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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Chocolate Surprise Microwave Brownie Cake + Recipe!

Ooooh, guess what?! No recipe base link this time, as this was my first, and very own original recipe.

I shall concede that the recipe follows the basic rules and ratios of any cake, so originality is a bit of a loose concept here.

So it was a Friday night after a long week. I reserve one guilty pleasure, which is: Friday Nights Off. No work, no guilt, just unadulterated freedom. Obviously that means Netflix and junk food. Small problem. I don't have any junk food outlets in my local area; at best I can get some sushi, which is undoubtedly delicious, but doesn't hit That Spot.

I haven't baked in a while, and this is purely a case of 'the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak'. Like most people in my profession at this time of year, I am dog tired, weary, and somewhat in shock that I am still able to function.

I was craving something sweet and naughty, and really did not feel like going through the rigmarole of baking a huge batch of something or a big cake just to feel so guilty about not presenting it more or less complete at work* and not have any of it. I decided that this was the moment. Hell was about to Freeze Over.

I have a problem with microwaves. Yes, they are a convenient and cost effective way of cooking and heating, but I can't help but feel the heat is half-arsed. The heat seems to leave the food as quickly as it enters it, and I have an embedded impression that if the microwave is allowed to give the food a big zap for more substantial heating, it somewhat 'denatures' ingredients, changes the taste, and consequently, the end result. I tend to limit my infrequent use of microwaves to heating complete food dishes that contain the carbohydrates such as rice and noodles (yes, last night's dinner... if there was a dinner last night).

I also have a distinct memory of wandering into an unintended and ill-advised discussion about 'microwave cakes vs. oven cakes' with a class, and somehow upsetting a student. Sorry! My personal gripe with microwaves is mine, and mine alone.

I must admit that I have become more curious about developing recipes for microwave cakes since I started Pinterest-ing a couple of months ago, and after making emergency freezer cookies for a friend's birthday, I wanted to make her a few sachets of microwave cake mixture so she could simply snip a corner and squeeze it into a mug then bake it in the microwave.

My interest was further piqued after I found microwave cake mixture being sold in my local supermarket. This actually made me rather indignant. I feel that the spirit of the microwave cake is to use ingredients that you are quite likely to have knocking about, and whip up an individual portion of cake that (in my opinion) wouldn't taste quite right after being baked by a microwave, but the satisfaction it provided would far outweigh the work it required to make and clean up afterwards. I didn't check too closely, but I imagine, like ready boxed cake mixture, it would taste generic, without personality, and processed. I am being completely elitist here. I have never used ready made cake mixture. I have an unshakeable belief that it is not thrifty.

Back to the present. Such was my immediate need of something sinful, that I decided that I needed to step over to the dark side, and make myself a microwave mug cake. I had a few rogue ingredients cluttering the fridge that were left over from other bakes, and had no use, so decided to chuck them in there too.

Hubba hubba


This whole event was a double surprise (for me), as I was not only using the microwave, but making a chocolate cake too, which readers of my blog may have realised is not my favourite flavour.

Not the best picture, but it's all full of chocolate-y-ness
Anyway, although I could still taste the 'microwave' flavour on the cake, it was actually quite yummy, and hit the spot. Just don't compare it to an oven cake. It is a different animal, this microwave cake.

Cakey texture at the bottom
*Ok, ok, I do have a sample of batches just for Quality Control purposes, but have had a very small proportion of my own baking, sometimes not tasting recipes entirely. For some reason, I view eating it myself as selfish. Now I write it, I see how ridiculous that it. I made the stuff; I should enjoy it!

Here's the recipe! I don't imagine I will make the same one twice, so please feel free to use this as a base, and have fun with your ingredients!

Chocolate Surprise Microwave Brownie Cake

Time: less than 6 minutes
Yield: 1 serving in a microwave safe mug that can hold 350 ml/12 oz volume
Storage: the batter can be refrigerated for a day, the microwaved cookie can be covered in its mug and kept in the fridge for 2 days. Heat on low for a few seconds before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup self raising flour (plain is fine, just add 1/4 tsp of baking powder)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp cream (some or all can be substituted for milk or non-dairy alternative)
  • 2-4 tbsp milk (some or all can be substituted for water or non-dairy alternative)
  • 2 tbsp mild flavoured oil such as rapeseed (can be substituted with liquid margarine)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 piece chocolate treat (e.g. a Rolo)
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 tbsp chocolate chips + extra for topping (dark for vegan)
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 tbsp caramel + extra for topping, any variety. Can be substituted with peanut butter or dairy-free alternative for vegans
  • OPTIONAL: 3 tbsp maximum whipped cream/dairy-free alternative for topping (spray cream or similar is fine)

Method

  1.  Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl using a small whisk or fork to remove lumps.
  2. Add the oil and cream, and mix to combine.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of milk and mix. You want a soft dropping texture that takes 3-4 seconds to drop from a spoon. Add 1 tbsp of milk at a time until you reach this point.
  4. Add a couple of spoonfuls into a microwaveable heatproof mug, then drop your chocolate treat in.
  5. Add more mixture until you have spooned about half of it into your mug.
  6. Add your caramel and chocolate chips so that they are evenly spread over the surface of the mixture.
  7. Spoon the rest of the mixture into the mug
  8. Heat on Medium power for 30-45 seconds at a time until you reach the texture that you want, and being mindful that you must avoid burning the chocolate. Maximum 3 minutes in four intervals. I used a smaller mug on the High heat setting, so had to stop heating it after 2 30-second intervals, as it was about to overflow. The texture at the top was just firmer than batter, but it was baked with a more cake-y texture at the bottom. Be aware of this, to avoid over-heating.
  9. I whipped some cream in a small bowl and spooned it over the mug cake, drizzled some caramel and sprinkled some chocolate chips on top. This was purely personal; again, have fun with it!
  10. This is very hot, so let cool for a minute, and eat with caution!
Note: If you just want to 'get on with it', and make a simpler cake, mix this directly into your mug, dry ingredients followed by the wet ones, mix thoroughly so it's combined, then add any or all the optional ingredients in afterwards (ensuring the chocolate treat is towards the bottom if you are using it), and only adding the whipped cream if you want to!