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The pros: The recipes work and they make 2 individual sized cakes - great for those of us who are on perpetual diets and need built in portion control; They're fast. You can have your cake and eat it, too, in less than 20 minutes. Exactly what you need for those late night "I will kill someone if I don't have chocolate now!" cravings. Great for young kids since the oven isn't needed. Even better for college dorm denizens. The cons: These don't sit well. Like all microwave "baked" products, they get rubbery and tough the longer they sit. They need to be eaten immediately for best results. Any toppings, like icings, are going to melt, since, if you wait until your cakelet cools, you will have a rubbery tough cake. You don't save much time. You still need to gather, then put away ingredients, and you still need to do dishes, although you don't need to wash anything large like a stand mixer or beaters. It just seems to me like a lot of work to get everything together, then put everything away and clean up, all for 2 tiny cakes.
I plan to try the recipes again, but this time bake them using ramekins in a regular oven and a toaster oven to see how they come out. *Addendum: I tried them in the oven in ramekins, baked for 20 minutes at 350F. Perfect! Also, the recipes double very easily. I'm raising my review from 3 to 4 stars.
As with many cookbooks, this one is a starting point for the baker to take it and run his/her own learning course. In reading other reviews, ranging from "cakes were awful," to "cakes were delicious," I was curious what I would find. I've tried several recipes with mixed results, but blaming my interaction with my microwave more than the recipes. I've learned that working with a variable such as a microwave, cake results are going to be inconsistent. The baker has to be willing to experiment with baking times according to the microwave used. I started my mug cake recipe experiments with the lowest baking times suggested and found even those were too long for my microwave, a big, high-powered built-in model. Reducing the time and or the power, gave better results. I like the idea of making individual desserts and will be playing with more of these recipes in the microwave, and also giving them a try in a regular oven. Buy this book only if you're willing to consider it a starting point for your own mug cake experiments!
Overall, a good cookbook. This is one of several mug cake cookbooks I own, and one of the better ones. The use of one egg (which makes two cakes) really helps the taste and texture of the cakes. I've tried several recipes so far and been pleased. I do have a few caveats, though. First, since they are microwaved, they must be eaten immediately. This also means that icing can be an issue since it melts when applied to a hot/warm cake. Also, microwave cooking time can vary. Obviously you know this going in, but when 20 seconds or so can lead to an overcooked and rubbery cake, it takes some time to figure out what works best with your particular microwave and mugs.
Great gift for a camper or boater who may want a little sweet on the road but only has a microwave in which to make it. The ingredients are easy to find. This could be coupled with a set of mugs to make a nice hostess gift. I got it for my kindel so I don't even have to take the book with me. Paper holds moisture, not a good thing at sea.
The number of recipes in this book is really neat. There's something for almost everyone in here! My only complaints are 1) each recipe makes two servings, which is a bit inconvenient, and 2) every recipe takes eggs, and I'm not fond of putting eggs in things I know haven't necessarily been baked evenly (like in a microwave). Otherwise a cool idea that is well carried out!