RECIPE: Healthier, Gooier Chocolate Cake in a Mug
Recently, I saw a friend of mine post a picture of a her chocolate cake in a mug next to a book and a cup of tea on her Facebook wall. It looked perfect and cozy, and I could not believe it took only 3 minutes and cooked right in the mug. But I filed the idea away in the back of my brain, thinking that one future night when I am alone, after my daughter is asleep and maybe my husband is having his "guys night" out and I am cozy with my cat in my lap watching some Merchant Ivory period flick with a box of Kleenex, I can make myself a little mug of this chocolate-naughtiness.
Well, the need to make this was not quite as "Calgon take me away!" as all that. In fact, it was Friday night, our night we allow our daughter dessert. And she again asks me (at 8 p.m., mind you) for red velvet cupcakes. Well, that was going to need extra artillery, buttermilk (which I was lacking) and a few more hours (lacking as well). So, I remembered (and suggested) the cake-in-a-mug post, and searched the web for a recipe-of which there are many. I made the first one I came across, and it was super easy. My daughter was fascinated by how the cake puffs up like a volcano while its twirling around in the microwave.
But here's the thing; my daughter ate it and she said she liked it enough, but I took one bite and was very unimpressed. It had the texture of rubber and was way dry. And considering how much oil and sugar was in it, I was very surprised at how lackluster it was. So, I played with the recipe today, and I made it gooier and healthier all at the same time. I cut back on the sugar and oil, using other ways to get moisture and denseness to the cake. I also used whole wheat flour, and I also cut back on cooking time. I used butter melted with chocolate chips to add a richer flavor and texture versus the typical cocoa powder. I also have thoughts on how to make some steps even more healthy, if you want. But I will admit, if you are going to fulfill your craving for a chocolate treat all for yourself to enjoy during a girlie flick, you may not want to go too healthy. I'm just say'n.
Healthier, Gooier Chocolate Cake in a Mug
1 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. light sour cream (even healthier? use applesauce!)
3 Tbsp. low-fat milk (even healthier? use coffee!)
1 egg (even healthier? use egg substitute!)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
dash of salt (optional)
1 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips (optional)
3 Tbsp. sugar (even healthier? use honey or sugar substitute equivalent)
4 Tbsp. whole wheat flour (you can use regular flour if you want)
In a heavy somewhat wider mug (16-18 oz or so), mix the butter with the chocolate chips. Melt on half power in your microwave for 30 seconds. Mix until smooth and creamy with a fork. Add the sour cream and milk, mix with a fork until well combined. Add the egg and with your fork, whisk vigorously until creamy and fluffy. Add the extracts and mix. Now, add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Now the final step, add the flour. Mix just until combined and you don't see flour dust any longer. Don't overdo this part. (Gluten in the flour gets tough if overworked, and you don't want a rubber tire to eat.) Now I was making this final experiment for my daughter (I felt I owed her a better one due to the rubbery one I made her Friday night) so I added a small amount of mini chocolate chips and folded them into the batter at this time. I would opt out of this step if I wanted to keep the cake healthier.
Cook on half power or just a hair over [I cooked mine at power of 6 (out of 100)] for 2:30 minutes. Depending on your microwave, you may need to go to 3 minutes. I would not go much longer than that. The cake will puff up and go down. Let it sit in the microwave for 30 more seconds before taking it out to settle it. If there are small sections that are still slightly gooey or wet, that's OK. It makes it all the better and juicier. You can eat it right out of the mug or invert the cake out and into a bowl. Then break it up with spoon, and top it with light cool whip and berries for something extra special.
Now say "Chocolate take me away!" Get some fluffy slippers on, a blanket, and go watch something like A Room with a View or Steel Magnolias. Steel Magnolias needs a box of Kleenex, fyi.