Baking is really something that needs to be done in an oven because no matter how many instructions give you optional microwave directions, the food is always going to turn out a better when it is cooked in an oven. Frozen dinners are a good example of this, as they’re always more tender, more crisp and just plain tastier when they’re cooked in the oven before serving. But the microwave isn’t all bad, you just need to know its limitations. So, when I heard that there was a recipe for a 5 minute chocolate cake out there that was made in the microwave, I had a general idea of what to expect before I even tried it.
A cake that is baked in the microwave will have almost the same texture as a steamed cake, moist and a bit chewy, and while microwaved cakes can be made much faster, they will also be a bit less tender than a steamed cake. The crisp crust that results from the caramelisation of sugar in the oven won’t be found on a microwaved cake. This cake was no exception: soft, warm and slightly chewy. The cake also tasted quite nice and had a good chocolate flavor – especially for something that took virtually no time to cook or to prepare.
I changed up the original recipe by using coffee in it instead of milk (Kahlua would be good, too), and I added a little bit of salt and vanilla, as well. Cake flour keeps the cake from getting tough during cooking, but both it an the cocoa powder need to be sifted to prevent lumps from forming. I’ll keep this on file in case I need a chocolate cake fix really, really fast – or to share with friends who have an aversion to making things that require turning the oven on – but it’s not going to replace an oven-baked cake for me any time soon.
Microwave Chocolate Cake for One
You can use any microwave safe mug for this. I prefer a larger mug (coffee-house style) because it is easier to mix the ingredients.
4 tbsp cake flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 large egg
3 tbsp strong coffee
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Sift together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a large coffee mug (or small bowl). Stir in egg, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla, mixing until smooth. If you are mixing inside a coffee mug, be sure to scrape the corners well.
Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Cake will puff up like a souffle and should appear to be “set” after 3 minutes. Cake will fall once removed from the microwave.
Serve in the mug, or turned out into a bowl, with a bit of ice cream or whipped cream.