Early in my marriage, I made Valentine’s Day a total production. I’d plan a four-course meal with all the bells and whistles, and admittedly, this was awfully stressful. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s okay to be a little less ambitious, and that spending time together should always be the main focus.
Nowadays we enjoy dinner at our favorite little Italian place, but I always insist on making dessert—it’s my specialty! This year, I’m forgoing fancy soufflés and opting for a more time-savvy treat. This mug cake takes only a minute to make in the microwave and it’s certainly indulgent enough for a Valentine’s Day dessert. It makes two generous servings, and a few special toppings will make it a treat for the eyes, too!
To begin, place 6 tablespoons Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake mix in a medium bowl. Now, you could use yellow cake mix too, but the white really shows off the pretty pink strawberry color best.
Whisk in the egg, milk and vegetable oil.
In a small cup, dissolve the gelatin in the hot water.
Whisk into the cake batter.
Lightly grease two 14- to 16-ounce mugs with vegetable oil using a paper towel. Divide cake batter evenly between the two mugs. You’ll end up with a scant 1/2 cup in each mug.
Microwave mugs at full power (100%) for 30 seconds. Let stand for 5 seconds. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds at full power. Let stand 5 seconds. Cake is done when a toothpick tester comes out clean.
Gently poke several holes in each mug cake using a skewer or knife.
For the cream syrup, whisk together the two milks and microwave for 30 seconds, or until hot. Whisk in gelatin.
And now, my favorite part! Pour half of the cream sauce over each cake. Let cake stand for 2 minutes or until cream syrup is absorbed. This makes the cake super moist and flavorful!
While you’re waiting on the syrup to soak in, you can make a decorative fanned strawberry garnish. You’ll need a big, fresh strawberry with the cap intact. Use a knife to cut the strawberry flesh lengthwise into five to six slices, but take care not to cut through the cap.
Pinch the strawberry at the cap to fan.
Top each cake with 1/4 cup whipped topping, drizzle with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup and garnish with the fanned strawberry.
Further garnish with two chocolate sticks, if desired.
Serve immediately and refrigerate leftovers (though it’s likely there won’t be any!).