Friday, 9 December 2011

Couldn't Find the Cocoa: Microwave Oven Day 2012

I remember waking up one Sunday morning and catching an episode of "The Hungry Girl" on the Food Network. Admittedly, I'm not much into focusing my food in a health-conscious way, but one recipe as part of Lisa Lillien's chocolate-focused episodes caught my attention. Similar to Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This! which sits as part of my library collection, Lisa presents healthy, guilt-free alternatives to dishes you'd otherwise crave but try to resist. The recipe I'm specifically referring to is "Mississippi Mug Pie" not because of the health component, but because of the use of hot cocoa mix as part of the recipe. All this being said, in celebration of Microwave Oven Day on Tuesday, given the opportunity to try a microwaved dessert, and because I (thought I) couldn't find my regular baking cocoa (which I naturally found a little too late), I successfully made a mint hot cocoa microwave oven cake. But before I get to the cake itself, I would like to point out that I thought it wise to try out the recipe beforehand and good thing, too!

Unsurprisingly, most microwave cake recipes are cocoa-based, such as this one, but as I was under the impression I didn't have any, I sought out ones that used hot cocoa mixes. For my first try at microwaved cake, I built a recipe based on these recipes (1 and 2) and erred more on the latter one, combining in a mug 9 tbsp (or 0.5625 c; check out this conversion chart) sifted hot cocoa mix (this time around, I went with mocha hot cocoa), 4 tbsp (.25 c) all-purpose flour, 1 large egg (beaten) and 3 tbsp oil. With a fairly consistent microwave time of three minutes, I microwaved the cake batter in the mug for three minutes.

The result was a poorly accomplished science experiment, with the cake smelling burned, tasting okay for the first 30 seconds and then rather quickly drying into a solid mass. Perhaps it's because I didn't add any additional liquid (in the former recipe this would be water, the latter includes milk) or because I inevitably microwaved it for too long, but in the end I decided to alter the recipe and cooking time.

Since I had anticipated making a larger cake, I took another risk and doubled the batter, this time changing the flavour profile to mint hot cocoa. I prepared the dry ingredients in one container--1 c + a touch of mint hot cocoa mix and 1/2 c all-purpose flour, as well as some leftover chocolate chips and chunks--and brought to work 2 large eggs and 6 tbsp canola oil. At work, I combined all of these ingredients together and added 6 tbsp water; eventually, it actually resembled a silky cake-like batter, as opposed to a denser brownie-like batter.

I then got the cake into the microwave and first cooked it for 3 min 30 sec; the cake started to rise, but definitely was no near finished cooking. In 30-45 sec increments, I continued to constantly cook and check on the cake, eventually settling on a finished product that clocked in at 7 min 17 sec. Surprisingly moist and delicious, this is actually one recipe I'd be willing to prepare in the microwave again. For the entire album, click here.

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