My Last Mug Cake

Some people bake in their free time. I’m not talking about a career (here’s to you, Southpaw Sweets–keep on doing what you’re doing). I’m talking about a hobby. Like they’ll find themselves in a moment of “what should I do now?” and they decide, “I should go to the kitchen, mix and measure things, put the mixture into a hot oven, and create something edible.” It doesn’t even have to be for a reason. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not one of those people.

I don’t mind cooking. I’ve always tried recipes that are on the simple side if  they seem healthy and yummy. I’ve even created mt own dishes a time or two. Twice, I made stuffed shells–once for a dinner party and once for a family holiday. I don’t hate the kitchen, but I don’t find myself in there when I’m thinking about how to spend some fun time.

Twice I’ve used a deep fryer. Once was during Christmas time when I volunteered to make the frittamiste, and it took all day, and I’ll never do it again. The other time was when I attempted to make fried Oreos, and they came out okay, but never again because no one needs to make fried Oreos. That’s what fairgrounds are for.

I surprised myself when I decided to find a recipe that would be kind of like a dessert but also kind of healthy. I’ve been doing a modified Whole 30 because my body is too acidic/pitta/inflamed since the Physical Therapy Tore My Labrum incident (by the way, I’m 100% sure both are torn. One is diagnosed, but both have the same symptoms, so thanks Bob who couldn’t remember which knee he was working on. I’m really enjoying the limp). Plus, since I haven’t been able to work out the past two months the way I’m used to working out — high impact aerobics and kickboxing balanced with weight toning and yoga / yogalates / PiYo–I have to seriously curb my eating. The Great Cellulite Invasion 2017 has already begun, accompanied by The Incredibly Stretching Stretch Marks. I like to eat healthy, and the Whole 30 recipes I have are delicious and filling. Still, I like to have a snack every now and then, and a handful of nuts goes only so far.

Onto the interwebs! I found an easy recipe for a mug cake that uses coconut flour and vanilla extract. It’s paleo but not exactly Whole 30 because of the extract. Still, close enough. It’s not like I’m going to eat a mug cake every hour on the hour. I had most of the ingredients. I knew it might be a bit dry because I didn’t have coconut milk, but I had all the other wet ingredients, so I went into baking mode.

The best thing about mug cake is that it bakes in the microwave. I got a large mug, mixed the dry ingredients, whisked in the wet ingredients, and put it in the microwave. It smelled good as it baked. The microwave beeped. I took it out. It was cake like but also crumbly.


No raw egg in sight means it’s edible. So I started eating it. As expected, it was dry. It was also kind of bland but sometimes also a hint of salty. And sometimes a hint of coconut but grainy coconut.

Then my mouth started burning. I’m not talking about temperature. I’m talking about, like, you know when you scrape the top of your mouth with scratchy toast and then drink orange juice? Or, like, when you rinse your mouth with peroxide and you feel that chemical sensation? Yeah, so that, but only like also almost dying and for the rest of the day on the sides of my tongue, all around my gums, the roof of my mouth, and into my throat. Basically, I thought I’d poisoned myself. I threw out the cake.

This lasted until bedtime. The next morning, the ordeal had subsided. Also having subsided is my thinking that a handful of nuts will go only so far.

How Many George Martins

A few years ago, Grillfire gave me cotton candy. Grillfire is a George Martin restaurant. I don’t know much about George Martin, but I do know that he’s got good ideas because cotton candy makes people happy. George Martin has several restaurants with different names, and I decided that the one with the steak was perfect for Eddie’s birthday. I made reservations through Open Table and then on the night of, we headed over to Rockville Centre.

On the drive, I handed my phone over to Eddie and was like, Hey, um, look up George Martin The Original because I don’t know the address. I knew it was in RVC and then realized that knowing the town wasn’t really knowing where exactly it was. We swerved around in the rain for a bit until finally realizing we’d passed it. Score for us–we found parking right on the block.

Out of the car, into the rain, we came right up to the place and I was like, Omigod, this was Grillfire. It had now become a different George Martin restaurant. There was no sign of cotton candy. I didn’t know if it would appear. Maybe George Martin used to have good ideas.

I gave the hostess my name and she didn’t have our reservation. I had changed the time so maybe it got lost somehow. She went to seat us and then mentioned she could call over to the other restaurant to make sure we didn’t get a no-show if our reservation was for there.

Say what? What other restaurant?

Oh, okay, so there’s another restaurant called George Martin The Original that’s two blocks down on the same street in the same town. We were in George Martin Club Steak, which serves steak and other meats but is not the steakhouse George Martin The Original.

Hey, George Martin. Bad idea, sir. Very bad idea.

I’m guessing this happens all the time because the hostess quickly gave us directions on how to walk to the other restaurant as if she gives them all the time. Out into the rain we went, puddles seeping into my suede boots, Eddie clutching me, practically carrying me across the highway and down the streets.

We made it! We walked in! I gave the hostess my name.

She didn’t have a reservation. She asked, Are you sure you’re not supposed to be down the street at…?

I didn’t let her finish. Dripping wet, I was like, Nope, they just told us to come here.

She looked again for me because she didn’t want me to lose my points. Apparently, open table gives you points. I didn’t know I had points, and then I wondered where my points were from the last time I’d used it. I like free stuff. I want these points.

She indulged me by looking at the original time for the reservation and couldn’t find it. Then I thought a moment. Hey, can you try Rau instead? And there it was. Ah, the drawbacks of having two names.

The rainy walk didn’t damper our spirits, especially since we felt like we were in some sort of 20s gangster speakeasy. I don’t know if that’s what they’re going for, but it should be. We ordered quickly, and Eddie suggested I get wine because it’s a special occasion. I ordered one of the two wines of the day and it was a red wine, which I don’t drink, but I drank it because it was also eleven dollars. The wines I drink at home usually are eleven dollars a bottle, so I was being all fancy. And drunk. After two sips, I was reeling.

His steak was good. My shrimp was delicious. Like so very delicious. We also ate bread. Mmm, bread. And the bread had three spreads. Mmm, spreads. Breads and spreads equate to heaven. Yep, we fancy.

We ordered dessert because it was his birthday even though he didn’t like the desserts on the menu and he’d planned to go to my parents’ house so they could give him brownies. His birthday, his rules. I got a flourless chocolate something or other, and because I’d written on the reservation that it was my husband’s birthday, they’d put a candle in it.

George Martin, you’ve redeemed yourself, sir.

The server also put down a plate of lemon squares and was like, This is also for your birthday. Enjoy!

George Martin, I Heart You.

Even though he wasn’t eating it, Eddie pulled the cake towards him to blow out the candle. And he did. And he sat there, unaware of the world around him. And I was like, Umm, you wanna take a look at what you just did? And he was like, What? And I was like, Do you not notice all the powdered sugar now all over the table and all over your suit?

Because he thinks one candle necessitates gale-force winds, he’d blown out the candle and also blown the sugar all over the place. The two of us wiped down the table and his jacket through practical tears, and I finished off my wine and ate half the cake and a square.

Back to the car in the rain and then off to my parents’ house for his dessert. And for some Fun With Saints. Because I had a wine-buzz going, and because a peregrine is a falcon, I figured St. Peregrine could fly. See?


He also looks like Batman

Fast forward a week: to finish up the birthday celebration, I take Eddie bowling with a few of his friends. He has a request: Bake me a yellow cake with chocolate icing.

I’ve baked cakes before with him. I’ve never baked a cake on my own. Sure, I was using a box, but still, it’s not unintimidating. I followed the instructions except since I didn’t have vegetable oil, I used grapeseed oil. As I was mixing it, I was pretty sure the consistency wasn’t exactly what it should be.

After 23 minutes, the minimum bake time, I opened the oven. The top was baked over, but the cake was jiggling like Jell-O. I kept saying over and again, This is so wrooong. I put it in for five more minutes. Clean toothpick. Took it out. Let it cool. Prayed over it. Let it cool more. Iced it. Covered it. Prayed some more.

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Later on, we ate it. And it was good. It wasn’t cotton candy, but it was really good.