Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cake in a Mug

This little (and I mean little) cake is a perfect dessert for one - or for two, if you just want a few nibbles. It's so simple to make, you can whip it up at the last second. Or at midnight. When no one's looking.

It cooks in three minutes. Seriously. Three minutes. Or, technically, I got the best results at 2 minutes, 45 seconds.

That's almost instant gratification.

It's a little fudgy rather that fluffy. Almost a brownie, but not as dense. It would be good with a scoop of ice cream on top, getting all melty from the heat of the cake. Geez, I'm making me hungry here.

These sorts of cakes are allegedly still quite good after they have cooled. I wouldn't know about that. Just eat it warm. You know that's what you want, anyway.

Let's talk about oil for a second, shall we?

There are four thing to consider when you're deciding which oil to use for which purpose - flavor, smoke point, health implications, and price. There's no single oil that's perfect for everything. Your favorite oil to use for dressing your salad or dipping your bread might not be the oil you want to fry chicken in.

You need to stock as many oils as you need for the way you cook, but not so many that they'll go rancid before you get around to using them. I usually keep one oil on hand that's got a mild flavor and high smoke point. I can use that same oil for high-heat cooking, and for recipes where I don't want the oil to impart a distinct flavor.

An extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil isn't what you'd use for high-heat cooking since it has a lower smoke point than you'd need. But it has two things going for it - health benefits and flavor (if it's the flavor you happen to be looking for.) You can use it for cooking at lower temperatures, or for uncooked recipes, or as a finishing oil. And price - well, that depends on the brand and your budget.

The Mission variety spring harvest oil from Sciabaca has a mild, almost buttery flavor that makes it appropriate for dishes where you don't want the super-assertive olive flavor. And it's got all the health benefits associated with olive oil. So I used it in this cake. A more assertive extra-virgin oil would have been interesting, too, with the flavor of the oil playing off the chocolate.

Maybe next time.

I received this oil as part of 37Cooks from a company called Nick Sciabica.& Sons.

Chocolate Cake in a Mug
Adapted from 10 Fun Things To Do With Your Microwave by Instructables Authors

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons Sciabica Mission Variety Spring Harvest olive oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons chocolate chips

Put the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa into a coffee mug and stir it around to break up any lumps. Add the milk, oil, and extracts. Stir it around so you have smooth batter. Add the chocolate chips and stir them in.

Now comes the fun part. Put it in the microwave. Cook on high for about 3 minutes. You might need to make a few of these before you get the timing perfect. I think my microwave is 1000 watts (but I could be wrong) and it was supposed to take 3 minutes, but I thought it was a little too dry and overdone. 2 minutes, 45 seconds was perfect.
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