Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Keeping Promises - Chocolate Microwave Cake

One of my biggest struggles throughout my life has been keeping promises. I don't mean the huge, terrible, soul-chaining, life-haunting, Lyanna Stark-type promises, but the little ones we make every day. Yes, I'll do this for you. Yes, I'll come at this time. The small promises on which common trust is based and a reliable or unreliable reputation is built. The frequent, tiny commitments.

I just had the amazing fortune of being reminded this by a close friend. I have missed two appointments in a row with her now. These are appointments that, at the time I promised, had every intention to keep. I might make the excuse that life interferes, but that's not a good one. There are really very few good excuses, when you think of it. Poor goal-setting notwithstanding, there is always a way to solve a problem or accomplish a mission. It might require unacceptable sacrifice, advance planning or both, but there is always a method. The idea is to find a method that doesn't require unacceptable compromises, but in my case, I really had just forgotten. And that is nothing I cannot fix.

In honor of this renewed commitment to keeping promises (to myself, too!), I present a recipe that I promised to another close friend last night. I have already sent it to her, but I thought you might like it, too. It's just the thing when your boyfriend craves a sweet, but you're too stubborn to buy grocery store cookies and you have only an hour before intense karate training... or it's midnight and you really should go to bed but you really want some chocolate... or your adviser wanted that problem solved before today's meeting and you thought it would only take a couple of hours, but a couple of days later it's still not solved... is that one just me?

Chocolate Microwave Cake
Makes enough cake to serve 2-2.5 people, unless someone is quite hungry...

1 tbsp butter (melted in the microwave in the cup)
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
3 tbsp cocoa powder (I like Dutch-processed for this)
4 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp milk (I prefer 2% or whole)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond flour (substitute all-purpose if unavailable)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

1. In a large measuring cup (microwaved cakes seem to work better in vessels with straight sides), melt the butter and mix in the oil with a fork. Add the cocoa powder and mix until it forms a paste.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing thoroughly until there are no lumps. With this small batch, the risk of over-mixing and toughening the batter by over-developing the gluten in the flour is low.

3. Microwave for about 2 minutes. The cake is done when the top looks almost dry; it will continue to bake as it sits. Allow to cool, then enjoy!