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Food to Make In Your Dorm: Mug Cake Edition

I’m a firm believer that the dorm microwave is an underrated cooking tool. Unfortunately, it tends to be used solely for re-heating sad, lonely, frozen dinners for one. However, when used properly the microwave is a magical device that can be used to make peanut butter fudge and CAKE.

That’s right. Cake. So while you may be spending your nights alone in your holey sweatpants watching Friends re-runs on TV, you can at least drown your sorrows in some freshly baked cake. What I’m about to tell you is extremely dangerous, as it will enable you to make deliciously fudgy chocolate cake at a moments notice—please continue reading at your own risk.

As soon as you begin to feel any amount of self-loathing, GATHER:

-4 tablespoons flour

-4 tablespoons sugar

-2 tablespoons cocoa powder (or extra dark cocoa powder if you’re feeling “healthy”)

-2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

-2 tablespoons water (or slightly more, as needed)

-a pinch of salt (if you have some)

-1 crappy standard issued dorm microwave

-1 mug (Alice and Wonderland mug recommended but not required)

Possible MIX-INS:

-peanut butter



-chocolate chips

-all of the above

After you have begged for, borrowed, and stolen your ingredients:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt).

2. Add the wet ingredients (oil, water), and stir until no powder is visible. You may need to add a bit more water depending on the humidity and how good you are at measuring out ingredients.

If it doesn’t look like this then you’re doing it wrong:

3. Add in your desired additions and mix thoroughly.

4. Cook on high in your microwave for 1 minute. The cooking time can vary depending on your microwave, so cook for 1 minute and then try for 10 second intervals until your cake is at your desired consistency. (Although since there aren’t any eggs in this cake you can eat it half-raw. I won’t stop you.)

5. Consume in ecstasy.

The best part about this particular mug cake recipe is that there really are no limits to what you can add. You like peanut butter? Great, dump some in! M&M’s? Go for it. Pretzels, Twizzlers, and gummy bears? Sure. The sky’s the limit for you and your little mug cake. Just make sure the amount of extras you add is proportionate to your batter, or you’ll end up eating candy covered in flour and sugar (unless that’s your thing, then go for it).

Some pro-tips:

  • If you want a moister/fudgier cake (duh, who doesn’t), use half brown sugar and half white sugar. The molasses creates a chewier texture. The more brown sugar you add, the moister the cake will be. (The same is true for cookies as well—you’re welcome.)
  •  If you use smaller chocolate chips, or don’t want them to melt the whole way, cook your cake halfway before adding them in.
  • You can double the recipe for twice the guilt, but it will take a lot longer to cook the whole way through, and the moisture content of your poor cake will suffer. You’re better off making two separate cakes and then consuming them at your leisure.
  • If you find you’re eating way too many mug cakes, you can sub out the oil for applesauce for a slightly healthier version.

Hopefully you will use this new-found power for the forces of good, and maybe to treat your roommates after a bad breakup. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

More pictures and the original recipe for this mug cake can be found here.

About the Author

Catie Simpson

Catie is a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. She's also the resident townie and culinary enthusiast due to a brief stint at the CIA (the culinary school not the secret government agency). She currently works at a Baby Temperament Lab on campus where she tries to get babies to do dangerous things. She's also on the twitter.


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