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The microwave oven is generally used for leftovers and TV dinners, but have you ever thought about making cakes or omelets in the microwave? These foods may actually cook better in the microwave than by other heating methods.

Microwave ovens cook food by converting electrical energy into microwaves, which cause food molecules to move back and forth. The friction from the molecules rubbing against each other produces heat. You may have heard that microwaves cook food from the inside out. Actually, microwaves can only penetrate about 1 inch in depth. The heat created is then slowly conducted to the center. Therefore, the thicker the food, the longer it takes to cook.

Foods that need moisture generally microwave well. Eggs will not brown, and cakes may be more tender in the microwave. However, if a crisp crust or dry surface is essential to the recipe, then it will be more satisfactory when conventionally cooked.

Always start cooking for the shortest time indicated, and check the food every few minutes to ensure that it is not overcooked. This also allows you to stir, rotate or turn the food upside down to promote more even cooking.


Caramel-Topped Oatmeal Cake (Printable PDF)


½ cup water

½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats

½ cup brown sugar

? cup canola oil

¼ cup honey

2 eggs

? cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg


? cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons margarine

¼ cup nuts, chopped

2 tablespoons skim milk

Microwave water in a glass measuring cup for 2 minutes or until boiling. Stir in oats and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, blend together brown sugar, oil, and honey. Beat in eggs. Add oatmeal mixture, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Grease bottom of an 8-by-8-inch-square microwave-safe baking dish. Pour batter into dish; spread evenly. Microwave at 50 percent power for 9 minutes, rotating dish twice if no turntable. Then microwave on high for 1½ to 2 minutes or until no longer doughy, rotating dish once. Set aside.

Combine topping ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave on high for 2½ to 3 minutes until bubbly, stirring once or twice midway through. Spoon over warm cake, and spread evenly.

Yield: 9 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving: 280 calories, 15 grams fat, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 220 milligrams sodium, 32 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams protein