April 3, 2010

The 5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake In A Mug!

The title of this post says it all. Really! This is a chocolate cake that you can mix and cook in a mug with less than five minutes in the microwave. You can also eat it right out of the mug if you choose to, which means only a mug (and a whisk) and a spoon to wash up after eating.
I would like to forewarn you if you’re a bit of a chocolate snob (I am, a lot of the time), that if you are looking for a soft and spongy sort of chocolate cake that usually comes out of an oven, then this post is not for you. Surely you do not expect something of that sort within 5 minutes and with so little effort?

As you can see from the pictures, this cake is not all that great on the eyes either. I really tried to get a better picture of it, but this was the best I could do. Anyone have any ideas on how to make this brown mass of fudgy cake look appealing?
Baking a cake in an oven and in a microwave are really two very different things and it is too much to expect a cake made in a microwave oven to be like that baked in a conventional oven.

Yet think of a situation when you’re overcome with a craving for the comfort of a fudgy chocolate cake and you cannot be bothered to make one. There’s no one else to make one for you either. Or perhaps, you have unexpected guests and you want a quick chocolatey dessert.

Or just by chance you landed on the sets of Hell’s Kitchen and all you have is 5 minutes to make dessert! Just be prepared for Gordon Ramsay to take one look at your offering and chuck it into the bin! And if he’s feeling particularly nastier than usual, you could be out of his kitchen!!

I came across this cake when I was trawling the net for something else. I had never heard of a cake in a mug before. Apparently, some time back, a recipe for this cake was doing the rounds by e-mail. Whatever the reason, this is one mail which never reached my inbox.

This cake discovery brought back a conversation I had with one of my cousins the other day. She was telling me she didn’t see too many recipes on my blog, for cooking in the microwave. This happens to be true.
I use my microwave extensively but do not cook exclusively in it. I tend to do part of my everyday cooking in it but finish off the cooking on the stove, so those recipes don’t qualify for a “cooked in the microwave” tag.
I had promised my cousin I would remedy the lack of microwaved recipes on my blog and thought I would further investigate this cake in a mug.

I saw plenty of sites/ blogs with this cake which were all more or less using the same recipe. I also read a lot of opinions about the awfulness of this cake which made me think I ought to forget all about it. Then I saw this recipe and also this discussion thread.

Taking some of those opinions into consideration, I used a slightly adapted version of the original recipe. You can mix the ingredients in the individual mugs, but I prefer to mix them in bowls even though it means washing up an extra bowl or two. Mixing in the bowl makes it easier to whip up the batter well.

I would suggest using large microwave safe coffee mugs to make these cakes. The cake batter tends to bubble up while cooking, and could leave a mess on the mugs and in your microwave. Since the idea of making these cakes is expending minimum effort, I think a lot of cleaning up defeat the intended purpose.

The mugs I used here can contain about 250 ml of liquid. This size mugs are useful also because there’s room for some ice-cream if you want it with your cake.
Also do place the mug on a plate as insurance against a mess in the microwave.

This cake is not very sweet and so is good if served with ice-cream or sweetened whipped cream. If you would prefer a sweeter cake, please increase the sugar to your taste.


8 tbsp cake flour (not all purpose flour)*

4 tbsp granulated sugar

5 tbsp demerara (or brown) sugar

3 tbsp dark cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp pinch of salt

1 egg

2 tbsp strong coffee decoction

7 tbsp milk

6 tbsp oil

6 tbsp grated dark chocolate

1 tsp vanilla extract

About 2 tbsp more of grated dark chocolate

You will also need 4 microwave safe mugs.

* If you do not have cake flour you can make your own by adding 2 tbsp corn starch to 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour.


As I mentioned before, when I have to make more servings I find it easier to mix up the batter in a bowl.
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to mix. Add the grated chocolate to this and whisk again to mix well.
Put all the wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk very well to incorporate a bit of air. Now add to the dry ingredients and whisk well some more.

Divide the batter equally between four microwave safe mugs. Sprinkle the extra grated chocolate on the batter, equally among the four mugs. Cook the cakes, one mug at a time, for 2 minutes 20 seconds at 60% power. When done, the cakes should look slightly dry on the top.

This is the time it took for the cakes in my microwave. How long the cakes take to cook would depend upon the wattage of your oven. It should take anything from about 1 1/2 minutes. Check the time with the first cake and adjust as required.
It is important to cook the cakes longer at a lower power; otherwise the cakes will become rubbery in texture. Also remember the cakes will continue to cook after the microwave oven has switched off.

Serve these cakes warm with vanilla, strawberry, coffee or any other flavour of ice-cream which would pair well with chocolate. This recipe serves 4.

This chocolate cake in a mug is also my contribution to this month’s “This Book Makes Me Cook” club. The book chosen for this month was “Can You Keep A Secret?” by Sophie Kinsella.

A light hearted fiction about Emma Corrigan, who is scared of flying and is convinced that air turbulence means she is about to die. She spills out her innermost secrets to the stranger in the seat next to her in her moments of anxiety, only to have the stranger unexpectedly become a permanent fixture in her life.

I wasn’t really inspired by this book to cook anything, but there is a part in the book which mentions that Emma drops into juice bar every morning on the way to work to pick up her daily dose of a mango smoothie. She also tends to pick up a brownie from there, ever so often.

Since this cake in a mug has a rather brownie-like texture of fudginess, I thought it perfect for the book club submission.
A special thank you to Simran who made it possible for me to read that book. You can see what the other book club members have been inspired to cook this month, on her blog.


jesse said...

Okay, this is the perfect recipe for me =) They look sososoooo yummy!!! I think I'm just going to make one right this very second!

Dark as Salt said...

Interesting treat! Don't have microwave oven at home but here at my family's house we do :D Will try this one for sure! Thanks for sharing, I bet your kids love it too eheh

Sumi said...

definitly gonna try it out.Now that I dont have an oven thi sounds like a easy breezy way to satisfy my craving

Divya Kudua said...

I have heard so much about this 5-minute wonder but never tried it.I think I will have it with a dollop of ice-cream on top..just perfect!!

I do cook in the MW a lot too,in fact I started off with baking in the MW!!

Shabs.. said...

wow...i havent made in sometime...i love this stuff sinc eit is easy to prepare...but my recipe is way too far from urs....will try urs also....let me see how it goes....as u said, i too have it with something sweet like icecream or a glace or even ganache....

Curry Leaf said...

Loved the book and love the cake.I too prefer such cakes thgh had not made much these days.It looks moist and inviting and a must try.

Saswati said...

Loved the eating right out of the mug part....Aparna the mw cakes really turn out nice and spongy...thanks for sharing a chocolaty recipe:)

Joanne said...

Whoa this sounds awesome! I love that I could have my own personal cake without seconds.

Simran said...

I didn't like the 5 minute cake when I tried it last. But maybe its time to give it another try :)

Manggy said...

I guess using nicely printed microwaveable paper cups is a good way to pretty these up. I doubt Ramsay would poo-poo a recipe if it was good, though I'm not too keen on cleaning up the microwave either :( (maybe your microwave has a much higher wattage?)

Priya said...

this is so easy .. thanks for sharing :)

simply.food said...

This sort of chocolatey cake certainly fulfills that craving I also have arecipe slightly diss to this one and I make my cake in a large silicon cake mould instead of mug.It makes removing from it easier too.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

This so breaks my dessert "rules"! (the rule being if I really want say, cake, I have to be willing to go through the effort of making it from scratch. If I don't feel like it, I must not want it bad enough.) This allows me to make from scratch and have it in no time! How deliciously evil!

Raaga said...

I read this book and am hooked to Kinsella :) light hearted reading :)

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

This recipe is a keeper! So easy and yet looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

sra said...

I made an entire cake in the MW the other day and it came out like pudding. Yours at least has some texture to it by the looks of the first photo. It was v tasty, tho'.

Soma said...

This is the best. I have even made black forest with this MC cake.. the texture works out just right for soaking.. like a sponge cake.

Anonymous said...

Whipped cream would pretty this up! Whipped cream makes everything look divine. Maybe some chocolate shavings on top? Pretty as a picture!

jayasri said...

Hi thanks Aparna, for your lovely comments, I haven't done anything so creative as you!!, that one is a keeper!!, looks so delicious, I can imagine my kids eating ?? no licking it from their cups!, my list of making from your blog is growing!!, hey one more thing is that you with the camera, I am so happy to see you, A face to my Aparna ??, I always wanted to ask you that I want to see how you look, now I feel much more closer to you, my inspiration and mentor in baking!!, don't laugh!!

sayantani said...

thats a delicious easy breezy cake. looks lovely.

Suzana said...

Perfect dessert in a busy day! It really couldn't be easier, could it? I find literature very inspiring, specially if food is involved. ;)

Aparna said...

Alessio, when did you get as "Dark as Salt"? :)

So the MW club grows, Divya. :D

You could always try it again, Simran. Would only take 5 minutes of your time! ;)

MW paper cups is a great idea, Mark. No, I didn't have to clean up. :)
Ramsay would throw this one out for sure! LOL

Simply.food, a silicone cake mould is good too. Just have to adjust cooking time.

Tasty Eats At Home, Good dessert6 rules, those. :)

Sra, this one is a bit pudding-ish (fudgy). But you vcan make dry cake-ish ones in the MW too.

You're making me *blush*, Jayasri. :)

:D, Suzana.

Nags said...

This is dangerous stuff. it dessert gets that quick, i am in for trouble!

PJ said...

loved reading your take on the book, Aparna and the 5-min cake is perfect, surely something Emma would love to cook and eat herself :D

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I've read and heard so much about this cake. Never tried it though, becuase of the negative reviews! You could pretty it up with a strawberry on a dollop of whipped cream!!!