Monday, June 10, 2013

Product Review: Shirley J Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Mug Cake

[Product Review]: Shirley J Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Mug Cake



Overall:

Overall I recommend the mug cake, specifically the Chocolate Brownie Mug Cake, mix from Shirley J.  

The cake is quick, it's so easy, requires no specialized equipment (except a microwave) and little to no skill to make.  Even those of you who hate cooking and baking or who fear you're no good at it can make this mug cake from Shirley J with great ease and great results.  Seriously.  A great, single-portion cake in a little over a minute.  What's not to like about that?

I also think it's a boon to those of you out there who don't have celiac disease yourselves, but who have family or friends that do.  You'll really make your family member / friend/ co-worker with celiac a happy camper if you can make or gift them their own individual, GF cake so that they can enjoy dessert along with everybody else!


PROS:

So fast, so easy:  Takes only about two minutes to open the package, whisk in the water and add the chocolate chips.  Cooks in 90seconds in the microwave.

Low energy requirements:  Requires only 90 seconds in the microwave versus hours of baking in a conventional oven.  This is especially nice if you're in a hot climate and are paying to cool your home--turning the oven on is always painful in that situation.

No special equipment required: All you need is the mix, additional chocolate chips, a fork, water, a tablespoon, a microwave, and microwaveable mug.  These are all very common household items, even for people without full or well equipped kitchens (like college students).

Taste: Cake is very moist and the chocolate flavor is there. 

Versatility:  The flavor profile of the mix could easily be slightly varied with a dash of vanilla, cinnamon, orange oil, or espresso powder.  You could also probably easily add walnuts or pecans, marshmallows, or coconut to the mix in small proportions.  You can also serve the cake with frosting, ice cream, or whipped cream.  Or, you can do like me and eat it with a big mug--yes another mug--of almond milk.

Individual Portioning:  Individual portioning makes it easy to satisfy your sweet tooth without getting sucked into eating or getting rid of a multi-portion sized cake.

Great Gift Idea: The mugging kit, which includes a microwaveable mug and 1 pack of mug-cake costs around $15.  The mugging kit would make a great gift for a GF friend, co-worker, or relative and is in a good price range for moderate to low-cost gifting.


CONS:

Additional Ingredients: 1/4 cup chocolate chips called for by mix is NOT included.

Texture:  Nice and moist, but has a grainier mouth-feel than a traditional cake.  The same is true of almond-flour based cakes and some others using non-traditional flours.  This is really a mild "con," as the texture is merely slightly different rather than poor or unappetizing.

Cost: If you buy 1 packet of Shirley J's mug cake the mix runs you about $3.  The more economical way to buy is to purchase a 5-pack of a single flavor for $12.95.

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