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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five-Minute "Coffee" Cake

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 By 4 comments

Baking has never been my strong suit. But I've found that I can teach science through cooking and baking. Not deep, world-changing science. Just the scientific principles a kindergartner might be able to grasp.

Emmie's two favorite foods are Crab Legs (which she calls "crappess tails," and always has) and Anything With Sugar.

So, seeing as how crab legs are boiled or grilled and then the science lesson is at an end, I've been trying a lot of baking. We talked about the melting point of objects and the strength of bonds when we made a recipe called "Rice Krispy Treat Without Rice Krispies But With Honey Nut Spins Instead Because Mommy Didn't Plan Ahead And She Only Buys Ghetto Cereal," and we talked about solutions and mixtures and how things dissolve by making "Totally Fake Lemonade."

Today, I saw a Facebook post from Susy Allen, and followed it to a blog. Somewhere on the blog was a recipe for 5-Minute Chocolate Cake.

"No freaking way," I thought. "But what a great chemistry lesson, if it works."

So Emmie and I gave it a shot. And it was awesome. It really was as easy as you can imagine. Except... I didn't have any cocoa or vanilla extract. So we substituted cinnamon and honey.

It totally freaking worked!

Five-Minute Chocolate Cake
(AKA, the Cake of Flavors Desperately Ganked from the Spice Cabinet)

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa (or cinnamon)
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract (or a tbsp of honey)
1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly before pouring in the milk and oil in. Keep mixing. Add the optional chocolate chips next, then and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Yay, cake batter! You need not go any further for a delicious and unhealthy snack, but raw egg apparently = salmonella lately, so I recommend seeing it through to the end.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for five minutes. Three was a little mooshy for us. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow it to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. It'll be a little spongey. But totally cake!

* Note: Check out the science kit in the photo's background. It's called "Tasty Science," and it is a big box of crazy fun experiments that don't feel like my high school chemistry classes because - hello, candy at the end! We highly recommend it, and bought it at Learning Express Toys, which Susy owns with her husband, Trey. And so we come full circle.

Tell us what flavor combination you come up with!


  1. I read the same blog today, and made the same cake! It was really yummy, but way too filling - I made two mugs for the three of us to eat, but one would have been more than enough, since none of us even finished half of ours... guess what my husband gets to eat when he gets home? ;)

  2. I substituted hot cocoa mix for the cocoa. It obviously didn't work. My son tried to cut his piece with a fork. It wouldn't cut, it just sprang back like a soft sponge. My son is 15 so he made a point of exaggerating the effort involved in trying to cut the cake. In the end, he didn't even taste it, he just walked away. I tasted it and it wasn't good.

  3. The look that Emerson is giving the camera is the look that Anna gives me when I suggest going into the kitchen for anything more than a drink.

    'Momma, should you be touching the oven?'

    Or yesterday when we were talking about our bucket lists (she calls it a wish list) and she said 'I want my momma to learn how to cook real food'

    Thanks Anna. You didn't get to be 4'2" and 70lbs eating fake food now did ya?

  4. Sarah, cooking is chemistry, man. It can be really hard. Don't let grandmothers with decades of experience tell ya different.