Wednesday, October 2, 2013

dorm room diy: the one-minute chocolate cake of promise

It all started with that microwave brownie mix. It caught me. It made me buy things like cocoa powder and flour and sugar, even though I'm a college student with no business buying those things. Why? Because I know that I'm smart and capable enough to make brownies without a mix. And also because Pinterest has five million recipes (exact statistic, folks) for brownies/chocolate mug cake/chocolate dessert/chocolateyness in the microwave. So of course, the microwave chocolate thing of choice had to be my first class project.

Assignment: The Microwave-Chocolate-Goodness Project 

this is a horrible picture of a delicious mug cake

I chose Chocolate-Covered Katie's One Minute Chocolate Cake. It had the benefits of not requiring fancy things like egg yolks or yogurt or butter or chocolate chips. It also looked like it would fit in the mugs that I have (which are fairly normal sized coffee cups, as opposed to the larger coffee cups that hold I think about two cups). Why is this important? Because I saw a lot of Buzzfeed articles about failed pins with the exact recipe of my dreams (oh you silly chocolate peanut butter mug cake with peanut butter pie mousse) that showed the cake overflowing the cup, making an enormous mess. Point of fact: I don't like cleaning microwaves. Smaller recipe it was. And for good reason--it rose quite a bit while cooking.

I mixed it up with few substitutions: I used dark cocoa powder, 'cos it's what I bought and 2.5 tablespoons of oil (because it was in the middle). Both, I think, good calls. My bad call came when I decided to microzap my cake for an extra 15 seconds because it looked a little underdone at 45 seconds. Dorm Room DIY tip of the the week: things will keep cooking after you take them out of the microwave. And in the case of Katie's cake, there's no eggs, so you could eat it raw if you wanted.  No need to nuke the bejeezers out of it. It still came out fairly moist, but I imagine it would have been better at optimum cooking time. A few days later I stopped at roughly 50 seconds, and though it had a gooey top, it was better in my humble opinion (fighting the initialisms!)

Just for kicks, I dropped dollops of peanut butter on top (read: scooped peanut butter off spoon with various fingers and shook finger like crazy until the peanut butter fell off) so that it melted and made a kind of ooey gooey peanut butter frosting. Totally worth it, folks. Adds a little salty, peanut buttery kick to the cake.

Grade: B+ for my cooking, A for the recipe. 

I'm taking off a few points for my choice of extra time, but I think the extra credit move of the peanut butter frosting gives me a few back. But the recipe really reads well. Plus, it doesn't require separating eggs or something complicated like that, which I like.

ignore my horrible camera skills. focus on the luscious melted peanut butter

Extra credit ideas: Want to take this to the next level? Katie's recipe is fairly simple, but it's a great base for more complicated microwave cooking ventures. I'd love to see a chocolate raspberry cake, with a center of raspberry jam (maybe add it to the center at 30 seconds?) or a salted caramel version (I'm thinking poke a few caramels into the center and then sprinkle extra salt on top) or a double chocolate cake with some chocolate chips or chocolate chunks stirred in. Super nummy, right?

Got any ideas for chocolate goodness of your own? Found/made a recipe to die for? Think that this is a load of hooey and chocolate baking should stay in the oven? I'd love to hear about it (though I politely beg to differ about the hooey; we can have a class discussion if you'd like)

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