Warm Winter Recipes

By Samantha Gillis

Courtesy of Samantha Gillis

Mug Cake

I’m not sure when the 5 minute mug cake first hit the internet but it’s been floating around for a while. I was hesitant at first but after seeing so many different, delicious looking variations I decided I might as well try the basic chocolate. Here’s the thing with these mug cakes, they’re easy, they’re quick, and they leave almost nothing to clean up. They are also cake made in a mug and cooked in a microwave so you’re not going to get anything too great, but if you really need a chocolate fix, here’s an easy way to get it. If this version doesn’t do it for you there are literally hundreds out there with most of the same basic ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need

-4 tablespoons flour
-4 tablespoons sugar
-2 tablespoons cocoa
-1 egg
-3 tablespoons milk
-3 tablespoons oil
-½ teaspoon vanilla extract
-chocolate chips
-1 large mug


1. Mix together all the dry ingredients in the mug
2. Mix in egg
3. Add milk and oil and mix well
4. Add vanilla extract and as many chocolate chips as you want
5. Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes. The cake will rise over the top if the mug you’re using is short.

The cake will be super hot when it comes out so just let it sit for a minute or two. You can eat it like that right out of the mug or tip it out and onto a plate. I drizzled chocolate syrup over mine because on its own it was a bit dry and this helped to moisten it up. Ice cream on top would probably do that same thing.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
I’m not a fan of coffee. Black tea is my hot beverage of choice. However, on a recent trip to Amherst center, I entered a Starbucks for the first time in my life. A line quickly queued up behind me, and as I stepped to the front of the line the pressure was on to order. I picked the first thing I saw written on the chalkboard, a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Excellent choice. Or more of a random reading of words than choice, but none the less excellent. Since it’s fall, I’m inclined to enjoy all things pumpkin, and the pumpkin spice latte is a new favorite of mine. On my next journey to Starbucks I ordered the same thing being the creature of habit that I am. The only problem I’ve found with my new favorite drink is the fact that it’s a seasonal drink and isn’t on the menu year round. Fortunately, I came across a recipe from inspiredtaste.net for a homemade pumpkin spice latte! When done right it tastes just like the Starbucks version. Now you (and I) can enjoy the joy that is a pumpkin spice latte all year long! 

Here is what you’ll need to make 2 servings

-2 cups of milk
-2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin puree
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-½ teaspoon pumpkin spice mix*
-½ cup strong hot coffee
-whipped cream for added decoration and calories

*If you don’t have pumpkin spice you can easily make it with common household spices. To make 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix together ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

1. Add milk, canned pumpkin, and sugar to a medium saucepan and turn heat on medium to heat up the ingredients while you mix them. Don’t let them boil. You can add more sugar to this if you don’t like the taste of coffee or are just looking for something really sweet.
2. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla pumpkin spice, and coffee. Mix well making sure the spices dissolve as much as possible.
3. And that’s it! Pour into two large mugs and add whipped cream and a pinch or pumpkin spice if you want to get really fancy.
Samantha Gillis can be reached for comment at [email protected]