A recipe for “cake in a mug” has been going the rounds of the cyber world. There are many variations of the recipe and I was intrigued by them. Obviously this was going to need some serious taste testing! The premise of this idea is that you can just mix up the batter in a mug and then microwave it and presto! Almost instant cake! Well, yes and no. I made one recipe that started with “scratch” ingredients. I greased my mug and nuked it despite my concern that there was no leavening in the recipe. I was right – I had an inedible mess. I took one taste and into the garbage it went. I’m not usually that picky with something that purports to be a dessert – but this was just awful! It was almost enough to make me abandon the project but I’m made of sterner stuff that that. I decided that if we were going to try to make an almost instant cake why was I even trying to make it from scratch. I went the cake mix and pudding mix route and whoo boy – junk food heaven! And easy too. I also decided that I didn’t want to risk breaking my mugs so I tried it in a Corning Ware Bowl. Easy to eat too! I’m going to make up bags of this and send them in a care package to my nieces and nephew in college. The directions that follow assume that a college student is following them.
Mix one box of any flavor cake mix with one small (4 serv.) size box of instant pudding (in a compatible flavor). Measure ½ cup of this mixture and put into sandwich size bags with 1 teaspoon Just Whites Egg powder (you can find it in the baking section of the supermarket – who knew?) If you are making this for yourself and not sending it off to a student in a dorm, you can eliminate the egg powder and use one egg white and only one T. of water when making the cake.
Put ⅓ cup powdered sugar in another zip lock bag. You can add some cocoa mix, tang, lemonade mix or other flavoring to the sugar if you want. Use more or less depending on taste and what the flavoring is. I used about 1 1/2 tsp. of Nestles Quik for the frosting in the pictured cake.
Instructions for the student:
Grease or oil a Corning Ware Bowl or other microwavable bowl. Empty the bag of cake mix into the bowl and add 2 T. of water and 1 T. of oil. Mix it up with a fork that you’ve “borrowed” from the cafeteria. (I know it’s done – I used to work in a college cafeteria, all kinds of things mysteriously disappeared). Maybe you can figure out how to get the oil from the cafeteria too – otherwise you might have to actually buy a small bottle of cooking oil. (I plan on including a small travel size bottle of oil and a Tablespoon measure with the care package). Anyway – once the lumps are out of the batter and it is smooth, put the bowl into the microwave. Nuke it for 1 minute on high if you have a high power microwave or up to 1 minute more if you have a low power one. It’ll take some experimenting to determine the right time. You don’t want the cake doughy in the middle but you don’t want rubber either!!
While the cake is in the microwave, add about ½ of the Tablespoon measure of water to the bag with the frosting in it. Close the bag and squeeze the bag until it’s mixed and free of lumps. Cut off a corner of the bag and frost your cake when it comes out of the microwave.
Wait a few minutes to eat your cake so that you don’t burn yourself. Ask me how I know this. Oh, and you don't have to be fancy and put it on a plate - you can eat it right out of the bowl!