Is this the world’s best microwave-mix cake? Microwave cake mixes don’t always deliver the pleasurable, convenient experience consumers hope for. Now, food manufacturers can take advantage of ingredients producer Palsgaard’s latest research results to develop an entirely new level of cake quality with comparatively few ingredients. Interview with Lasse Kolding Sørensen, Application Technologist, Palsgaard A/S NEW INTEREST IN MICROWAVE BAKING If you’re in touch with consumer cake markets, you’ve probably noticed that the use of microwave ovens to produce cakes and similar food in a convenient format is finally gaining a foothold. While just-add-water or similarly simplified cake mixes for both conventional and microwave ovens have had their ups and downs for decades, it now seems that the microwave is being viewed with less scepticism than before. In fact, recent trends such as “mugging” or “cake-in-a-mug” – preparing various ingredients in a single-serve coffee mug then placing it in a microwave oven – are hot topics among cake lovers, who avidly swap recipes on their favourite social media sites. Even El Bulli, the Michelin 3-star restaurant voted the world’s best no fewer than five times, has served a 30-second microwave sponge cake for its guests. BUT IS IT A CAKE? Encouraged by these developments, cake mix manufacturers are climbing on the band wagon with ranges designed to exploit this new market potential. But, while microwave cakes based on “real” ingredients can often produce something that closely resembles an oven-baked product, few of the mix products have the same degree of success. In fact, consumers experimenting with the new mixes are all too often disappointed by the result. Typically, it seems, they’re rewarded with something that lacks the consistency of oven-based cakes and which quickly dries out. It’s just, well, not a cake.
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