I can spend hours browsing through Japanese grocery stores since they always have some fun, interesting creation I’ve never seen before. I can’t read a word of Japanese, but luckily they often put large pictures on the package to tell you what’s inside. On a recent trip to the JAS Mart in the East Village, I was walking down the tea aisle and found a brightly colored row of boxes with little cup cakes on it. It literally showed a cake in a cup, and based on the picture directions on the back, it looked like you could make it in the microwave in less than two minutes.
Unsure I was interpreting the picture directions correctly, I asked the clerk behind the counter to translate for me. Sure enough, you pour the mix in the cup, stir in one egg and microwave for 1 – 2 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. It came in several flavors like lemon, lime, vanilla and chocolate. Impressed by this nicely packaged, novel product, I paid the $2 and took the chocolate variety home with me.
By American standards my microwave is average strength (1200 watts) so I figured I would try microwaving it for 1.5 minutes, in the middle of the suggested time range. What I didn’t realize is that the times were given for 500w and 600w microwaves, so I would have been better off cooking it for one minute (or less). Even though I overcooked my cup cake, it was still moist and edible. It had the consistency of a sponge cake, very light and fluffy but difficult to cut with a fork. The chocolate flavor was subtle (the color was no where near as dark as the picture) and I had to fight my American instincts to pour chocolate syrup over it. It was a fun thing to try, but I think I’ll stick with the British cake-in-a-can if I want a good, microwavable cake in the future.
35 E. St. Marks Pl. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.)
New York, NY
Hours: Sun-Thur 11:00am-11:00pm, Fri & Sat 11:00am-Midnight