Monday, 30 June 2014

4 Minute Microwave Cakes! (Can be made gluten free, sweet or savoury!)

If you suddenly find yourself with lots of guests and no fresh cakes or sandwiches to serve, you can use this quick and simple recipe to make either sweet or savoury snacks in the microwave based on pancake mixture!

When I say 4 Minute cakes I don't mean the Korean pop band (though Hyuna's face on a cake would proabbly go down quite well in my house)! This recipe takes just 4 minutes to cook in a microwave. I got this idea from something I read in a manga, but I can't eat instant pancake mix and found the vague ingredient measurements hard to work with (and what sort of instant pancakemix was used anyway?) so I adapted my own version that others can enjoy.

Good points:
1. Super quick to make! Use an electric whisk and pre-made pancake mix to make it even quicker!
2. You can easily adapt it to the tastes and dietary requirements of your guests! (For example, mine are gluten free.)
3. You can make it either sweet or savoury so it can be used for a lunchtime snack or for afternoon tea.
4. Can be presented easily
5. My dad says the chocolate chip ones taste great the next day! The texture is just like cake. The flavoured ones taste lovely hot and fresh as well as at room temperature.

Bad points:
1. Some people might not be accustomed to the taste or texture since they're not as sweet or buttery as a regular cake!

You can cook this batter mix in any microwavable mould. Do NOT use any metal or non-microwavable moulds! Just because it's safe in the oven doesn't mean it's safe in the microwave! If you want to be absolutely safe, use paper cups (like for parties), and you can also line them with baking paper or muffin cases.

Things you'll need:
1. Balloon whisk or electric whisk (you can make do with a fork, but it won't be as quick and will be hard work!)
2. A big mixing bowl! You'll need 2 bowls, but one of them must be quite large for mixing!
3. Kitchen scales
4. Sieve
5. Measuring jug (with ml)
6. A tablespoon measure, or a standard tablespoon.
7. Something to cook them in. In this example, I'm using paper ice cream tubs, but you can use paper cups that you buy for parties to put drinks in or those rubbery silicone baking moulds. (Anything thin and microwave-friendly!) If you want to re-use your ice cream tubs, line them with paper muffin cases or make your own cases by using greaseproof baking paper.

Ingredients (makes approximately 6 standard muffins):
165g Self Raising Flour (I use gluten free)
80g Caster Sugar (for savoury ones, just leave out the sugar!)
2-3 level tablespoons of Baking Powder (depending on your flour)
3 medium-large eggs
300ml milk (I prefer semi skimmed)
150ml water
3 tablespoons of butter, or baking margarine
A pinch of salt

If you're using an instant pancake mixture instead, please follow the instructions on the packet, then add baking powder and sugar (if there's no sugar in the mixture). For savoury cakes, leave out the sugar. It shouldn't make too much of a difference to the consistency of the mixture, but if you think the mixture is too runny you can add a bit more flour.

Preparation method:

1. Crack your eggs into the bowl and discard shells, then whisk them lightly so they're a uniform colour.

2. Measure out milk and water, combined together and then combine with eggs. Whisk lightly.

3. Sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the other bowl and combine it together.

4. Melt the butter/margarine until it's liquid but not cooked (I use the microwave for about 30 seconds), then combine it with the egg/milk/water mixture while it's runny. It's best to whisk whilst pouring it in to break it up into little bits.

5. Combine egg/milk/water mixture with the flour. I prefer to make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid in slowly whilst incorporating the flour from the sides, but you could easily sieve the dry ingredients into the liquid. Choose your personal preference!

6. Whisk well until all the lumps have gone. It's a quick job with an electric whisk but it's also quite quick with a balloon whisk if you sieved your ingredients!

7. Now is the time you can separate your mixture to add different flavours! Each cup usually takes 100-150ml of the mixture, so you can easily add chocolate chips, vanilla essence, almond flavouring, chocolate powder, etc to  small portions of mixture.

8. For muffin-sized cups/ice cream tubs, add 100-150ml of the mixture to each cup.

9. Put them in the microwave on full power for 4 minutes. They're done when you can poke them with a skewer or cocktail stick and it comes out clean, but they don't go brown! If it's gone brown then it's burned! 
It should be creamy and steamy (my camera lens fogged up)! The muffin should come away from the sides of the cup or mould on its own with a little jiggle when you turn it upside down, or you can leave them in the cups for your guests to get out! If you want them bigger, just add more mixture and adjust the cooking time.

The texture inside should look like this:

10. Serve as soon as possible! You can serve in their moulds or out - they should fall out relatively easily. If you have a problem with not being able to get them out, try greasing the container with a little butter before microwaving. If Team Rocket can get it to fall out of the cup, I'm sure you can! (They like chocolate chips!)

Best served warm and fresh!
You can serve with syrup, sugar, lemon, honey, cream, anything you'd usually eat with a pancake/crepe! 

The big rose-shape one has syrup and sugar on it, like a regular pancake. There are chocolate-chip, Nutella, chocolate powder, almond, vanilla, and lemon tea flavours here. You can easily decorate them with sprinkles or icing too! I used silicone cooking moulds (they're usually £1-2 each to buy and are reusable like any baking tray) to make the cute shapes. I didn't need to grease them, the batter comes away easily for me.

Suggested Flavourings:
If you're in the mood for sweet things, you can add sweet or fruity things to the mixture. It works well with Nutella, chocolate chips (and chocolate powder or cocoa!), chopped up banana chips, cinnamon, ginger, blueberries and glace cherries. Why not poke a couple little holes and drizzle in a little lemon? For savoury snacks you could add ham, cheese, mushroom, spinach, tomato, carrot, peppers or chicken!

This is a great idea to feed a lot of people at a party! If you don't know who's coming in advance, you can easily add flavours and ingredients to suit your guests or the time of day!

Do you have the courage to try one of my recipes? (I think I have strange tastebuds haha!) If all else fails, you can use the mixture to fry fluffy American-inspired pancakes ehe!

Now I'm going to go and stuff my face with all the treats I made today... 

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