Cake in a Mug

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Voilà! My first cake in a mug! Not exactly a success (because it’s a little bit too bitter), but at least it’s not a failure either! I mean, it has the texture of a cake, it looks and tastes chocolate, so what more can you ask from an amateur cook like me?

I woke up today to the sound of pouring rain. Grey clouds. Gloomy skies. The whole depressing set of Monday Blues. Ugh. And then, I started fantasising about chocolate, as I always inexplicably do, about how nice it would be to snuggle in bed with a steaming mug of hot cocoa piled high with fresh whip cream.

I was feeling all warm and cozy under my sheets, and didn’t feel like getting out of bed or destroying this blissful ignorance of life outside my room. So, I logged onto Pinterest to feast my eyes on chocolate goodies, living vicariously through the Internet and all that. Wrong move. What started out as an annoying niggling chocolate craving at the back of my head transformed itself into a full-blown chocolate obsession. Well, this is what happens when a chocoholic is tempted by high-resolution photos of cupcakes and ice-cream. She begins to salivate at the mere sight of words like “Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Twirled Frosting” or even as simple as “Chocolate Buttercream Frosting“.

At this instant, I was suddenly hit by a vivid memory of C & I having the most random conversation about baking during one of our many Tesco walking trips together. The cashier was ringing up our groceries at the till while we were having a heated discussion about using a rice cooker to bake a cake. I was telling her you could literally cook anything with a rice cooker (even fry an egg!), and she was looking at me with utter disbelief on her face. And then, she argued that you can’t bake a cake with a rice cooker, and I countered that yes you can – I saw it in the cooker manual. This debate went on for awhile, and she started telling me about how she made a mug cake with the microwave just under 5 minutes.

So, I came out of my reverie as inspiration hit me – I shall make a mug cake! I rapidly searched Google for recipes, then clicked fanatically and repeatedly on ‘Open in a new tab’ like a crazy woman until I found one that I liked the looks of. Gooey Chocolate Mug Cakes in 2 Minutes!

Okay, those who know me will know that I absolutely detest anything to do with baking or cooking. And, washing up dishes after that. So, for me to do this means either: A) I have gone mad with chocolate crave, or B) I am so bored to death at home that I would rather bake than do nothing and rot in bed watching another episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

So, I searched the drawers for Mum’s old baking kit. I got the ingredients prepared and expected to finish in 20 minutes (because I had to use an oven instead of a microwave). I know, absolutely outrageous, isn’t it, not owning a freaking microwave! Oh, the horrors of it! I could barely survive 2 days without a microwave if I was living alone and being solely responsible for feeding myself.

Anyway, guess how long it took for me to bake my mug cake? 40 bloody minutes! 2-minute mug cakes MY FOOT! I guess what stumped me the most was melting the butter. Don’t ask why. I feel really stupid as it is that the simplest of tasks to everyone else is like an obstacle course for me. And then, the ingredients in the mug got all sticky and clumped together stubbornly no matter how hard I mixed them. I was hot with exasperation by the end of it.

I substituted cinnamon powder for vanilla extract (ran out of those), and adjusted the oven to 180 degrees for 15 minutes, but the cake still wasn’t cooked when the timer ran out, so I kept adding 10 minutes and 10 minutes again after that until I over-cooked the bloody thing. Heh. Not the molten gooey chocolate center I was going for, but it wasn’t rock hard like Hagrid’s cauldron cakes either! So, semi-success, no?

Well, it was certainly an interesting way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Biscuit Treats for the Big Sister

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IMG_20130821_113224I have always thought Lotte’s Koala’s March as one of my all-time favourite childhood treats. For those of you who have never eaten these before (like seriously, have you got no childhood?), they are bite-sized Japanese cookie snacks, with mostly chocolate or strawberry fillings inside the hollow cookie shell.

I was barely 3 years old when I had my first bite. For some reason, this memory stood out and refused to fade with time. I remember the bright fluorescent lights of the grocery store. I remember the white yet grimy tiles of the store’s floor. I remember my little self, holding Daddy’s hand, gazing up wide-eyed onto shelves upon shelves of tantalising biscuits and snacks. And then, he uttered those magic words, “Pick anything you want.” Stunned at such a rare event, I picked the chocolate Koala’s March biscuits, of course. Come on, they have like the coolest packaging ever! Have you seen any hexagonal biscuit boxes like these before?!

When we left the store, I was holding my treat with a vice-like grip, floating on cloud nine. I mean, my parents are those strict sort who read loads of parenting books and are huge believers of positive & negative reinforcements to modify their child’s behaviour. I can bawl my head off and throw a full-blown tantrum in the toy aisle in an attempt to publicly shame them into buying me what I want, but they are too blasé or maybe thick-skinned even, to be embarrassed by such antics. According to them anyway, us children have never tried such acts with them. Apparently, we were hard-wired or maybe guilt-driven into not asking for things when we know we have done nothing worthy to deserve them. Yeah, yeah. Us goody-two-shoes.

Anyway, I could barely believe my good luck when Dad brought me into a hospital room. Surprise, surprise! I’m officially the big sister of not one, but two baby brothers! Ha. Apparently, those biscuit treats were supposedly bought to appease me, in case I got all jealous of my baby twin brothers who would be getting a lot of attention. Since then, I’ve always associated these Koala biscuits with the birth of my baby brothers. And also, with the happiest day of my 3-year old life, for like 15 minutes, perhaps?

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All grown-up today, those Koalas caught my eye again. I think I haven’t ate one of these for at least a decade. I have the most distinct memory of how I used to eat them. I am a total neurotic retard when it comes to the ‘correct way’ of eating Koalas. Yeah, I am so convinced that ‘my way’ is the only proper way to devour such lovely treats, that I get irritated with people who eat them any other way. First, I would have a good look at this Koala-shaped biscuit and its imprinted picture. I would then proceed to nibble at their ears and paws (the four edges), after that I would prise open the biscuit shell and gobble them up, then only finally devouring the chocolate filling inside. Mostly, I ate them after refrigeration, so the filling is like a thick slab of hardened chocolate block. Yums!

For old time’s sake, I bought a twin-pack of the chocolate & strawberry flavoured. I love how they never really changed the packaging. At RM7.00, they are bloody expensive! But then again, any price to buy back the taste of childhood, right? Wrong. Maybe my tongue has upgraded their taste buds for more sophisticated cuisine, but they don’t taste as good as I remembered them to be. This is the sadness of growing up. We feel discontent so easily. We keep wanting to re-experience those once-happy moments, but they just elude us and somehow, we can never experience the same feeling twice. But then, maybe this is how it is supposed to be. Imagine if you get to re-experience each of your ‘most-happy-moments’. At some point, you get desensitised by your own happiness, and the glitter of it fades off so that the moment becomes not ‘happy’, but just mere ‘normal’.

On a lighter note, do you know that they are a total of 485 different pictures of Koala doing various activities printed on these biscuits? Ah-mah-zing!