Mug Cakes, by Lene Knudsen

Mug Cakes, by Lene Knudsen, is a cake lovers dream. The book, based on the American invention, offers recipes for delicious, individual cakes that’ll melt in your mouth and, best of all, are ready in 5 minutes, all prepared in – you guessed it – a mug.

Part of the quick and easy approach of Mug Cakes, is that all quantities are given in spoonfuls so there is no weighing and ingredients are quickly and easily measured into your mug. Once the ingredients are mixed together, your cake cooks in the microwave oven, so not only is it time efficient, but also power efficient to make. And, the best bit is that you don’t have to wait: you can grab your spoon and eat your cake from the mug straight away, while it is warm and marvellously “mooshy”. What can be more satisfying?

Cult Mug Cakes include your classic cake flavours, like Vanilla, Lemon and Orange cakes. I couldn’t wait to try some recipes from the Ultimate Mug Cakes section, with its Marshmallow, Coconut-Choc and Nutty mug cakes. Another whole part of the book is devoted to Chocolate Specials, such as the Chocolate Fondant, Salted Caramel and Nutella (highly recommended!) Mug Cakes, truly catering to the chocoholics among us, while the Mug Apple Crumble, Green Tea Mug Cake and Blueberry-Ricotta Mug Cakes appeal to those who prefer some Tutti Frutti flavours. No cake is complete, of course, without a topping of something delicious. Knudsen provides some ideas for your final mug cake layer, including sauces, icings, coulis mug cakes, and Chantilly.

Even more unique than the mug cakes is the collection of Mug Cookie recipes. All of your favourite cookies are turned into mug cakes that you can dig your spoon into, enjoying all of the flavours of the classic cookies but without the crunch and with more of a melt-in-your-mouth softness. Taking the indulgent idea of cookie dough to a whole new and tantalising level, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, and Gingerbread mug cookies are all ready and waiting for your spoon.

Bringing the simple, quick and decadent mug cakes to life is Richard Boutin’s food photography. Your mouth will water long before you smell the aroma of your “baking” wafting from the microwave as you enjoy the colourful stylistic images that accompany each recipe.

I cannot think of anyone that Mug Cakes will not appeal to, except, of course, if you don’t like cake (and, really, who doesn’t like cake?). In its pages students will find their new afternoon pick-me-up, mothers their new favourite holiday baking activity with the kids, and everyone else a delicious and delightful desert, morning tea, and anytime in-between snack. This is a book that should find its way onto everyone’s shelf because good food should be fun, simple and quick to prepare, and because everything just tastes better eaten with a spoon.

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Emma is an ardent writer, reviewer and editor. She currently lives in Orange, NSW, where she shares her time between writing, undergraduate studies in Linguistics and French (oui, c’est vrai!), and her “day job” as a yoga teacher. Emma especially enjoys reading women’s fiction, contemporary fiction and the classics.

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