Cook's Country (November 2013)
Back when we first wrote about Microwave Chocolate Cake, we we nearly apologetic for even introducing it to you.
Chocolate cake, made from scratch and ready to eat in less than 5 minutes? It's like a wonderful gift you're not sure you can trust to have in your house.
We were equal parts ecstatic and terrified of that recipe. We do not need much of an excuse to treat ourselves. And in the two years since, we've made the cakes a handful of times whenever we've had the ingredients on hand.
That recipe, though, is "good enough." Given how quickly you can go from zero to chocolate cake, we were willing to let go the fact that the cake could be spongy, and dry, and sometimes a bit chewy. It was not great, but for a cake you make in your microwave in a few minutes? Like we said: good enough.
Enter America's Test Kitchen, who this month offers a serious upgrade on the Coffee Cup Microwave Chocolate Cake.
And it's an upgrade that works flawlessly.
Here's what they did.
First, they have you stir the cake at intervals while it's microwaved. This helps the batter cook evenly throughout the mug.
Second, towards the end of the process, you slide two pieces of chocolate into each cup, so that it produces "molten" cake and keeps the batter from drying out.
These things, combined, solve for the problems of the first microwave chocolate recipe we featured, where the consistency can sometimes be spongy.
Here, the texture of the cake is, well, like a cake. And the "molten" center helps cover for any residual texture issues.
It's genius. We wouldn't expect any less from America's Test Kitchen.
Now if you'll excuse us, we need a dose of Monday Morning Chocolate Cake. Be back in 5 minutes.
Note from America's Test Kitchen: We developed this recipe in a full-size, 1200-watt microwave. If you're using a compact microwave with 800 watts or fewer, increase the cooking time to 90 seconds for each interval. For either size microwave, reset to 50 percent power at each state of cooking. Use a mug that holds at least 11 ounces, or the batter will overflow. The bittersweet chocolate is added at two points.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus 1 ounce broken into 4 equal pieces
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. Microwave butter and chopped chocolate in large bowl, stirring often, until melted, about 1 minute. Whisk sugar, eggs, cocoa, vanilla and salt into chocolate mixture until smooth. In separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Whisk flour mixture into chocolate mixture until combined. Divide batter evenly between 2 (11-ounce) coffee mugs.
2. Place mugs on opposite sides of microwave turntable. Microwave at 50 percent power for 45 seconds. Stir batter and microwave at 50 percent power for 45 seconds (batter will rise to just below rim of mug). Press 2 chocolate pieces into center of each cake until chocolate is flush with top of cake. Microwave at 50 percent power for 35 seconds (cake should be slightly wet around edges of mug and somewhat drier toward center). Let cake rest for 2 minutes. Serve.