Microwave Cake Bake Off
Words Emily Connelly
At OXO, we are designers, we are innovators, we are creators, and – above all else – we are enthusiastic snackers (well, maybe not above all else). Our goal is to make tools that make your everyday life better, and that includes snacktime. So when we overheard OXOnians talking about snacking on microwave mug cakes, our ears perked up. We thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what OXO tools you can use to make a cake in the microwave?” And then, because of our intrinsic need to not only make things well but make them better, we thought we’d make it into a competition to find which products work, and which work best.
We scoured the internet until we found this recipe for a single-serve microwave chocolate mug cake, which we made our control variable; though the vessel in which the cake was cooked was subject to change, the ingredients didn’t vary, thus providing the judges with an unbiased lens.
We asked four OXOnians to help us put our products to the test (it wasn’t hard to convince them once we mentioned that chocolate cake would be involved):
- Ilana, resident microwave expert and product manager on our suite of microwave cooking tools
- Lindsay, our Brand Communications director who, until we conducted this test, hadn’t met a cake she didn’t like
- Rebecca, one of our two fabulous copywriters and self-proclaimed terrible baker
- Eric, our category sales manager, who is known throughout the office for his culinary creations, especially those involving bacon
Since microwave mug cakes are designed to be cooked in a mug (what’s in a name?), the judges all agreed that the Silicone Squeeze & Pour Measuring Cup had the most potential for victory. After all, if it looks like a cup, it probably cooks like a cup. And since the Silicone Squeeze & Pour is designed with the microwave in mind, it seemed safe to assume that this cake would come out on top.
But because we love precision and evidence, we decided to put five OXO products to the mug cake making test. We had each of our judges taste the cakes and assess them on four categories: texture, doneness, Instagramability, and flavor profile.
Here are the results:
Eric: Eric is not a fan of the previously favored measuring cup as a cake cooking tool, and he gave this one 2’s across the board. He explained, “The cake looks dry, and this might be the least appetizing.” 2/5
Lindsay: The first thing she noticed? The chocolate chips on top of the cake didn’t look “melty” enough, which carried through to the rest of her review. A little bit dry on the top, Lindsay said this particular cake could best be described as “weird looking,” and gave her lowest Instagramability score. 3/5
Ilana: The phrase, “Clumpy and crumbly like a sand pile” does not exactly serve as a glowing food review, and yet that’s exactly how Ilana articulated the texture of this cake. She went on to say she was not impressed and it was “very overcooked.” 1/5
Rebecca: When asked about the texture of this iteration of our cake, Rebecca said, “Dry.” When asked about the flavor, her response was the same. However, despite her lack of enthusiasm for actually eating the cake, she gave it a 4 on Instagramability. The bottom line? According to Rebecca, this cake is probably best if it only exists as a picture on your phone. 2/5
Lindsay: Another fan of this cake on the ‘gram was Lindsay, who also ranked the Microwave Egg Cooker cake as a 4 on Instagramability for being “cool looking.” However, she then went on to describe the texture and doneness as “burnt, crunchy and dry,” and gave the flavor profile an “eh.” 2/5
Ilana: Ever the diplomat, Ilana described this cake as “tasting a bit browned,” which we think might just be a synonym for burnt. She went on to say it was “dry, a little too airy, and might be a bit overcooked.” 3/5
Lindsay: When Lindsay first met this one, she was excited to dig in – “the cake looks awesome and moist,” she observed looking through the glass. Unfortunately, looks may have been deceiving, and the cake fell flat and dry. 3/5
Rebecca: Though the cake had a fluffy top and moist bottom, the dryness and Instagramability weren’t cutting it for Rebecca. 3/5
Ilana: Agreeing with Lindsay, Ilana exclaimed that “the sides look awesome,” but upon eating it, Ilana thought it might have been zapped for a little too long. 4/5
Glass Prep Bowl (coming to OXO.com soon!)
Eric: Eric was not pulling his phone out to snap pictures of this cake, and he also wasn’t going in for seconds. It was too dry for his liking. 1/5
Lindsay: The fluffy look of the cake got Lindsay excited, but in the end, the cake was too dry and overdone. 3/5
Ilana: Ilana was not a fan of the crumbly texture the Glass Prep Bowl created, nor the unusual taste the cake took on in the microwave. 2/5
Eric: The “cuteness” factor was off the charts for this little guy, and so was the flavor profile, according to Eric. He tasted strong notes of chocolate and loved the texture. 5/5
Rebecca: Agreeing with Eric, Rebecca noticed that because of the small size, the doneness was “perfect” throughout the cake. 5/5
Lindsay: Another fan of the Instagramability of the Baking Cups, Lindsay thought these were “so cute” and she’d even eat it again!. 4.5/5
When it came down to it, we had a clear winner – the Silicone Baking Cups make the best microwave cakes. The other contestants are strong in other parts of the kitchen, but we’ll leave the microwave cake to the baking cups. They’re “so cute” and the perfect size when you need a quick chocolate fix!