It was more than 5 years ago when I tried my first Microwave Chocolate Cake. That cake was slightly spongy, but it was easy to make and delivered a warm chocolate cake for one in just about 3 minutes. Microwave cakes that are “baked” in mugs have remained popular, as the lure of a very fast chocolate cake is hard to resist. I mostly gave up on chocolate cakes baked in mugs, but when I saw that a recent issue of Cook’s Country (Oct/Nov 2013) featured them, I knew that I would have to give the recipe a try and see how it stacked up to other microwave cakes I’d tried.
The first thing I noticed about the recipe is that it was a little more labor intensive than most of the microwave mug cakes I’d tried in the past. Usually, they’re mixed up in the mug that you “bake” them in, but this recipe is put together a little more like a traditional cake batter because it uses melted chocolate to give it some extra richness. The batter is poured into mugs and microwaved on medium power – stopping once to stir the batter and ensure that the cake cooks evenly – then topped with small chunks of chocolate that turn into a “molten” chocolate center before the cooking is finished.
For the extra effort that goes into this batter, you get a cake that has a lot of intense chocolate flavor (especially if you use really dark chocolate) and isn’t too sweet. The baking method Cook’s Country used did improve on the texture of the original mug cake, since it was cooked evenly all the way through. But the cake still has the texture of a steamed cake for all that added richness. If you’re not familiar with steamed cakes, they are spongier than your average cake and they dry out quickly – and it’s not what you would typically expect to find in a molten chocolate cake that has been baked in an oven. Since these cakes are small, they start to dry out and become fairly firm once they’ve been out of the microwave for 5-10 minutes.
Sticking a piece of dark chocolate into the center of the cake gave it a molten center that helped to keep the cake moist, in addition to adding richness. I liked using milk chocolate in the center because it added a little extra sweetness into the cake and liquefied a little more thoroughly, saturating the cake. Dark chocolate will still work if you prefer that to milk chocolate, of course. I recommend serving these with whipped cream or ice cream, to balance out the cake. They must be served immediately after “baking” them. Don’t be tempted to turn them out onto a plate, as they look much prettier inside the mug than they do out of it!
Microwave Molten Chocolate Cake for Two
from Cook’s Country
4 tbsp butter
1 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2-oz chunks of milk chocolate
In a small bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs. Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well combined.
Divide batter evenly into two 11-oz coffee mugs.
Microwave on 50% power for 45 seconds. Stir, then microwave on 50% power for an additional 45 seconds. Insert one chunk of milk chocolate into each cake, then microwave on 50% power for 35-45 seconds, or until the cake looks set and slightly dry on top.
Allow to cool for 1 minute, then serve.