Friday, February 15, 2013

Chocolate Cake Experiments - The Microwave Cake

So far this week I've answered the question, can you make a cake too small, as well as can you fry a cake like a pancake.  Today I'm looking into a baking method that I've seen and heard of a few times, but I've always had my doubts about how well it would work.  Today I'm examining the microwaved cake.
When I researched this idea, I found many recipes involve mixing the batter in your mug.  I, to be more neutral, decided that I would just take my classic and simple chocolate cake recipe (courtesy of my mother in law) pour it into a mug, and microwave it.  My biggest worry was that these recipes might have some kind of quick leavening agent or liquid that would make my cake a total failure in the microwave.  I was also worried because I didn't really know how much batter to put into the mug.

I decided to follow the cooking time of most of the recipes, about 4 minutes at 750 watts.  It seemed like a really long time in a microwave, but it also seemed like too short a time to bake a cake.  Many of the recipes that I found said not to worry if you see your cake popping out of your mug, like the photo above, but I was worried because I wasn't really following the recipe exactly and I only guest the quantity.  It did drip over the sides a bit, but as it turns out it wasn't too hard to clean up afterwards.
When all was said and done, the cake did settle down to the bottom of the mug.  I thought that the best first test I could perform would be the toothpick test.  It's the same thing I would do if I was baking a cake regularly, and it seemed like a good way to check to see if my cake would be a gooey mess when I tried to take it out of the mug.  The toothpick came out clean, so I decided that it would probably be OK to flip out of the mug.
When I flipped it out of the mug I was shocked... it worked.  I had a mug of cake, or one might even say I had a cup cake.  It seemed pretty solid all the way down, and when I broke it in half it was solid all the way through.  I could tell, when I broke it in half, that it was a little more rubbery than my other cakes I've made with this recipe, but considering it was out of a microwave, it was pretty good.  When I tasted it, I found it to be fairly dry, much dryer than this recipe normally is in the oven.

Most of the websites suggest mixing things like chocolate chips into the cake mix before you microwave it.  That would probably go really far towards making the batter much moister.  A layer or two of icing might also help out with that as well.  While I wouldn't make this cake for anybody for a special event, it is a really fun parlour trick, and it's really impressive to watch it pulsate in the microwave.


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