Perhaps it's the physicist in me, but I love microwaves. Maybe it's playing with them and wave guides when I was a student. But their properties are pretty amazing and you can use them to generate amazing twists on classic dishes (like making a reverse Baked Alaska).
I love playing with microwaves and the way they cook food, just to push the envelope a little to see what's possible.
However, just to show that microwaves really can be used for baking and not just for re-hating or nuking baked potatoes, here is a classic recipe for a chocolate and nut cake that's adapted to be cooked in a microwave. What's even better is that it takes less than 10 minutes to cook!
Microwave Chocolate and Nut CakeServes:
Ingredients:125g (5 oz) dark dessert chocolate (at least 80% cocoa solids)
125g (5 oz) butter
125g (5 oz) sugar
50ml (1/5 cup) milk
80g (3 oz) plain flour
50g (2 oz) walnut halves, coarsely chopped
To Decorate:1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
a few walnut halves
Method:Break the chocolate into a bowl, add 1 tbsp water then set in your microwave and melt over full power for about 75 seconds.
Stir the chocolate until smooth then add the butter. Return to the microwave and cook for about 25 seconds, or until the butter has just melted. Beat with a metal whisk until smooth.
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and beat until the mixture is white. Now stir in the milk, followed by the chocolate mix. Sift over the flour and baking powder and fold into the liquid ingredients. Finally stir in the nuts.
Mix with a hand whisk then turn the batter into a greased and lined silicone loaf tin.
Place in your microwave and cook on full powder for between 5 and 6 minutes (depending on your microwave's rating). When the cake is cooked a skewer inserted into the centre will emerge cleanly.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate, melt the redcurrant jelly in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Spread this over the top of the cake and decorate with the hazelnuts.
If you would prefer to ice the cake, you can prepare a simple chocolate ganache by melting a little chocolate with some sunflower oil or butter in your microwave. Pour this over your cake whilst still warm. Garnish with the walnuts then allow to cool before slicing and serving.