I love the wisdom of youth. Don't get me wrong, I'm also a devoted fan of wisdom earned through life and a myriad of experiences but I do particularly love those gems that get passed upwards. We can moan endlessly (and we sometimes do) about how much time our children are glued to their phones but one of the upsides is that they do pick up the tips and the hacks WAY faster than us old-school types. This particular nugget is not at all new to the world but these Gooey Chocolate Mug Cakes were introduced into our home repertoire early in the pandemic and have become a lifeline for lifting our spirits in difficult times. Basically it's a gooey chocolate cake, made in a mug and cooked in the microwave. Measure, stir, microwave - we are talking 5 minutes absolute maximum ...
My lovely daughter, Hella was wooed by these on social media and they have become her signature dish at home. They are indeed a 'hug in a mug', like no other dessert can manage, and what I especially love is that they have become her shorthand for, 'Hey, I can see you're struggling and I know I can't help with the big stuff but shall I make you a Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake?'
So here's a summary of how to make a Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake
- Find yourself a mug - nothing fancy is required. My favourite one is 350ml which allows space at the top for ice cream (essential for the full blown decadent experience).
- Measure the dry ingredients into the mug. Stir.
- Add the wet ingredients. Stir again.
- Zap in the microwave for somewhere around the 1 minute mark and 'ping' you're done.
- Top with ice cream and devour.
This is not fancy cooking, indeed, I would argue that these cakes are not 'lookers' but we are talking instant gratification here and when the whole thing can be made and consumed in 10 minutes, well, you'll hardly even register what it looks like. Especially once you have piled the ice cream on top. This is cosy food; this is self-care for the soul; this truly is a hug in a mug.
And why am I certain that you are going to be a raving fan of a mug cake?
- It's a true 'store cupboard ingredients' recipe and if there is anything that you've run out of, you will definitely find it in your handy neighbourhood shop
- There's hardly any washing up
- No special equipment required - although a microwave is, of course, essential
- Apart from measuring and stirring, no other skills are needed. Maybe willpower not to be eating these non-stop?
- It's a true spontaneous dessert and spontaneity ticks all the boxes for being the ultimate mood booster
- It's a cute dessert for sharing with your love
- It's easy to scale up and down depending on how much enthusiasm there is for dessert
- It's perfect for a reluctant cook
- Pairs well with a Netflix binge or just a single episode
- Planning to make a mug cake is ideal when you're not committed to the effort involved in baking a full-blown cake
- You can personalise it with a touch of instant coffee powder or a few chopped nuts or swap in white chocolate chips (or even those peanut butter chips) - but honestly, it stands up really well as it is.
What have I learned about these mug cakes that might be helpful to you?
There are three things that I've learned that I'd like to share -
- You will need to experiment to get the perfect cooking time. Firstly, this is because microwave models vary depending on their power (and their age - older machines are often much slower) and also you will have your own take on what 'perfectly cooked' looks like. We like a very gooey centre, which requires less cooking and our microwave's full power is 1200Watts. For us, 1 minute is perfect. The good thing is that warm chocolate cake, even if it's cooked slightly over or under, is really no hardship and therefore it's an enjoyable experimentation process!
- It may be obvious, but you need to cook each mug cake separately in the microwave. If you're making more than one, it works well to get them all ready and mixed in separate mugs and then go one-by-one into the microwave. Delegating the serving of the ice cream is a good idea.
- This is a rich cake (you may even want to share it between two) and even my chocoholic daughter recommends that sticking to vanilla ice cream is the best plan. I agree.
So here I give you an instant mood booster, a hug in a mug, a signature dish, a strategy to (easily) earn kitchen legend status. You'll be amazed at the power of these 5 words, 'Shall I make mug cakes?'…Print