Walnut Brownie Altar Cakes | Hereditary

2018 supernatural horror film Hereditary, directed by Ari Aster and featuring Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolfe, began by lulling me into the typical horror formula (I’ve seen a few ghost movies, ok?) and then took a gut-wrenching turn that shocked me to tears and left my body a twisted lump of tension for the rest of the film. The haunting performances, droning soundscape, unsettling dollhouse motif, and masterful building of absolute dread, all wrapped up in an uncomfortable family drama, is far and away the most horrific thing I’ve seen this year.

Very light spoilers ahead…this recipe is tied into the plot of course but I won’t say too much…

For most of this ghastly torture of a movie I was thinking there was no way I could do something as frivolous as a recipe, but then the third act turns so wacky and has an such an interesting thread of mythology that I was back in. The 13-year-old daughter Charlie, has a love of chocolate and a well-established nut allergy, so of course I wanted to include those in my recipe. It was the demon king Paimon though that inspired me to make these as altar cakes, smeared with ganache, a dark offering to his hellish excellency. His intricate sigil appears over and over in the film, so these are so marked with walnut buttercream. Hail Paimon! (Please accept these and stay away).

Walnut Brownie Altar Cakes

For the brownie cakes:
Adapted from Taste of Home

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350°

Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stir until smooth and allow to cool. Meanwhile, beat together sugar and eggs and stir in vanilla and the chocolate mixture. Mix in flour until just combined and stir in walnuts.

Pour into lined muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool, remove from liners, trim the tops flat if necessary and flip upside down to decorate.

For the ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Bring heavy cream to a boil and pour over chocolate chips, stir until smooth. Cool to room temp. Smear over tops of the cakes.

For the walnut buttercream

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 stick softened butter
  • 1 ounce walnuts
  • 1+ teaspoon milk

Combine well all ingredients in a food processor. Transfer to a piping bag and scribble hell king sigils on your altar cakes. Offer and wait.

Recipe for Fiction Kitchen Episode 60: VOLTRON & HEREDITARY in which Diana and Carrie discuss discuss robots in space and terrifying family dramas! Food goo, garlic knots, cake roll pops, Checkov’s walnut allergy and uncomfortable family dinners.