Since making the transition from hot to cold coffee a little over a month ago, I’ve really been missing my mugs. I’ve tried using a mug as a vessel for cold water—but can’t shake feeling like I’m 22, and at a house party well past the point of clean glassware. Until recently, I thought I’d tried every way to reintroduce mugs back into my life, when I remembered the hottest food trend of 2014: mug cakes.
If you Sleeping Beauty’d your way through 2014 mug cakes, unlike regular cakes, are cooked inside a mug in your microwave. There are literally thousands of recipes for mug desserts (and soups, and lasagnas, and pizzas) on the internet, but I managed to narrow it down to three I was excited to try.
I decided to test each recipe for three things:
- Can’t Fuck It Up-Ness. I am bad at baking. Cooking? Excellent! Cocktail making? Sufficient? But baking? Bad. Which is why these recipes need to be easy peasy.
- The Yum. Opposite of the dating phenomenon, The Ick, meeting this criteria will mean that I am instantly satisfied by, and attracted to, the deliciousness of this recipe.
- Fancy Factor. Each recipe should have a little somethin’ somethin’ that takes it out of the Pinterest Bad Place and into a food realm I’d be willing to frequent and even invite friends to.
Below, you’ll find my reviews of three sweet mug recipes, tried and tested inside the brand spankin’ new range of Man Repeller mugs.
Snickerdoodle Mug Cake from Five Heart Home
Oh the snickerdoodle, my all-time favorite cookie, how I do love thee. This recipe sounded so good in theory, especially for something I could whip up in way less time than it would take to get Insomnia Cookies delivered to my apartment. In reality, the mug snickerdoodle was… fine.
Could I have fucked it up? I wouldn’t say I fucked this cake up, but if I did it again, I would do things a little differently. The recipe calls for “big spoonfuls” of dough to be layered with cinnamon sugar (aka the best bit of the cake.) Once cooked, the dough itself is quite boring, and a little floury. The sugar layers are the tastiest part, and I wish there were more of them! Next time, I’ll opt for thinner layers.
Was it yum? While the sugary cinnamon layers were definitely yum, the dough itself left a lot to be desired.
Did it feel fancy-ish? Though it didn’t taste particularly fancy, the sparkly sugar-sprinkled top of this cake made it feel a little special.
Overall rating: 2/5
Chocolate Mug Cake from NYT Cooking
I was thrilled to discover that the NYT Cooking app had a mug cake begging to be made. (This excitement was enough to look past the fact I don’t really like chocolate cake.)
Could I have fucked it up? I made this cake quite late at night and will admit, my measurements were pretty lazy. Still, it turned out cake-like, edible, and quite cute if I do say so myself.
Was it yum? This mug cake is flourless, which meant it didn’t fall victim to the floury taste of the snickerdoodle cake. I enjoyed a few spoonfuls, but need to mention that my boyfriend, a much bigger chocolate fan than I, absolutely loved it.
Did it feel fancy-ish? If I were to rebrand this cake as a “flourless single-serve chocolate cake” it would sound a lot fancier than it actually was. It felt fancy enough, but could do with a tiny fancy update like the aforementioned name suggestion.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug from No. 2 Pencil
Sometimes you just feel like a single cookie. Or at least, I do! A lot of the time! Which is why this recipe sounded so appealing: a single, microwavable cookie? Brilliant. In the end, it was no Levain, but it was good, and I would legitimately make it again (maybe even tonight.)
Could I have fucked it up? If you can separate an egg yolk from the white you can already nail the hardest part of this recipe. The rest is just measuring and gently mixing.
Was it yum? It was GOOD, especially at a time when nobody wants to turn their oven on for a single cookie.
Did it feel fancy-ish? The fanciest thing about this experience was that I bought “chocolate morsels” instead of “choc chips.”
Overall rating: 4/5 even without an obvious fancy factor, which is saying something!
Photos by Beth Sacca