Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Apple Falls Far From The Tree

Or Chocolate Cake Made From Hot Cocoa Mix And Cooked In The Microwave Is NOT My Idea Of A Good Time...Or A Good Cake

A little background first: My mother was a superb knitter, sewer and crocheter (sp?), and I inherited none of that from her. Because she always did whatever had to be done in that arena, I concentrated on which she was also superb, but happy to cede some control.

My own 20-something daughter, living independently and far away, DOES cook when given the opportunity, and more importantly, the ingredients. But I suppose when a sweet itch comes, you scratch it with whatever you have handy. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I got this link from her for Microwaved Cocoa Mix Chocolate Cake in a coffee mug.

Anyway, microwaved cake in a mug is not the ONLY horrible idea here. What's REALLY horrible is the main ingredient - Hot Cocoa Mix. Gross. Why would you have that in the first place? All you need for hot cocoa is cocoa powder, sugar and milk. Surely that's not too challenging to have in any kitchen.

I looked around for alternate recipes. I found a perfectly serviceable one here. I even substituted, with some hesitation, oil for the butter, AND, of course, I cooked it in a coffee mug.

My daughter's "recipe" uses flour, hot chocolate mix, an egg, water and oil. Mine uses butter (or oil), sugar, an egg, vanilla, milk, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder - a difference of 3 measly ingredients.

Her recipe has the ravenous youngster - who else would make this? - mixing everything in the coffee mug. Ugh! I allowed myself to use a bowl and then pour everything into my well-Pam-ed coffee mug. Hers "baked" for 3 minutes; mine for 2 and a half minutes.

I happened to have some leftover ganache in the freezer from the President-Elect's cake, so I slathered on a bit. I probably should have waited until I unmolded it.

(The book in the picture is Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet, which is a fabulous book, but NOT the source of my recipe.)

I know the idea is to eat it straight from the cup, but I wanted to get a good look at it.

How was it? Well, at least, it didn't taste artificial. But it had a very odd texture, kind of like an English steamed pudding. If you WERE going to make it, which I don't necessarily recommend, I'd cut down on the baking time by about 15 seconds, so the inside was more fudgy.

The best part? That I actually got an email from my very busy daughter, even if it was for a poor excuse of a cake. The second best part? My ganache.

Note to Anonymous:

THIS is the cocoa mix I have in my pantry. It's about 8 years old and I'm still waiting for you to finish it.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that if anyone were to look in your pantry, they would find hot chocolate mix. Just saying.

Emily said...

Haha, I love that coffee mug.

I think it looks good, especially with the ganache slathered on top. And think of how quick and easy it was to make.

I confess, I've made something like this several times. Sometimes you need molten chocolate

Nikki said...

I do believe microwave chocolate cake is a new trend. I posted about some months ago *grin* The crew at Serious Eats twitted (on Twitter) about how we need to forget 5 minute microwave choc cake (five minutes, whoa...far too long) & make 5 minute microwavable pigs in a blanket. Well, I experimented that day & I think I got it down. There are some recipes for microwavable bread out there. I found one that is light & fluffy, reminiscent of puff pastry (I know!) Stick a hotdog in there & it's done. Add spicy honey mustard, and you're sitting pretty.

DebCarol said...

This all seems strangely familiar, right down to your steamed pudding description. And yet I don't remember ever making it .... unless it was in the way back machine when I was in girl scouts (but I don't think there were microwave ovens then). There - I've dated myself.

Tracy said...

Well, it looks good ...
I have hot cocoa mix because of my kids. Maybe I'll try this next time I'm desperate?

Sue said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Hi Em,
Yeah, cute mug, it was from a devoted child...(Those were the days.)

Yup, the ganache was the high point. Yours was probably a lot better than mine.

Say it isn't true, Nikki, about the chocolate cake. I use the microwave for all kinds of things, but for something that's supposed to be crispy? I'm not so sure.

Hi DC,
You are so right. It does sound like something kids would make at a girl scout meeting. How about camping? Maybe you cook it in a can and steam it in water...

Hi Tracy,
Looks can be deceiving, especially when it's covered with ganache.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I'm tempted to try this. I like to know I have a quick and easy cake recipe on hand if hte mood ever strikes. I know my husband would love it. He may be picky about the good food, but when it comes to junk food, he'll take anything sweet and not containing fruits he doens't like.

Jen said...

Hi Sue- cooking in the microwave rather than just reheating stuff seems to inspire a kind of fascination. After your description of the actual cake I wouldn't necessarily want to eat it, but I really am curious to cook something in the microwave that I so completely associate with the oven.

Lick My Spoon said...

haha god i wish i had this recipe in college.

Marty said...

I'm old school--I cook almost everything from scratch, appreciate good food, and am considered a better than average cook. That being said, I had a SERIOUS craving for cake one dark night and made a variation of this cuppy cake. I gotta say--steamed pudding texture and all, it hit the spot and I'll make it again, I'm sure!

Sue said...

Don’t do it. It’s a slippery slope. Don’t be drawn in by the supreme ease of making this “cake”.

If your husband needs a chocolate fix, then just melt some chocolate and coat something with it…a banana, an orange, strawberries…most fruits would be good.

Hi Jen,
Take a look at Barbara Kafka’s Microwave Gourmet. She has a really good risotto. I’m not kidding.

Probably the best thing I ever made in the microwave is her tomato purée. You cut a cross in the bottom of loads of plum tomatoes. Cook them in the microwave until soft. Then you put them through a food mill and cook them for ages in the microwave…at least 30 minutes. The result is the sweetest, most concentrated, wonderful tomato purée I’ve ever had.

Being in college or actually elementary school is the only excuse for making this recipe.

Hi Marty,
I read your comment quickly and I thought you said you had made a variation of this “crappy” cake and I was about to agree with you. I’d like to know what your variation was.

You know those cakes that separate into 2 layers when you bake them? There’s a lemon one and a chocolate one. (I think they’re both in the Joy of Cooking.) THAT would be cool if one could make a decent version of those, but probably the texture would be too steamed-pudding-like.

Bellini Valli said...

The great thing about this cake is that it would feed the chocoholic in me very quickly:D Also I have tagged you for an event over on my blog if you have the time to bake bread or the time at all:D

Sue said...

Thanks Val,
What a great cause. I'm perusing my bread recipes now.

Jen said...

Hi Sue-- I was absolutely dying for something chocolately while studying this week and remembered your post and decided to make the cake... I have to admit that my first go at it was a bit strange tasting but I fiddled with the recipe a bit on the next night and ended up with something I liked a lot more. You can check it out here if you'd like:

Sue said...

It looks fantastic. Obviously, necessity was the mother of invention in this case.