Thursday, February 5, 2009

Microwave Brownie in a Cup

When I'm perusing recipes on the Internet, I often see things which I can't make for one reason or another. Mainly, I run into ingredients which can't be had in Japan. Simpler recipes which require few exotic foods to perform their delicious alchemy are always more attractive, but most of them let me down. I've mentioned this before, but it bears saying again, most people lie about the results of their cooking when they post recipes. Often they leave out where the recipe falls short so they can just display their gorgeous food porn pictures (always taken about a millimeter away from the food at an angle no human would view the food from). I'm as much a fan of food porn as anyone, but I get annoyed at the accompanying recipes which more often than not let me down.

I ran across a recipe on Chow for a homemade microwave brownie in a cup and I was skeptical. I've seen cake mixes in Japan which you can whip up in a paper cup and zap in the microwave so the concept is not new. Unfortunately, the resulting cake is usually weird. There's a reason baked goods are usually baked rather than irradiated.

The recipe is super simple:
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil

  • 2 Tbs water

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • dash salt

  • 4 Tbs granulated sugar

  • 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 4 Tbs all purpose flour

You whip up the wet ingredients (I used a fork) then add in the dry and mix them until mixed then stick it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. I tried this for 60 (on high) to get the "molten" version which is still fudgie in the middle. Then I let it cool for a bit and ate it with a spoon while it was still warm.

And the result was delicious. It was surprisingly good for such little work and so few ingredients. I don't know how it'd fare later after cooling off, but it was very satisfying while warm. I'm guessing it'd be even more interesting with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche, but those aren't things I have around.

Ultimately, I'd wager that the kind of cocoa you use factors into how well this turns out because there are so few ingredients. I used Van Houten cocoa, but I'm guessing any cocoa which one favors would do just fine. The only potential "bad" in this will be the clean up after baking a brownie in an ungreased cup.


Anonymous said...

ahah I've had my recipes go splat, like my bagels I posted about, only one fabulous bagel came out but ... they tasted fab though.. I figured all that hard work in the kneading and what not-- I salvaged it and went for bagel chips.

I think it is a good idea to post the good and bad aspects of a recipe this way others can "caution" in certain areas and what not... I just joined a monthly group called Darin Bakers, a few of us gals her in Japan joined, perhaps it would be something you might enjoy as well? We could offer support for one another.. especially where to get certain ingredients.

Huge fan of food porn, and I am guilty of it.

Kelly said...

Looking at those food blogs makes me feel less than perfect. I've had a few failures but for the majority of my experimentalism with cooking i usually get it right. Thankfully! :)
Though i have posted cookies that turned out less than right on my blog before...haha :)

I've seen a similar thing as this made by Morinaga, cake in a cup or something, at the japanese grocer.
I never bought it because firstly it's about $5, and secondly, i wasn't sure if it would work.
I think i'll use your recipe on nights when we don't have anything around for dessert. :)


Orchid64 said...

GirlJapan: I wasn't thinking of people like you when I wrote that. I was thinking about sites that are linked to on places like FoodGawker or other food only blogs. I gave up on random recipes to a great extent (except for some trusted sites like Quick Indian Cooking) because so many recipes were boasted about but turned out badly.

I actually like it when people post and admit their failures because you learn something. Of course, I like it when they post successes, too, but so many people just talk about how great something is and post a picture. Sometimes, I can even see something which looks off in the picture (like weird texture in the cake or something).

I know one could say that I'm not a good cook and the failure is mine, but the truth is I'm pretty good.

Kelly: The cake I saw was for Pokemon and my husband bought it for his nephews a long time ago. They said it turned out pretty funky.

I usually conduct experiments by following a recipe to the letter at first, then introducing variation.

Thanks to both of you for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Orchid, I knew you were not talking about me. I knew you better than that, you'd tell me to my face. haha

I like that you are a tell-it-straight-kinda-gal. Just for a split second.. just a split second.. I thought.. hope that's not me, then I remembered I do show my failures too.. nope not me. (even my pudgy tummy-- damn those vintage jeans)!

Ah.. Food Gawker.. I've never visited their site.. going to check it out now = )

'badmoodguy' is mike said...

I have not seen them in a while, but I remember years back several manufacturers here in the states made microwave brownie and cake mixes that included everything ... even a little plastic pan. I remember they usually turned out ok, just the corners were hard and dried out.

I will have to try this one!

shar said...

Aloha From Hawaii :)

I just saw your post and wanted to share my microwave cake recipe with you. It uses any cake mix and I am sure you could use a brownie mix should you want to.

here is the recipe

1 cup cake mix
1 egg
2 tbl oil
1/2 cup milk

Mix and pour into container, be it a cup or better yet a silicon mold. Fill half full and zap for about 3 mins. The top will resemble a done pancake, with holes and dry to the touch surface. You can rezap it but check it before you do.

With one recipe I can do a two layer mini cake using a four inch silicon mold. So yummy and light.

Hana said...

Just made this recipe with my four-year-old son - it was great - he loved it!

Thanks for posting.