Put A Ring On It

I know I just recently waxed lyrical about being a chocolate cake snob, and only the very best made from the sweat of Taye Diggs (ok not strictly true) will do.

no brainer

But then this recipe made its way through a long chain of people, and arrived on my desk a few weeks back… Charlotte Gomes Microwave Chocolate Cake. When it comes to cake I would normally balk (yes. balk.) at the word Microwave. My encounters with microwaved ring cakes have generally been of the rubbery, chewy variety that bears no comparison with “real” baking. But this particular recipe had this gorgeous photo of a voluptuous chocolate ring cake with frosting oozing down the sides and winking seductively at me…

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a chocolate cake fan but seriously, if you don’t have the time or means or inclination to go through the entire convoluted process of making the shmancy cake I posted earlier then this is the recipe for you. No pre-planning or foraging for exotic ingredients is needed (it’s stuff everyone has in the cupboard and fridge), no arm-numbing creaming of butter and sugar, and no firing up of the oven. Plus it’s yummy!

It’s moist and light and (in my humble opinion) better than any of the regular convection chocolate cakes. It’s not like those microwave cakes of the early 90s that somehow tasted of magnetron – no-one would guess that this one took 20 minutes from start to finish. Remember those recipe books that came with microwaves back then? If you really splurged on a top-of-the-range piece of technology the book would even be in colour! With lots of sad, anaemic-looking sunken cakes and flaccid yellow-skinned chicken. I’m giving away my age now so I will stop.

hold onto your hat


One cake made about 16 slender slices. Of course if you are greedier, you could make it 8 slices. Or 4 even. Or just don’t bother slicing.

lovin it

take another little piece my heart



I’ve made a tiny amendment or two to the recipe, as one does…

For one magnificent microwaved cake:

  • 1 cup Cake Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Espresso Powder (optional – I think it brings out the best of the chocolate flavour)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Eggs

First prepare your cake pan – don’t use metal, unless you want to enjoy the fireworks as your microwave dies a fiery death. Use a microwave safe ring-shaped cake pan, and if you don’t have one then improvise like I did, using a regular drinking glass and a round glass bowl; give it a blast with nonstick cooking spray. The ring shape is so that you don’t end up with a vulcanised-rubber-like core – it’s just one of those things that come with microwave cooking.

Mix the dry stuff together in a bowl. Mix the wet stuff together in a bowl or jug. Add the wet mix to the dry and stir together (do not beat with an electric beater). The only way you could screw this up, honestly, is if you are lacking opposable thumbs.

Pour into the prepared cake pan – I’d say leave at least 5cm for rising. Bake for 10 minutes on High, right in the centre of the microwave. I used a dish that was only just big enough, and it started to vaguely overflow at 6 minutes – I popped a plate under it to minimize the mess. Once it’s done, turn it out (it just popped right out, as if I’d asked it politely) and allow to cool completely.

For the super-easy frosting:

  • 1 cup Icing Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Margarine
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Milk

Prepare the frosting only once the cake has cooled – it takes no time at all, but does not like to be kept waiting.

I can’t believe how much of my life has been wasted making fluffy buttercream when actually I could have been whipping this up in no time. Grrr gnash.

Put all the ingredients into a microwave-safe jug (for easy pouring after) and microwave for 40 seconds on High. Give it a good beating for a minute so that it is smooth and glossy and thick, then pour it over the cooled cake. Liberally apply sprinkles, glitter etc. If you can find a decorative item that will fit in the hole in the centre – yay! The only thing I could find at the time, with the right circumference, was a bottle of cat shampoo. I figured it would detract from the overall appeal and chose (wisely, I think) to omit it. I don’t even own a cat anymore.

Quite Easily Done

Thank you Charlotte Gomes and Sheila 🙂

slice of heaven

That’s it! And now I’d like to borrow a line from Ina Garten (only she uses it when cooking things like truffle butter lobster on gold-plated foie gras) – “How easy is that?”.




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