Mug cakes: dessert in less than 5 minutes

These tiny chocolatey cakes are portion-sized desserts made in the microwave and ready in less than 5 minutes. Tops. 

Devon Carlson/CS Monitor
Dust the cake with a bit of confectioner's sugar for style points.

Have you ever wanted to have cake, but realized that most of the ones in the grocery store are "Toy Story" themed and meant for a 6-year-old’s birthday party that serves 24? On top of that, usually the store is at least a block away, if you’re lucky.

Well, if you’re like me, you’ve run into this very specific problem. In moments of slight desperation, I’ve found myself searching endlessly online, trying to find recipes for “miniature cakes.” But all the recipes seem to involve excessive amounts of baking time, cooling time, frosting time, etc... All I want is to have a single serving of cake with minimal effort.

Enter the mug cake. Trust me, I was skeptical at first, too. And to be fair I’ve gone through plenty of bad recipes searching for an end result that didn't leave me trying to convince myself that it was delicious. Many of recipe tests produced “cakes” that are dense, chewy, and utterly unlike the light, airy cake that I needed them to be.

Then I found a recipe with just four ingredients. Not to mention it was flourless. The skepticism was at its peak. I was so convinced I wouldn't have any success with the recipe, that I nearly didn’t try it. But my love of chocolate lava cake lead me on.

So I mixed together the egg, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar, and set the miniature mug mixture in the microwave. Fifty seconds later I took it out and threw some chocolate chips on it, because why not add more chocolate? The chocolate chips melted over the gooey chocolate cake, creating the perfect finish. I dug in and was shocked. This was actually really good! And even better, unlike most of the recipes which called for an excessive amount of oil, this called for no added fat at all. I might have also dropped a teaspoon of Nutella in the center before I threw it into the microwave – highly recommended.

Added bonus: This is a great dessert for kids to make, too. The mixing bowl doubles as the serving dish, and there are only four ingredients. Plus the whole cake is complete from start to finish in less than 5 minutes. So next time you have a midnight chocolate craving, or your child wants to make dessert on his or her own, give this recipe a try.

Chocolate lava mug cake 

1/4 cup powder powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
1 egg 

1. Crack the egg into the mug, and whisk with a fork.

2. Add the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder to the mug with the egg.

3. Whisk three ingredients together until the batter is completely smooth and there are no lumps of sugar.

4. Put the mug with the batter into the microwave and cook for 55 seconds.  

5. Take the mug out of the microwave (careful-it might be hot) and put the chocolate chips on top.

6. Wait until the chocolate chips have melted to eat the cake.

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