Thursday, 22 July 2010

The miracle of microwavable cake!

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When my older brother and I were in undergrad together at Washington University in St Louis, I used to take him grocery shopping with my mom's credit card.  I was always a little appalled (and admittedly a weensy bit envious) at the things he'd chuck into the cart: frozen pizzas, chocolate milk, canned whipped cream, more frozen pizzas/breakfast sandwiches/soft pretzels.  And, one time, some sort of packaged chocolate gloop that theoretically turned into cake when you add water and put it in the microwave.

I was skeptical, but my brother thought it was manna from heaven.  He stood there in the baking mix aisle of the massive Schnucks (yes, that's the grocery store in St Louis) and extolled the virtues of this 2-minute cake as if he'd discovered the secret to eternal youth and irresponsibility.  I rolled my eyes at him and picked up a box of brownie mix, promising to give him half the pan.

A few years later, someone posted something on a random food blog about how one can, conceivably, make a chocolate cake from scratch, from real ingredients, in the microwave.  But I was still skeptical.  I was sure it would be disgusting.  I mean, microwave cake?  But then, on foodgawker, I saw a photo of something delicious-looking peeking over the top of a mug, and I clicked on over to Almost Bourdain, where there were yet more pics of what looked to be a delectable chocolate cake, made in the microwave!

I still wasn't sure I believed the hype, but I also had no better ideas for using the one egg we had left in the fridge before it went bad.  So I wrote down the directions, altering them just a bit to allow me to use up some of our dregs of cocoa, and went at it.  Five minutes later (I kid you not), I was digging into a steaming mug of chocolate cake!

Now, it's not the most amazing cake I've ever had, but it ain't half bad either!  It's kind of spongy and not as moist as I'd like, but I'm not altogether sure that doesn't have to do with our microwave and the fact that I have no idea what wattage it is and may have overcooked the cake... but at least I won't get salmonella!

All in all, it's a pretty awesome one-serving (well, I ate half and saved the rest for the bf) way to use up an extra egg!

Chocolate Mug Cake:

In  a large mug, melt:
     3 tbsp butter 

Combine in a small bowl:
     2 tbsp cocoa powder
     4 tbsp flour
     4 tbsp sugar

Add to flour mixture:
     1 egg
     1/4 tsp vanilla (I forgot this step, and the cake was still tasty, but I think it would have benefited greatly from the addition)
     3 tbsp milk

Add the batter to the melted butter and stir well.

Cook the mug-o-batter in a microwave, 3 minutes for 1000 watts.  Dig in!


  1. I've used a microwaveable cake as a presentation here at my university!! I came up with one that doesn't use eggs!! Yours looks quick and simple as well!!
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

  2. Hi AJ,
    An eggless version sounds even better, since I always seem to run out of eggs just when I want to bake something!
    Love the look of that carrot cake on your blog– that's one of my absolute faves. YUM.

  3. oh boy! I love to make simple and fast desserts. I am SO going to try this recipe. THANKS for introducing me to the world of homemade cake made in the microwave :)

  4. Hi Lezly,
    Haha no problem! I was pretty psyched to discover it myself. And apparently there are all kinds of microwavable desserts out there– next on my list to try is creme brulee!

  5. personally, my favorite is the microwavable brownie. the first time i had it i was desperately hoping it would suck... because its just too risky that i am always 60 seconds from eating a brownie.

  6. ooooh recipe please! risky is my middle name, when it comes to dessert temptation.

  7. Peter from Amsterdam2 August 2010 at 13:56

    Awesome cake, so very fast, with a sort of self-icing thing going on (but that might be my microwave failing to zap hard enough) and quite tasty.

    I advise not eating it wearing a white shirt. D'oh!

  8. I WISH I'd gotten a self-icing top on mine! No fair. I now hate our microwave.

  9. Found your blog via Almost Bourdain. You have a great blog.

  10. Hi Gale,
    Thanks so much for stopping by, and for being kind enough to leave encouraging words for me in the comments section!
    I'm really just starting to get into the world of food blogging, and it's easy to get intimidated by the sea of established talent out there like Almost Bourdain and Joy the Baker, so every new comment just reminds me that people *are* reading (and I hope enjoying) my sugar-fueled rants.

  11. Thank you for this quick & sweet delight!


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