First, a disclaimer: I generally do not care for culinary gimmicks.
Many years ago, people were cooking fish in their dishwashers. Even if that sounds dumb -- and it was -- it was the thing to do at the time and produced a moist juicy product, they said.
I don't like fishy-smelling dishwashers. I was wary. I passed.
Then there were the people who cooked their dinners over the manifold on their vehicles while they were driving. Never could figure out exactly what a manifold was. I passed.
And there have been other trendy cooking ideas through the years that I stayed away from, including roasting a turkey in a brown paper grocery bag -- and no I'm not exactly sure what that was supposed to do. I avoided it.
A few unfortunates -- you know who you are -- bought into the idea and decided to cook the big bird just that way resulting in an oven fire. They called the fire department.
The kitchen ablaze on Thanksgiving morning?
Not a good thing.
I'm telling you all this because I'm a little embarrassed. Over the weekend I tried a culinary trick recipe e-mailed to me by good friend Neil O'Donnell, who writes a food column in Corning. He sent a recipe for Five Minute Chocolate Cake that he claimed was all over the Internet. (It was news to me.)
Not only can you create this cake in 5 minutes, you microwave it in a coffee mug. Yes, I said coffee mug.
Here's how: Put 4 tablespoons of flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of baking cocoa in a good-sized coffee mug and mix well, using, said Neil who has a way with words, "a stout fork."
Add one egg; mix thoroughly. Pour in 3 tablespoons of milk and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil; mix and add 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips -- you could leave out the chips, I guess, but I wouldn't because that's the good part. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Place in a 1,000-watt microwave and cook for just 3 minutes. The cake will raise during that time but then will deflate. Not to worry. Remove it from the microwave, cool for a few seconds and then tip it out on a plate. It will easily serve two.
I loved this cake. It was moist. It was dense. It could be served with vanilla ice cream, but that's not necessary. I will admit that I mixed the ingredients in a bowl and then poured them into the mug because it was easier, but that's the only change I made.
Is it the best chocolate dessert I ever ate? Probably not. It was not quite in the same league as, say, French Silk Pie or a Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Sauce. But so what?
This cake has other advantages. It's easy; it makes use of pantry ingredients; cleanup is
So you can have chocolate cake on demand, without any hard-to-spell chemical ingredients, at any hour of the day or night. 2 4/7 .
How good is that? I have seen the future and it works.