My husband’s late grandfather had the habit of starting many of his sentences with “Here’s another thing you didn’t know,” followed by a long ramble about something obscure that I couldn’t possibly have known or cared to know, like how the father of former finance minister Paul Martin got his start in business or any number of things about Napoleon (the man, not the dessert.) Then it made me bristle, now it makes me snicker. Because despite his gruff delivery, he was almost always right. (Maybe not factually correct, but his versions of events were certainly new to me.) And the more I try small things, the more I think, “Here’s another thing you didn’t know.” Like you can make a cake in a couple of minutes and it’s actually really delicious! At least the ones I tried from Suzy Pelta’s Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes: 28 Quick and Easy Recipes for Tasty Treats. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a review copy, and I think you’d like it too.
The book contains 13 mug cake recipes, organized into sections for kids (sprinkle sunshine mug cake, PB-Nutella mug cake), grown-ups (boozy berry mug cake, caffe latte mug cake) and family fun (double chocolate brownie mug cake, chocolate orange marble mug cake), followed by 15 quick desserts ranging from cookies made with ice cream and apple pie pastry pockets that use ready-made puff pastry dough to a no-bake rocky road bar made from popcorn, marshmallows, pretzels and other delicious goodness.
“I believe the baking rules are there to be broken, and if that means using a few short-cuts or “cheats” than why not? We all lead such busy and hectic lives, so allow yourself to take a few helping hands, such as store-bought puff pastry or even a boxed cake mix. The end product will still be scrumptious and amde with love; it just won’t have taken as much time!” — Suzy Pelta
For the mug cakes, I tried the sprinkle sunshine one in the first picture (my nine-year-old made it with me and for once, didn’t wander away part-way through like she does with longer recipes), along with the oreo mug cake and crushed-up cookie mug cake above. Here’s another thing I didn’t know (which Suzy points out in the introduction): because they’re cooked in the microwave, mug cakes have a different texture than they do baked in the oven. Mug cakes are spongey like steamed puddings and best enjoyed soon after cooking since they dry out quickly.
I liked that each of the mug cakes called for simple ingredients, most of which we already had on hand. (You’ll want to stock up on self-rising flour.) The oreo mug cake and sprinkle sunshine mug cakes were both delicious but the crushed-up cookie mug cake didn’t go over well and it’s totally my fault: I left out the two tablespoons of sugar because I thought the crushed-up cookies mixed into the batter would make it sweet enough. I was wrong. Follow the recipe.
Also, it’s so much fun to watch the cakes puff up tall in the microwave and then deflate when you take them out. If you use the proper-sized mug they’ll still have a nice bit of cake poking up over the top. (Too small a mug and you’ll have a mess of overflowing batter to deal with.)
And Suzy’s breakfast bars were way more fun to make (and eat!) than traditional Rice Krispies squares. These ones include white chocolate, sprinkles and a mixture of a few cereals (we used Lucky Charms, Rice Krispies and Sally’s Cereal Berry Colossal Crunch). Just like the recipe said, they came together in about 15 minutes. The recipe also said to let them sit at room temperature for an hour before slicing but who can wait that long? We dug in after half an hour and they held together just fine.
You’ll see more of these recipes in my social media feeds as we make our way through the rest of the book. Learning all kinds of things we didn’t know along the way. 🙂
To enter to win a copy of Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes, tell me if you’ve ever made a mug cake (what kind?) or which recipe mentioned in this post you’d like to try in the comments below. This entry is mandatory.
For an additional entry, follow try small things on Facebook and share this post, then tell me you did so and your name on Facebook in the comments below.
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things on Twitter for your entry to count.
#Win Suzy Pelta’s “Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes” from @trysmallthings http://bit.ly/miraclemugcakes CAN 4/14
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 14, 2017. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another will be selected.
Update April 16, 2017: Congratulations Nicole C!
Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.