To try Heather's recipe for microwave chocolate cake, click here.
"RE: The 5-minute chocolate cake e-mail. How desperate are you?" asked the headline of a King Arthur Flour blog post. Though not a particularly polite question to ask a confirmed dessert addict, it's certainly a fair one. The King Arthur Flour blog may well be the best blog for home bakers on the Internet, and people who like messing around with flour tend to take a certain pleasure and pride in traditional recipes, and even recipe complexity. It's what separates us from midnight food-crammers—we consume carbs, we tell ourselves, for the process, not the piggery.
So readers of the Bakers' Banter blog, as it's called, aren't likely to take too kindly to microwave baking. Still, there are things in life worth sacrificing one's pride for, and chocolate cake, I'm convinced, is one of them. That's how I wound up being drawn into the rabbit hole of microwave cakedom. The King Arthur Flour heroes had taken it upon themselves to improve a substandard recipe from a chain e-mail, transforming a nearly inedible 5-minutes-in-a-mug microwave cake into something more palatable.
I decided to give it a go. Theirs was an eggless version involving cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.—all the usual suspects. Alas, as the bloggers themselves admitted, it wasn't that great; the vaguely molten texture was about right, but it tasted like DC tap water—certainly not worth the effort of the 11 ingredient measurements required. So I sighed, told myself the idea of microwave chocolate cake was a bit gross and slothful to begin with—and nevertheless promptly returned to the recipe when I got a nighttime dessert craving. A project formed: to make a real chocolate cake in the microwave, if it could be done.