Cake in A Mug

Have you ever, just like that, out of the blue, craved brownies and ice cream? You’ve just done with an awesome home-cooked dinner. It’s raining outside. And you’re snug in bed, with your dog by your side, a book in your hand. And bam! That craving. And an internet connection at hand. A bunch of keywords. And an experiment. *grin*

A few months ago, my cousin in Bangalore had asked me for an easy/quick dessert recipe that involved chocolate. She’s not a cooking enthusiast. In fact, it’s more of a chore for her. And she needed to use up a slab of cooking chocolate she had lying around in her refrigerator. Why or how she had one is a completely different story, I’m guessing. And I preferred to not ask. I tried picking something she might enjoy and appreciate. We didn’t succeed in that knowledge information session. All she really had was that slab of chocolate. Any any suggestion I gave seemed to be rejected.

All that mild bitching done, at least one good thing came out of my wold search for a good instant-dessert recipe. This link at Not Quite Nigella.

And Friday night, that’s what came to my mind. I tried looking for “cake in a mug.” And the first link that came up was this one. It didn’t seem bad at all. So went ahead and made the cake. In a mug. In my microwave. And I let it cook for 3 minutes, like they suggested in the recipe. I heated it again for about 30 seconds, before my dad and I served it with vanilla ice cream, to the rest of the family (and the dog!).

The messiness is from the cake batter rising as it cooks.

Trial 1:
Result:
They thought it was delicious.
I thought it was a tad too sweet.
And when later, I added that I also thought it was a little hard and not spongy at all, they agreed.
My family! They won’t even tell me what’s wrong with my food, as long as it’s reasonably good, will they?

Anyway, my mum and I analysed the recipe after we were done with dessert.
I could have ‘baked’ it for about two and a half minutes only.
I could have used a little less egg. They last few bites of cake were very eggy. Or I just didn’t mix it well enough.
Added a little more flavouring – vanilla essence, probably.
Perhaps a pinch of baking powder for more fluffiness.

And then, I looked up some reviews, comments and more variations to the recipe. Most people had terrible reviews. They trashed this quick (basic) recipe left, right and center. Of course, not the blog post I referred to. That recipe has been used by several people on several blogs. I used one of them. As far as my opinion is concerned: For the 5 minutes that it took to make, the near-zero effort involved and the ready availability of all ingredients at home at absolutely any given time, the recipe was fabulous.

Of course, it needs tweaks. And some more online research led me to this recipe at instructables.com

It has most of the changes I would have liked to see it the recipe.

I decided to use it for a mango cake, instead.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons all purpose flour (maida)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons whisked egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
a splash vanilla or other flavoring – try peppermint or cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

And of course, a coffee mug.
Also, you can taste the cake batter and add some more sugar if you like.

Method:
1. Mix the dry ingredients in the mug.
2. Add the egg and the vanilla essence and begin to mix.
3. Now add in the milk and the oil to form the cake batter.
4. Microwave the mug for about 3 minutes until it stops rising and sets in the mug.
5. Turn the mug outside down and the cake slides out.

My tips on how to go about the recipe:
1. Set the microwave to cook the cake for one minute. Then for one more. And finally for the last thirty seconds or so. That way, you can monitor the cooking of the cake, without any of the complaints about an excessively rubbery cake.
2. About 40 seconds into the cooking process, the cake batter rises into a tall column and almost runs chances of overflowing onto your microwave plate. The moment you fear that happening, pause the cooking process and let the mass of cake batter settle down for a second or two. Resume cooking again.

A few other facts and figures that I thought were worth sharing:

Important conversions you should have at hand:

1 cup = 16 tablespoons
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
1 tablespoon = 15 ml = 0.5 oz

Self rising flour:
1 cup of self rising flour can be made as follows.
In a single (empty) cup measure, add a half teaspoon of salt. And one and a half teaspoons of baking powder. Add all purpose flour to the cup, to top.

1 cup self rising flour = 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + all purpose flour

Cake Flour:
1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup sifted bleached all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons corn flour
1/4 cup         = 3/16 cup                                  + 1/2 tbsp
4 tbsp           = 3 tbsp                                    + 1/2 tbsp

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