I during my first few years away from home I would buy the tinned syrup sponge puddings from the shop (back when I could eat wheat) and my brother and I would share one after dinner when it was just the two of us living together. But my delight in microwavable sponge puddings started when as a child my mother would quickly whip up microwave syrup puddings to feed six of us after dinner sometimes for a treat. She followed a recipe that she found in a massive "Microwave Cookbook", that was released in the early nineties when people believed that the microwave would revolutionise cooking.
This book, which I still have, is marvelous: it instructs how to use the microwave to basically cook anything, from whole chickens to baked custards to boiled sugar sweets. It's really fascinating, but little did the authors know that the domestic microwave one day would only be used for heating up leftovers and making pop-in-the-bag popcorn.
But over the last few years the microwave in a mug cake has been coming back into fashion, which is a 20 year old concept. The idea is you mix the ingredients directly in the mug then bung it in the microwave for anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, depending on the recipe, and then eat what is usually a bland, chewy and overly sweet dry cake; I have never found a satisfying recipe.
Recently I've been experimenting with the vegan cake recipe that I use, and using it to make sponge-in-a-mug cakes, but I've been putting things in the bottom of the mug before adding the cake mixture: golden syrup, chocolate sauce, and jam for example. I cook them in my 800W microwave oven for 2 minutes 30 seconds, let it stand after cooking for 1 minute, and they nice and moist and fluffy, not dry and over-zapped.
Two things to bear in mind, though:
- The cake will rise a little out of the mug as the steam escapes from underneath, but once you take it out of the microwave it will sink back down again.
- The cake will look a little underdone when you take it out of the microwave, but as you let it stand outside after cooking it will finish cooking in its own heat. This is what keeps it moist.
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Refined sugar products
For one mug cake
- 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 millilitres) golden syrup, chocolate sauce, or jam
- 1½ ounces (40 grammes; 1/3 cup) spelt flour, or gluten free flour blend
- 1½ ounces (40 grammes; 3 tablespoons) white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 fluid ounce (30 millilitres; 2 tablespoons) sunflower oil. Alternatively, you can melt 1½ ounces of butter for extra flavour
- 2 fluid ounces (60 millilitres; 4 tablepsoons) warm water
- 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence
- Pour you desired topping in the bottom of the mug, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with a fork until well combined. Add in the oil, water, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Don't overmix: if you still see the off clump of flour it's fine.
- Pour the cake mixture into the mug carefully, being sure not to displace the syrup.
- Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes 30 seconds on 800W (or use this handy website to check for your time and wattage); once cooked, allow to stand for 1 minute.
- Remove from oven and eat while warm.
If you want to save on washing up, you could also just mix all the cake ingredients in the mug, cook it, then put the syrup on top.