Healthy Living in the North

Foodie Friday: Microwave Baking—can you have your cake and eat it too?

The final product for the chocolate mug cake recipe.

The holidays are a festive time. Usually there is no shortage of goodies to choose from: cookies, chocolates, nuts, gingerbread, to name a few. But can sweets be part of a healthy way of eating? When we look at the larger picture of health, I believe sweets can be included. 

The irony of labelling foods as “bad” or “good” is that it can create a strained relationship with food. We can get trapped into feeling great when we’re eating all the “good” food but guilty when we eat something that is identified as less healthy, like sweets. The Ellyn Satter Institute, which is founded on evidenced-informed approaches, suggests another approach, called eating competency.

They list five steps to wellness based on eating competence:

  1. Take time to eat. Have family meals and snacks between times made up of foods you enjoy and give yourself permission to eat. You will gradually get bored with the same-old and seek additional foods to enjoy.  
  2. Eat food you enjoy. Use fat, sugar, and salt to make your meals and snacks tasty and rewarding. You will eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods because you enjoy them, not because you have to. You will also eat less sugar, salt, and fat. 
  3. Include your sugary beverages and “forbidden foods” at meals and snacks. Compared with munching and sipping alone, you will consume less fat and sugar (and be kind to your teeth). 
  4. Address saturated fat by using a variety of fats. This includes things like butter, cream and gravy; margarine and mayonnaise; olive, canola oil, corn, or soybean oil. 
  5. Let your body weigh what it wants to weigh. Evidence shows that weight stability supports health; weight yo-yoing doesn’t. 

It’s in that spirit I am sharing a recipe that can be included as part of a healthy approach to eating, and it continues my series of recipes that I discovered in my search for easy microwave dishes. I found this recipe on the Internet and altered it to be cow milk-free because milk and I don’t get along. For someone who can’t eat all the lovely milk chocolate that’s around this time of year, this recipe gave me a simple, chocolatey dessert to satisfy my chocolate craving! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Servings: one or share it with a friend!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute – I used oat milk, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (or milk free margarine), melted and cooled
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter (you only have to hang out with me for a day before you realize I love peanut butter! If you’re not a peanut butter fan, leave it out or add a tablespoon of chocolate or caramel syrup instead)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and baking powder (I like to put the cocoa through a sieve before I mix it with the flour. This breaks up any lumps that can be hard to break up when you add the wet ingredients).
  • Mix wet ingredients: milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix with dry ingredient into a smooth batter. 
  • Now you need to find a mug. It needs to be at least 400 mL (14 oz) so when the cake bakes it does not overflow the edges. You can serve your dessert right in the mug but if you want to serve the cake on a plate, grease the inside of the mug with a bit of oil and choose a mug with straight side so the cake comes out easily after baking.
  • Place the batter into the mug and add the tablespoon of peanut butter. Try to bury the peanut butter into the chocolate batter.
  • Cook in the microwave for one minute on high. Let it sit for one minute and then cook it again for one minute. It will be very hot so take care when removing it from the microwave. Let it cool for at least five minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake from the mug with a knife and turn it onto a serving plate. Cut it open and let the peanut butter melt onto the plate for an impressive look! Serve with a little ice cream, whipped cream, or just as is!

Enjoy the holidays! Give this chocolatey mug cake a try and share it with others! Some of the best memories happen around food!

Judy April

About Judy April

Judy works in Dawson Creek as a dietitian. A true northerner, she grew up just 75 km away in Fort St. John. She still wonders why the winters are so long but seems to forget when the long summer days arrive and she can go out in her garden at 10 o’clock at night without a flashlight! She’s a person who loves variety in life and at the table!

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