Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Better Mug Cake

Friday's pudding post has had me thinking about dessert, so I thought I'd share another dessert recipe with you while we're on the subject.

If you've been anywhere near Pinterest, StumbleUpon, or any of the hundreds of cooking blogs out there on the internet lately, chances are you've encountered the mug cake. As fads go, this is one of the ones that you either love with all your heart, or you hate.

Taking a cue from the multitude of recipes and comments I've read, there seem to be two main problems with the standard mug cake: too eggy, or too oily. Most recipes use a whole egg for one little mug cake, so I can see how that would be overpowering. Oil adds richness to the cake, but too much is not a good thing.

After experimenting quite a bit with the mug cake and the mug brownie, I think I've created a pretty good recipe. Maybe not the best, but, as the title claims, at least a better recipe than the standard one floating around.

My first attempt was based on a mug brownie recipe that left out the egg altogether, thereby solving one problem, and I further decided to eliminate the oil by replacing it with plain nonfat yogurt. The results were edible, but the cake was gummy and a little too tangy for my taste.

For my second attempt, I surmised that a completely nonfat mug brownie probably wasn't ever going to taste that great. So I used just a tablespoon of oil in the batter, and it was better but still suffered from the gumminess problem many people have experienced with these cakes. It really needed a little bit of "lift" to improve the texture.

The recipe that I'm giving you here is the third variation, no eggs and no oil involved. I used just a pinch of baking soda to make it lighter and fluffier without egg. I also swapped out the oil for something better...peanut butter! The (odd? weird? interesting?) thing about this cake is that you don't really taste the peanut butter, but it adds that element of fat that you need to keep it tasting like cake. Sometimes I play it up by adding a dollop of peanut butter on top.

Chocolate Mug Cake
Serves 1

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Dash vanilla
  • 4 tbsp flour (sometimes I sub instant oats for one or two tablespoons--the texture takes some getting used to, though)
  • Pinch of baking soda (really, just a pinch will do!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tbsp skim milk
  • Toppings (optional)

1.  Start by adding the peanut butter and vanilla to a 12-oz microwavable mug. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds until the peanut butter is melted.

Add the peanut butter...

...and get it nice and melty.

2.  Add the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa powder to the mug.

Dry ingredients next.

3.  Add 2 tbsp of milk and stir with a fork to combine, being sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the mug. Add more milk as needed until the mixture looks like cake batter.

Now is the time to indulge your cake batter
fantasies, without risk of salmonella.

4.  Place the mug in the microwave and cook on high for one minute. I always use a 12-ounce mug just in case, but this cake doesn't rise nearly as much as the ones that use egg in them.

Check the cake and continue to cook in 15-second intervals as needed, being careful not to overcook. Mine are usually done after a minute, although there's usually a small uncooked spot on the very top in the center. But since there's no egg in the batter, I don't worry about it!

Mug cakes are not the most photogenic food.

5.  Top the cake with a dollop of peanut butter or Nutella, sliced fruit, or whatever you like.

An attempted close-up of the texture.

My honest opinion: cake made in the microwave will never live up to "real" cake baked in the oven. That said, if you are going to make cake in the microwave, you don't have to settle for a gummy blob. Read recipes and comments, experiment, and see what happens.

So, what do you think? Have you tried mug cake? Do you have an even better recipe?

No comments:

Post a Comment