OMG, Instant Cake!

When I was in college, one of my favorite foods to cook in the dorm* was microwave cupcakes. I can’t remember if they were Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, but one or the other of them produced little kits for making four yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting. It was a just-add-water deal, so perfect for kitchen-less living situation. They were not the best cupcakes ever, but as I’ve never been the girl who turns down a warm, fresh cupcake, I found them to be perfect.

Sadly, these little gems disappeared at some point in the early 1990s, and near-instant cake vanished from my life. It was – not surprisingly – missed. It was not only the speed of microwave cupcakes I longed for, but also the small quantities. As someone who has lived alone most of my adult life, making a whole cake is a bit overmuch.

You can imagine my excitement, then, when Pinterest brought the concept of mug cakes to my attention. ** Somehow, the existence of these single-serving, ultra-fast scratch cakes had escaped me entirely. We can cry later about how sad it is that I’ve spent almost 20 years longing for something that already exists, but now is a time for celebration, for I made my first mug cake less than an hour ago and it was a success!

My first-ever (but certainly not last) microwave mug cake.
My first-ever (but certainly not last) microwave mug cake.

I made this recipe, and it turned out pretty well. If I did it again, I’d up the cocoa by at least a half-tablespoon or go with a more generous handful of chocolate chips – or perhaps both. (In other words: I wanted it to be more chocolate-y.) I also would probably use commercial peanut butter for a little extra sweetness, since my farmers’ market variety has less sugar. I’d also mix it in a lot less, in hopes of getting little pockets of hot, melted peanut butter in the finished cake.

Overall, though, it was a fast, tasty treat – seriously five minutes from clicking on the recipe to being put into my mouth. Cake rarely gets more instant gratification than that. I can hardly wait to make more – and as luck would have it, there are lots of options!

***

* That is, microwave cupcakes would have been my favorite had I known anyone willing to flout dorm rules and have a microwave. But of course, I did not. Of course.

** Also, when did salted caramel become such a thing? I never heard of it until about a year ago, and now it seems to be in every fancy recipe. Of course, I still haven’t figured out where to buy it.

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Things I’m Learning from Pinterest

A few of my Pinterest boards.
A few of my Pinterest boards.

A little over two weeks ago, I wrote a post about Pinterest, currently the next big thing in the social media world. Since then, I have spent even more time on the site, creating a page for work. As it turns out, I am learning a lot using Pinterest, including:

  • I am apparently the only woman in America not planning a wedding, either for real or on spec.
  • My apartment is lame and has no discernible decorative style.
  • The only thing worse than my apartment is my fashion sense, which is dull to the power of boring.
  • I have insufficiently niche-y interests – for example, elephants, the color yellow, or plush toys. I also don’t care enough about movies or specific actors/actresses.
  • Inspirational quotes drive me bonkers.
  • There will never be enough time for me to cook all of the amazing recipes I have seen. This is probably for the best, as eating all of these delicious-looking things would make me tragically overweight.
  • I could quit my job tomorrow and travel the world for the rest of my life and never, ever run out of amazing sights, places, and people to see.

My reaction to this is somewhat conflicted. On one hand, it’s a little depressing, but on the other, it’s kind of inspiring. I’m not sure looking at pretty pictures will ever make me a fashion maven, but it could get me to finally decorate my apartment like I am actually staying. (Years and years of moving annually taught me not to put in too much effort, but seriously, I’ve lived in this place almost six years now. It’s time.) And I have already found – and shared – some recipes there, so even though I’ll never cook them all, pinning them doesn’t seem like a waste of time.

One thing I’m fairly certain it’s not going to make a dent in: my antipathy for weddings. Still hoping to find a guy who thinks a trip downtown to see the judge seems like the right way to go…