A cake microwaved in a mug? I was highly skeptical, too. But then I suddenly remembered that I’m a working—and, let’s be frank, harried—mother who loves sweets, with a husband who loves sweets, and a daughter who loves sweets, so why on earth wouldn’t I try this 5-minute snack phenomenon that seems to have swept the nation (or at least college campuses)? I couldn’t think of a good reason, either.
So, using a recipe from Leslie Bilderback’s Mug Cakes, I made a mug cake last week. Then another one, the next night. And then another one, the third. It turns out these mug cakes are in fact ridiculously easy. (I’m a grown woman, but I still think it’s just so very cool that you can throw in a couple of tablespoons of milk, sugar, flour, butter, egg, and a few other ingredients; stir it all up; pop the batter into the microwave; and—whoop, there it is, out comes a cake! Amazing.) And, the best surprise, Bilderback’s mug cakes are actually ridiculously satisfying. My family and I made loud clanking noises with our forks as we fought to scrape up the last delicious cake bits in our shared two mugs.
So, while I’m not ready to stop baking the old-fashioned way any time soon, I’m tickled to have come around to this very fast and very fun solution to my family’s late-night snack cravings.
RED VELVET MUG CAKE
Makes 2 mug cakes
1 large egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup self-rising flour Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cider, white, white wine, or rice vinegar
In a large mug, whisk together the egg and oil with a fork. Stir in the food coloring, buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar. Add the cocoa, flour, salt, and vinegar. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes each until risen and firm. Topping Ideas: Cream cheese frosting, Marshmallow Fluff, whipped cream, fresh berries, red sugar sprinkles, candied pecans, or chocolate shavings. Variation: Blue Velvet: You never know when you may need to make a blue cake. It’s easily done by replacing cheap red liquid food coloring with cheap blue liquid food coloring. For any other cake color, you’ll want to omit the cocoa powder, as it will give all other food colors a tinge of brown. If you make another color, replace the cocoa powder with an equal amount of flour.