December 16th, 2010
03:15 PM ET

How To Hack a Cake

I consider myself a good cook. But baking is a whole different story. Still, when News Stream needed a “30 second chocolate cake” I jumped at the chance to make it. Cooking and calling it “work” sounded like the perfect day.

I didn’t have the nifty gadget needed to aerate the batter but was going to borrow one at work. I still wanted to try a microwave cake recipe before I got to the office, though. So I found this one from the “Cooking for Geeks” book club blog.

It was super easy. A few packets of hot chocolate, some flour and sugar, plus some oil, water and an egg. It didn’t look like much at first… but three minutes later, it seriously could’ve passed for soufflé.

The “30 second” recipe was a bit trickier. Instead of instant cocoa, I had to melt a dark chocolate bar. No oil or water in this one… but by the time I stirred in the flour, sugar and eggs, my batter was a bit lumpy.

Here’s what I learned: “strain mixture” is not a suggestion. I failed to plan for that step of the recipe and had to settle for what sort-of passed as a strainer, found in the office kitchen cabinet. But my batter still didn’t come out right. In fact, it wouldn’t come out of the whipped cream canister at all!

After much shaking (and swearing) a little dribbled out. I cooked it anyway, just to see what would happen. It's in that little red robot. Definitely not pretty enough for TV. The one in the white ramekin got air time instead.

If you watched News Stream on Thursday then you know what happened next. The beautiful “3 minute" cake had hardened into a brick. I tasted it after the show and it was kind of oily, too. Bummer.

But the “30 second cake” was delicious! It had a silky texture, like a flourless chocolate torte. Please give it a try and tell us how it turns out (recipe after the video). And for some help "hacking" the rest of your holiday feast, check out Kristie's interview with author Jeff Potter.

Jeff kindly let us share his recipe for 30 second chocolate cake. He also sent this bit of advice: Some whippers can only work with cream, so make sure you get one that's suitable for foams, espumas, etc. Not sure which kind I had... but now you know!


4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate

4 large eggs

6 tablespoons (80 grans) sugar

3 tablespoons (25 grams) flour


1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Let cool.

2. Whisk in eggs, sugar and flour until smooth.

3. Pass the mixture through a strainer.

4. Transfer to a whipper; pressurize.

5. Spray mixture into a greased, microwave-safe ramekin, leaving at least the top third of the container empty.

6. Microwave until the foam has set, about 30 seconds.

To serve, flip onto a plate and dust with confectioners' sugar.

For better-tasting  results: Try adding Nutella or Marshmallow Fluff. Spray a thin layer of cake batter in the container; drop a spoonful of filling into the center. Spray more cake batter on top of and around the filling.

soundoff (2 Responses)

    Thanks for the chocolate cake recipe.
    My story my little experience as
    makers as well as selling a variety of cakes.
    14 kinds of grilled and steamed brownies, Pie,
    Breads, Pizza and assorted
    pastries (th2000-2004)
    Because the accident and the top left hand was broken,
    it is no longer the product.

    January 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  2. Rezarahmadani

    Molten Lava Chocolate Cake RecipeBecause so many people love mint choltcaoe lava cake, we’ve included a variation with this recipe. * 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet choltcaoe, chopped * 4 large eggs * bd pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped * 4 tablespoons unbleached all- purpose flour * bd cup sugar * 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg* * bd teaspoon ground cinnamon—or for a mint version, substitute 1bc teaspoons peppermint extract for the cinnamon * Whipped cream for garnish (1 pint heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract) * Raspberries and mint leaves for garnish (optional)*We use a nutmeg grinder and a fresh nut; you also can use the nut with a plane grater.Preheat the oven to 350b0F. Grease eight 4-ounce cake molds or ramekins.Over a double boiler, melt the choltcaoe and butter, stirring constantly. Once they are completely melted, set aside and cool.Combine the sugar and eggs and whisk until pale and fluffy. Stir the choltcaoe mixture into the egg mixture until completely blended. Whisk in the flour, nutmeg and cinnamon and mix well. Pour the batter into the cake molds and bake for 14 minutes at 350b0F. While the cakes are baking you can whip the cream. To one pint heavy cream add 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar as the cream begins to thicken, plus 1 teaspoon vanilla and a few grains salt. Unsweetened or barely-sweetened whipped cream is also delicious, so feel free to reduce the sugar or add none at all.Remove the lava cakes from the oven and cool for 2 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, invert the molds onto individual dessert plates, garnish with raspberries and mint leaves and serve immediately. We prefer to pass the whipped cream in a bowl so guests can help themselves to the amount they prefer.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:30 am | Reply

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