The Chopping Block

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Does anyone else find themselves watching hours of the Food Network show Chopped like I do? If you don’t- you’re doing something wrong. Let me catch you up to speed in case you’re unfamiliar with the show. It begins with four contestant and three rounds. At the beginning of each round each cook is given a box of four unknown ingredients. Usually there’ll be something bizarre among the four items- such as livers, sour candy or potato chips in the dessert round. Contestants must create a dish in 30 minutes (20 minutes for the appetizer round) using all of the ingredients in the basket. After each round, someone is let go (aka they face the chopping block) and doesn’t continue onto the next round.

Every once in awhile there will be a special edition of Chopped. Such as Chopped Teen Challenge or Chopped All-Stars. Now, if you’re familiar with the chefs of Food Network (which then you wouldn’t need this recap and probably already know what I’m about to say) you know who Michael Symon is. Symon is a James-Beard Award winning celebrity chef, who I first remember coming onto the scene in an Iron Chef challenge (another TV show for another day). Anyway, Symon appeared on an episode of Chopped All-Stars a couple of years ago and made a mug cake in the final dessert round. Now, this would probably be a really good time to let you know whether or not Symon won the round with his mug cake, but, due to the fact that I am unusually forgetful today as I am slowly starting to recover from my weekend in San Francisco, I cannot remember if he won or not. BUT! I do remember his mug cake. And how much the judges loved devouring his quick microwavable dessert.

Mug cakes could not be simpler, and are literally the perfect late night snack. Essentially, you use a mug as a mixing bowl and combine similar ingredients that you would find in your average cake recipe and then pop it in the microwave to “bake.” SO EASY. And, as if my introduction on Michael Symon and mug cakes wasn’t enough to convince you that this is the treat you should plan on making tonight, there’s one more perk- every cake you make is the perfect single-serving size. Hello portion control.

Here are some fantasticly sweet mug cake recipes I found on Pinterest that I wanted to share with you. But don’t let this be the end of the road! Pinterest is filled with so many mug cake recipes and varieties, and if you’re anything like me than I can almost guarantee you will not meet a mug cake you don’t like.

This Nutella Mug Cake by Kirbie’s Cravings only has three ingredients!!! Nutella, egg and cocoa powder. So. Simple. And so luxurious.

Personally, I am a big fan of coconut cake. The only problem with coconut cake is it’s not always easy to come by. Either you make your own fancy 11-layer coconut cream cake, or you hope to find it on a dessert menu every once in a blue moon. OR you make your own in a mug! In less than 10 minutes nonetheless. This coconut mug cake, also by Kirbie’s Cravings (Kirbie must really crave the mug cakes), has a few more ingredients than the previous recipe but it looks SOOOO DELICIOUS! Please, for the sake of your tastebuds, click the link and see how glorious this cake looks and make it now. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Sometimes I find myself craving something sweet that’s not too sweet. And for such occasions, I would definitely turn to this honey mug cake by Sweet 2 Eat Baking. She includes a frosting recipe, as does the coconut recipe above, but if I were looking for something lighter, I would just leave it out. However, I’m sure making the frosting would not be a bad idea.

I hope you guys enjoy these recipes, and make one asap!!