Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Chocolate Fix

The other day I saw a tweet by The Next Food Network Star winner, Aarti Sequeira, about a 5 minute chocolate cake.  The recipe is from and sounded amazing.  I mean who wouldn't want a fantastic warm chocolaty dessert in just 5 minutes.  Unfortunately I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand when I saw the recipe or I would have been making it right away.

After picking up some chocolate chips on one trip to the grocery store and a new set of measuring spoons on a second trip to the grocery store, I finally had everything I needed to make this cake.  I decided to do so as a bedtime snack last night.  I was sorely disappointed with the result.  What came out of the microwave looked and smelled like a wonderful chocolate cake, however once that forkful of deliciousness hit my mouth it was a whole different story.  It was anything but delicious.  I couldn't fathom how something could smell so good and look exactly like a piece of cake (icing excluded) yet taste so horrible!

I couldn't stop thinking about it.  After all there had been a ton of raving comments about the recipe and I couldn't imagine people raving about the nasty stuff I had sitting in a cup on my counter.  So I started reading through them to see where I went wrong.  It seems almost everyone had their own take on this recipe, many people trying gluten free substitutes or just adding an array of other goodies to it.  After a few pages I found what I needed to know.  Experimentation was the key and altering a couple ingredients was all that was needed.

The most important part of getting this cake to turn out right is that everything must be mixed really well.  Although a coffee mug is perfect for "baking" this cake in the microwave, it is not the perfect vessel for mixing it.  And if you think about it, you don't mix a cake batter in the pan that you bake it in the oven in do you?  So I got a small mixing bowl out and started working.

Mix all of the dry ingredients, adding a pinch of baking soda, really well with a whisk in a bowl.  I used all purpose flour and regular granulated sugar but many commenters on the recipes page suggested that other types of flour and sugar worked just as well.  Then I added 1 egg, whisked, to the dry ingredients.  The recipe only calls for 2 Tbsp of the whisked egg, but since that's what I had used in my first attempt and the results were less than pleasing, I decided to see what happened when I used the whole egg.  And why waste part of a perfectly good egg anyway?  Once the egg is mixed in, add the milk and oil and stir well.  Then add your vanilla and chocolate chips.  I want to point out that you only need a little touch of vanilla.  If you add too much vanilla you could flambe your cake into a terrible mess in the microwave.  Vanilla extract contains alcohol and could catch fire!  When everything is all mixed in, pour the batter into a standard size coffee mug.

There was a lot of debate in the reviews on how long to microwave the cake.  In my initial attempt at this cake I let it go for just over 3 minutes.  I was using a larger coffee mug and couldn't see the cake rise (or fall) while it was in the microwave so I couldn't tell when it was actually done.  Using a standard size coffee mug, you will see the cake rise up over the top of the mug while it's cooking.  If it starts to fall, it's gone too long!  My second time making this cake, it was in the microwave a little over 2 minutes.  You can stop the microwave and check your cake at any time, and reviews claimed that it's better to pull it out too soon than let it overcook in the microwave.  After all it will continue to cook a little after you take it out of the microwave and let it cool a bit.

It's up to you whether or not you want to eat it straight out of the mug or turn it out onto a dish.  I had no problems getting it out of the mug, and this allows you to cut the cake and share it.  There's definitely plenty to do so!  I wish I would have taken a picture of it this time to share, but I couldn't wait to dig into it and neither could Gray.  I'm so glad that I was curious enough to try this again!

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