One of the biggest challenges I found on tour with kids was birthdays or other celebration-worthy days. You can't skip a kid's birthday, and they want a cake. And cakes, from the store, are SO expensive--and usually nasty. We never could justify the cost--touring is expensive, and we're lucky if we bring home enough to pay the mortgage on our house at the end of two weeks.
The other thing I've noticed when we're on tour is that sometimes we just want a good old-fashioned home-cooked dessert, minus the artificial colors, preservatives, and overabundance of sugar. And sometimes I just want to bake.
So I finally found a good, easy MICROWAVEABLE cupcakes recipe, which also works for cake, and which is unbelievably fast.
One of the keys to cooking in a hotel room is keeping in mind that cleanup is not easy, and that we have to carry in anything we want to use, so we have limited kitchen tools on hand (only one glass bowl, for example). Almost everything we have must be disposable, and the fewer dishes we have to wash at the end of the day, the better. Also, we've discovered that hotel sinks are small and shallow, and many dishes don't even fit in them, which complicates washing and therefore cooking.
While almost everything needs to be disposable, we've also found that we have to keep garbage to a minimum--hotel rooms don't have large trash cans for a family of 8 to use.
This recipe uses minimal equipment, basic ingredients, and is easy. And it tastes good. Instead of frosting, top the cake/cupcakes with a scoop of ice cream or cool whip. Hotels all have different rules about fire in the rooms, but we figure if they don't get mad when people smoke in rooms (and they don't, no matter what their official policy is), they won't even notice if you light a birthday candle and then blow it out.
Cone Cupcakes/ Bowl Cake
10-12 ice cream cones, flat bottom kind
3 tbsp cocoa powder
½ c butter
½ c water
1 c flour
1 c sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ c buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt (or milk with 1 tsp lemon juice in it)
1 tsp vanilla
Put butter, water, and cocoa powder in glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave it again if the butter needs more time to melt, and stir again. Add, in this order and without stirring until the end, sugar, flour, soda, and salt. Stir well. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir for 1-2 minutes, until mixed. At this point, you can stick it in the microwave and cook it until it looks dry on top (I haven't done the whole batch before, so I don't know how long it takes. But 1 c in a small cereal bowl cooks in about 2 minutes). Or, spoon it into flat-bottomed ice cream cones (The kind that say “cake cones” on the box), filling to an inch of the top. Microwave for 1-1 ½ minutes (no longer, I caught one on fire microwaving it 2 ½ minutes). They're done when they look dry on top.
Now you can have a birthday party, and, if you use the ice cream cones, almost no cleanup OR garbage to throw away.