Oh well

I swore when I restarted this blog that I would try to post weekly, if not a couple of times a week.

That didn’t work out, did it?

For all I’m at home pretty much all day/every day, the time still flies. It’s already 722pm, and I feel as though it should still be midday. This, despite the fact that I walked Gaby earlier this morning, putter-weeded a bit, doomscrolled through Twitter and the usual blogs, finished up my 10k steps on the treadmill, posted some FB author page posts, had an unfortunately getting more complicated by the minute short story gel in my backbrain, and had some oat milk ice cream. With Coop’s Cold Brew Mocha Sauce.

So my birthday was a couple of weeks ago. The 4th, to be exact. Given the circumstances, no plans were made. Friends texted and emailed good wishes, and we discussed plans once normal life resumes. I tried to settle Gaby, who had been dealing with firecrackers for the better part of two weeks and was jittery despite medication and off her feed besides. But I was determined to make the best of this unsettling situation, and bake something new. I always wanted to try mug cake, but I never got around to it. What better time to attempt a single serve cake recipe than a pandemic birthday?

So I searched the cooking interwebs, and found several recipes. Thing was, reading through them made me a little sick. I mean, this is not a lot of cake we’re talking about, maybe the size of a cupcake, but the recipes I found called for 3 tablespoons of oil. That’s almost a quarter cup. It wasn’t just the calories–after all, this was a birthday cake. It was the fact that I really don’t like oily food. So I poked around a little more, and found this recipe for Low Fat Chocolate Mug Cake. No oil, just a little melted butter. Not much added sugar. I looked forward to adding the suggested chocolate chips, and maybe some gelato on the side.

Those plans fell through when, as I poked through the cupboard for the flour etc, I found signs that a mouse had infiltrated the premises. Instead of eating cake and watching “Captain Marvel,” I spent my birthday evening cleaning out the cupboard, hunting for mousetraps, and calming Gaby.

I’ve had better birthdays.

Matters improved. I caught the mouse that evening. The fireworks stopped eventually. And, about a week later, I made mug cake. I tweaked the recipe, because I always do. I paid homage to Aarón Sánchez’ Mexican Brownies by adding cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I also added half a teaspoon of instant espresso powder to boost the chocolate flavor. I opted for the oven method, and wound up with what I felt was a decent, light, not too sweet dark chocolate cake. A few days late, I made it again, this time in the microwave. My microwave is wonky, so instead of 45-50 seconds, it actually took 80-90 seconds for the center of the cake to set. That left the outer edge a little dry. I think next time I will stick with the oven.

Now that I’ve made mug cake twice, I will play a bit. I think I could replace the butter with peanut butter, add chopped nuts, or substitute oat flour for some of the wheat flour for a nuttier taste. If I’d had Chambord, I’d have added a bit–I love chocolate and raspberry.

In closing, it occurs to me that I was remiss in not photographing either of those mug cakes. So in keeping with both the usual subjects of this blog, here are some flowers. All the photos taken by Yours Truly.