My mom sent me this recipe from the newspaper years ago. But I didn’t make it. The recipe was marked “dangerous chocolate mug cake.” The danger was in the ease of making a chocolate cake in 5 minutes–2 minutes for throwing together the ingredients (all right into the mug) and another 3 for baking.

There’s a couple of reasons I held out making this recipe. The first? I didn’t think it would work. I mean, mixing up a chocolate cake in a coffee mug? And even if it did work I figured it would be tasteless, or at best, grainy.

The second reason: What if it was good? Being able to put a individual-sized piece of cake together so quickly is downright dangerous for your waistline.

But that torn piece of newspaper had been nagging at me, so I decided to give it a try. Result: it’s good. I don’t know if I’m happy or disappointed about that. You really do put all the ingredients together in the order of the recipe and cook for 3 minutes to turn out a moist piece of chocolate cake. You can serve the cake in the mug or turn it out onto a plate.

I’ve now made the chocolate mug a few times (trying to keep myself from making it too often) and let me give you a few hints.

  • The cake turns out better if you mix the ingredients in the mug. When I mixed it in a separate bowl and then placed it in the mug, the top of the cake didn’t end up round, it was more flat. Plus, you can avoid cleaning up another bowl by just using the mug.
  • I’m an almond extract fan so whether you choose almond extract or vanilla you do need a bit of a flavor boost in the cake.
  • Okay, this one is a bit obvious, but I’m always anxious for a bite of cake: give it at least a couple minutes to cool before you eat it.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 regular-sized coffee cup

¼ cup flour

½ cup sugar

2 Tablespoons baking cocoa

1 egg

3 Tablespoons milk

3 Tablespoons oil

¼ teaspoon almond extract

3 Tablespoons chocolate chips

1 Tablespoon nuts (opt)

Directions

  1. Add all of the dry ingredients to the mug and stir.
  2. Add the egg and mix.
  3. Pour in the milk, oil and extract.
  4. Mix the chocolate chips and nuts (if using) into the batter.
  5. Place the mug on a small plate.
  6. Bake in the microwave for 3 minutes on high.
  7. Note: The batter will rise above the top of the mug. Not to worry, the batter shouldn’t overflow.
  8. Allow the cake to cool for a couple minutes before eating.

This is the perfect recipe to make while thumbing through a few real-life Valentine’s stories available at Parents.com. I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day sweet? As you’ve probably gathered, mine is anything with dark chocolate.

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