Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Food

January 20, 2014

Lee Ward: Keeping it small with microwave mug cakes: 1/21/14

ASHLAND — Author and cook Stacey J. Miller believes the image of microwave cooking is changing.

“I’m so excited people are doing this and it’s getting to be a trend,” the author of “101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes: Single-Serving Snacks in Less Than 10 Minutes” said.

“I used to feel guilty if I wanted to bake an apple in my microwave oven because there was a connotation of being lazy,” she said. “Now, I’m a lot less apologetic and I’m proud of making it. What’s wrong with using a microwave if it’s there?”

Like most computer users, Miller said she kept seeing the recipe for The Most Dangerous Chocolate Cake Recipe in the World, which was called so because it’s so easy to make, it makes having warm chocolate cake just 10 minutes away.

She said she had been craving a brownie but didn’t want to make a whole pan of brownies, so when she saw this recipe, she decided to try it and she became a believer in microwave mug cakes.

“Oh, my goodness! I couldn’t believe it. It was exactly what I was looking for,” Miller said of the recipe. “It was a single serving of chocolate heaven.”

However, she said she needed more and set out to create other flavors of microwave mug cake and soon bought the website microwavemugcakes.com, as she could foresee many mug creations.

Since then, she has had requests for flourless cakes, which led her to produce “101 Gluten-Free Mug Cakes.” She said she also has plans for a cookbook of casseroles or entrees made in a mug.

“It’s not a situation where you’ll never make another cake in the oven as long as you live. Sure you will,” she said. “But I just came in from helping my neighbor shovel me out of the snow. I’m tired. That is just about what I can do. I can choose any flavor I might want, and for me, that is really cool.”

Besides being quick, easy and offering a wide variety of flavors, Miller said microwave mug cakes minimize waste and are helpful for those watching their caloric intake.

“A single serving is such a great feeling,” she said. “It’s portion control and also it’s not wasteful.”

She said during her experiments, she learned the mug should not be more than half full so a microwave explosion and the inevitable messy cleanup can be avoided.

Cooks need only the basics to create a cake: flour, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, oil (any type), vanilla, baking powder.

“The variables are the things that are going to give it flavor, like prepared pudding, gelatin, yogurt, fruit juices, chocolate,” Miller said. “You can get really creative once you understand how it works and you can alter it to your liking.”

Miller said her favorite recipe is blueberry muffin.

“When I was growing up, we had a department store called Jordan Marsh’s and they had a bakery,” she said, recalling the blueberry muffins sold there. “If they didn’t have the best blueberry muffins on planet Earth, I don’t know who did. Anyone who loved you and went to Boston brought you home a blueberry muffin.”

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN

MICROWAVE MUG CAKE

1 egg

2 tablespoons mixed blueberry yogurt (with the fruit stirred in)

1 tablespoon oil

1⁄8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄8 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder (not prepared)

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Prepare mug by coating the inside lightly with cooking spray.

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl. Beat egg first with a spoon and mix in other liquid ingredients. Then add dry ingredients and mix until you’ve removed all the lumps.

Pour the batter into the mug (do not fill more than halfway) and smooth the top with a spoon. Thump mug firmly on the tabletop six times to remove excess air bubbles. Place mug on top of a microwavable small plate or saucer.

Bake for three or four minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the microwave mug cake and removing the toothpick. If the toothpick is dry, the MMC is done.

Wait 2 minutes, then run a butter knife along the inside of the mug, and tip the cake into plate. Position the mug cake so that the slightly rounded top is on top. Your microwave mug cake will now look like a slightly overgrown muffin.

TIP: Frost the whole Blueberry Muffin Microwave Mug Cake with blueberry pie filling, blueberry jelly or the rest of the blueberry yogurt, or split the MMC in half, and frost each half individually (in which case you’ll end up with two separate MMCs — or you can reassemble the frosted halves to create a layered MMC). Decorate, if you wish, with fresh or frozen blueberries.

CHOCOLATE AND 

BUTTERSCOTCH 

MICROWAVE MUG CAKE

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

1⁄8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄8 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon instant butterscotch pudding powder (not prepared)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

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