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
4 Tbs granulated sugar
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbs all purpose flour
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.