pads
  • Expired Vicodin
  • Salonpas
  • Heavy Drinking
  • Barbecued Pork Ribs


Perhaps you are going to one of those Super Bowl parties that turns into a middle school dance, with the menfolk in the living room watching the game on the host’s newly-purchased 84 inch flat screen and the ladies ensconced in the kitchen discussing the many ways to repurpose Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup.

If that is the case, you could do worse than to bring along a spicy flourless dark chocolate cake with sweet mango coulis to share. The women will like it because you know how chicks are with chocolate, especially when they’re all hormonal and shit, and the men will like it because it has heat. Although they may dunk it into the leftover blue cheese dressing in their extreme excitement over victory/deep grief at losing, so you probably want to keep an eye on them.


I enjoy flourless chocolate cake because it has very few ingredients, does not involve creaming butter, can be endlessly flavored and is so rich it hurts. Most recipes are basically the same, so it was really just a matter of tweaking the proportions of the main ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs) and adding another layer of flavor (cinnamon, cayenne).

spa day

While the oven preheated and I brought some water to a boil for the bain marie – the water bath that ensures even cooking – I put the batter together. Butter and dark chocolate (I used 85%) melt together while eggs whipped up into an airy, pale yellow foam. The spices went into the melted chocolate, which went into the whipped eggs, which went into a springform pan, which went into the oven. Also, the leg bone is connected to the ankle bone.

Since the chocolate I used was so deep in flavor and barely-sweet I decided to make a coulis to go with the cake, but not raspberry because that shit is PLAYED OUT. Instead, I dumped mango into the blender with some simple syrup and rum. Et voila, coulis, which makes if sound much fancier than “mango puree.” We are all about keeping up appearances here at TNS.


The baked, cooled cake was actually never meant for a Super Bowl party; rather, I took it to a coffee tasting held by my brother-in-law where I assume the complexity of flavor went well with the various coffees sampled – I didn’t drink any, because I add so much milk and sugar that it’s an affront to the men and women who worked so hard to produce the coffee.

As expected, it was super-rich, incredibly dense and just a tad sweet. I really liked the somewhat sugary brightness of the mango alongside while others preferred their cake straight-up, so we’ll have to agree to disagree while also acknowledging that I am correct.

Spicy Flourless Chocolate Cake
16 oz. good-quality dark chocolate
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
7 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
pinch of salt

Preheat your over to 325.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment, and grease again.

In a large heatproof bowl set over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Stir in the salt, cinnamon and cayenne.

Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until eggs are pale yellow and fluffy; they will double in volume.

Stir half the egg into the chocolate mixture. When that’s combined, fold in the rest of the egg.

Pour into the greased springform pan and wrap the bottom of the pan with foil. Place it in a larger baking pan, fill the baking pan 1/3 of the way with hot water and slide into the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes. Center will still look jiggly, but you should be able to lightly touch the top of the cake and come away clean. Let it cool to room temp in the pan, then chill for at least 4 hours (up to overnight) before unmolding. Serve at room temperature.

Mango Coulis
1 10oz. bag frozen mango, thawed
1/3 c. simple syrup*
3 tbsp. rum (light or dark, whatever you have)

Put everything in the blender and whiz until smooth.

*Heat equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar is fully dissolved and liquid is clear. Cool and store in fridge.