Friday, March 30, 2012

the best chocolate mug cake. no seriously.

I have been collecting/hoarding "mug cake" recipes for years now and have tried a bazillion of them. Seriously. Years. I have folders full of them online and in real life. They seem like such a brilliant idea, except they are so often rubbery and disappointing. They almost always contain a whole egg which seems seriously problematic to me... I mean an entire batch of cupcakes has one or two eggs in it-- why would one small serving need a whole egg? It makes the cake way too spongy. However using an 1/16 of an egg isn't practical so I started looking specifically for egg-less mug cake recipes. I found one on a health blog of all places... and proceeded to disregard most of the proportions completely, increasing the fat and decreasing the sugar significantly. It was almost perfect, but still a little dry. Then I had a stroke of genius. I buried a spoonful of peanut butter in the batter before I cooked it. The peanut butter becomes molten with cooking and makes the cake super moist. Then I tried it with caramel sauce (mine was homemade but tj's has a nice salt caramel sauce that I've used as well) also awesome. Strawberry jam. Yum. If you wanted to be really crazy you could put a spoonful of nutella in there. Peanut butter is still my fav, but I like the option to change it up and experiment. Speaking of which. I most often make this cake with almond milk. It started because I was out of milk and it was my only option. (I make almond milk all the time- its so good) I'm not sure if it's my imagination or not, but I've convinced myself that the almond milk in this recipe tastes better than regular milk although it works fine with both. I've also tried buttermilk with didn't seem to alter the flavor at all so being as its more expensive I don't bother with. I've substituted brown sugar and maple for the white sugar with no noticeable effect, and frequently sub barley or whole wheat flour for the AP. (Often half and half, although a full swap works fine) A pinch of cinnamon is nice, I didn't find vanilla altered the flavor much. I've tried olive oil in place of the veggie and again I didn't think it was worth the expense. Don't leave the pinch of salt out it's key. I should also mention that this cake is small. It's more like half a mug. You can double it and I have, but I find this to be exactly the amount I want to eat when I come home from work late at night exhausted and in need of warm cake. Mmmm warm cake. This and a glass of red wine is pretty much the best pb& j ever. I always make it in my goofy piglet mug which is child sized. (No idea where it came from now that I think about it...) but it would also fill a ramekin nicely. If you double it remember to cook it a little longer. It's also not very sweet which I prefer, especially with the sweeter fillings, but feel free to increase the sugar to taste.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

2 tablespoons flour (I often use 1 T AP and 1 T barley flour)
2 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt
2 tablespoons milk (or almond milk, my fav.)
1 tablespoon oil

handful of mini chocolate chips

1 Tbs peanut butter (or caramel, jam, nutella, almond butter, etc)

In a small mug combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until no lumps remain. Stir in the milk and oil until smooth. Make sure to scrape your fork around the edges of the cup so you don't get pockets of dry flour. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop the peanut butter into the chocolate mix and push it down to submerge.
Bake in the microwave on high for 1 minute. You may need to add or subtract 5-10 seconds depending on your microwave, but don’t be tempted to overcook or it will be dry. It should still be moist on the bottom and will continue cooking as it sets. (In my microwave its 1:04 exactly.)