Microwave mug brownie and cake

I’ve made microwave mug cake a fair number of times since my friend introduced me to it at uni last year – it’s dead easy and perfect student food for when you really can’t be bothered to wait for the oven (yep, I’m that lazy sometimes!). I’d never tried microwave brownie until last night, but it was sooooo goooood, easier than the cake and (whisper it) maybe even nicer… The brownie doesn’t look like much (and I don’t even have a photo of the cake), but that is no reflection on the taste!

Mug brownie (recipe adapted from here)

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This makes a decent-sized brownie for one, although it is half of the original recipe which must be massive! Cook it for less time if you like it gooey, more if you like it more cooked!

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 scant tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp water

– Mix ingredients in a mug.

– Microwave for approx. 45 seconds.

– That’s it! I put some ice-cream on top for extra yum!

 

Mug cake

This makes a cake big enough for two, but it’s tricky to halve because of the egg, so make it with a friend! You can adapt it in a million ways – the recipe here is for plain or chocolate, but we’ve also added mashed banana, or a spoonful of nutella, and everything seems to work!

6 tbsp flour (plain or self-raising) (or 5 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp cocoa, for chocolate cake)

4 tbsp sugar

1 egg

3 tbsp milk

3 tbsp oil

– Mix the dry ingredients in a reasonably large mug.

– Add the egg and mix, then add milk and oil and mix some more.

– Microwave for approx. 3 minutes

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Chocolate and red wine cake

So I’m not sure why we decided to make an alcoholic cake, but somehow we did (and are now left with most of a bottle of nasty red wine, but it tastes fine in the cake!). Initially we were planning on cupcakes, but came across this recipe on smittenkitchen.com and had most of the ingredients already (plus it didn’t call for icing sugar, which doesn’t seem to be available here). It turned out really well – rich and dark, with a great chewy crust, wine-y, chocolate-y and cinnamon-y in equal parts. We ate it warm with ice-cream, and then had some more cold. Also with ice-cream…

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Ingredients:

85g (6 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown granulated sugar (original calls for a mix of dark brown and white granulated, but this was all we could get; it worked fine)

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup red wine (cheap is fine, but you will be left with the rest of the bottle)

1 cup + 1 tbsp plain flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon

 

– Preheat oven to 160c and grease and line a 9-inch cake tine.

– Beat the butter and then add the sugar and cream together. The combination of granulated sugar + doing it by hand meant ours didn’t cream very well and the cake was a bit speckley, but it didn’t seem to affect the taste!

– Beat in the eggs and then the wine.

– Sift over the flour, baking powder, cocoa and cinnamon and mix well.

– Pour into tin and bake for around 45 minutes (the original says 25-30 but ours was nowhere near done by then).

– Eat hot or cold, with ice-cream (or see the original recipe page for a marscapone-cream that we couldn’t face beating by hand).

Grandma’s chocolate cake!

A couple of weeks ago we visited our grandparents, and while we were there we made this cake with my grandma, which is the same one she often makes when we visit. She’s a fabulous cook and often greets us with baked goods when we arrive, and this is one of our favourites: it’s chocolate cake (from a Marguerite Patten recipe in a 1970s recipe book!) filled with marzipan and iced with chocolate buttercream. In 80-something years of baking this is the best recipe she’s found, which is a pretty high recommendation! The marzipan filling isn’t in the recipe, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across marzipan in a chocolate cake anywhere else – it’s apparently the way her mother used to make chocolate cake, so I suppose it’s something of a family tradition!

Ingredients:

4oz margarine (110 g)

4oz sugar (caster/granulated) (110g)

1 tablespoon golden syrup, measured carefully because too much will make the cake sink in the middle

A few drops of vanilla essence

5oz self-raising flour (140g)

1oz cocoa (or 1 1/2 oz chocolate powder) (30g)

2 eggs

A little milk

– Preheat oven to 190c and grease and line a 7-inch cake tin.

– Cream together the margarine, sugar, vanilla essence and syrup.

– In separate bowls, sieve together the dry ingredients, and beat the eggs.

– Add the eggs and the flour mixture alternately to the creamed mixture, beating them in thoroughly.

– Add enough milk to make the mixture soft.

– Bake for 30 minutes (the original recipe says 1 and a quarter hours, but it would certainly have burnt, and probably caught fire, by then!)

To fill and ice:

200g marzipan

2-3 tbsp jam (strawberry or raspberry)

50g butter

200g icing sugar, sifted

1 dessertspoon cocoa mixed with a little boiling water (as little as possible)

– When the cake is cool, cut it in half horizontally.

– Roll out the marzipan into a circle the same size as the cake.

– Spread a thick layer of jam onto one half, then place the marzipan on top. Spread a little jam onto the bottom of the other half (so it sticks) and place on top of the marzipan.

– Make the buttercream icing by beating the butter and cocoa with a little icing sugar, gradually adding icing sugar until you have a thick icing. When I asked grandma how she made the icing, she said ‘well you just make buttercream’, so the quantities I’ve given are what I ended up using (the trick of dissolving cocoa in water is hers, though, and makes the icing runnier which is why it might look like a lot of icing sugar!)

– Ice the top and sides of the cake.

While we were staying with them, I also found grandma’s early edition BeRo book (which I wrote about here). I’m not sure exactly when it’s from, but there’s probably a fair chance it’s older than my mum, and it’s definitely well used: