Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

I want cake more often than I should eat cake. So, when a blog with various single-serving mug cake recipes popped up on Pinterest, I got really excited.  Brilliant! I thought.  I can make a small single-serve cake, and I won't eat "accidental" second helpings or let the leftovers go bad!

Then, I entered some of the recipes into a calorie calculator. One serving of any of a couple varieties of mug cake, it turns out, totals on the order of 800 calories. (Oof.) Worse, the bulk of the ingredients were low-nutrition or high-calorie (or both): processed flour, granulated sugar, oil, peanut butter, and so forth. I decided that there had to be a better way, and so I teamed up with my brother* to create a less-awful recipe.

I started with this recipe for Nutella mug cake and made some modifications to the ingredients, using

  • 4 tablespoons raw oatmeal, blenderized until similar to flour
  • 1 cup applesauce to replace most of the sugar and some of the oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate peanut butter**
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

the steps I took to make the cakes
The eating is the best part.
I mixed everything up per the directions and divided the recipe between two mugs, which I had Ard spritz with cooking spray while I was measuring.  I popped them one at a time into the microwave, starting with a minute with the intention of adding time in thirty-second increments if needed.  My microwave didn't need the extra time, though, so they came out of the microwave gratifyingly quickly.

The texture came out well but I found the flavor lacking a bit: they were surprisingly bland. The peanut butter taste got lost under the chocolate taste, and it wasn't very sweet at all (kind of like dark chocolate, though, so this wasn't a huge problem).  Ard's immediate solution involved slathering his with peanut butter, as his nutrition plan doesn't involve a reduction in calories.  As my nutrition plan does involve a reduction in calories (at least until I reach a healthier weight), I think there should be a better way.

Ard and I brainstormed some solutions while we ate our cakes.

  1. Use sweeter mashed banana instead of less-sweet applesauce.
  2. Replace the rest of the oil with chocolate peanut butter.
  3. Add a little bit of extra salt, as the chocolate peanut butter apparently contains a sixth of the sodium of the non-chocolate variety of peanut butter we have.
Does anyone have any other suggestions for improvement?

*Ard had the very important job of eating the other mug cake, as I decided that instead of halving the recipe and needing to find weird measuring spoons, I'd just change the spec from "serves one" to "serves two".
**The first ingredient in Nutella (and its clones) is sugar.  The chocolate peanut butter I picked has "peanuts" as its first ingredient and omits hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup.

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