Food You Can Eat: Mug Cake

Let them eat cake

Disclaimer: This is not my photo.

As a single person, reading recipes for luscious cakes is a massive FOMO trigger. I like cake, I want cake, but would I eat a whole cake? No, my sweet tooth is easily appeased and I also like my pants to fit. Every once in a while, I flirt with mug cake and an unsatisfying relationship it is, too. Rubbery cakes whose diminutive size is the only plus. I searched for a really good mug cake and finally hit the sweet spot. Here are 3 worth the 2 minutes it takes to toss them together, 2 chocolate and 1 vanilla, suitable for single people, families where everyone wants a different cake, or midnight snacking. Key things to remember are don’t over-bake (if it pulls away from the side of the mug it is overdone), mix just enough to make a smooth batter, and don’t burn yourself eating it straight from the microwave!

King Arthur Baking Keto Chocolate Mug Cake (adapted)

As written this is a keto friendly mug cake using keto flour. But I have a bag of self-rising flour and I read somewhere that self-rising flour makes the best mug cake. Oh look, it’s vegan!

3 tablespoons self-rising flour [to make it keto, 3 tablespoons keto flour, 1/8 tsp baking powder, 1/16 tsp salt, For Butcher: 1/8 tsp = a dash, 1/16 tsp = a pinch, you can buy actual measuring spoons labeled thusly, and of course I did]

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons cocoa

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon espresso powder [espresso powder enhances any chocolate recipe]

3 tablespoons water

Chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips (optional)

Mix all ingredients except chips in a cup, cup should be about ½ full, scatter chips on top

Microwave on high, 45 seconds to 1 minute

Let cool slightly, top if desired with whipped cream or ice cream or frosting, powdered sugar, crushed up heath bars would be amazing, whatever!


Chocolate Mug Cake Mix (makes 11 single serving mug cakes)

I love this idea to shave even more time off an already quick dessert.

1 cup self rising flour or (1 cup flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and a dash of salt)

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup dry milk powder

¼ cup cocoa

1 teaspoon espresso powder

Mix together and store in covered container.

To make 1 mug cake, mix in a cup:

4 tablespoons mug cake mix

2 tablespoons water

Sprinkle top with:

Baking chips of your choice, optional

Microwave on high 30-40 seconds. Let rest 2 minutes. Add your choice of toppings.

Vanilla Mug Cake

Vanilla cake, how boring, but what if you added lemon, lime or orange zest and topped with a citrus glaze? Cinnamon sugar? Espresso powder? Cajoled @Hannibal into giving up some canned peaches? It’s a good thing to have in the cooking arsenal.

¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons self rising flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter

3 tablespoons milk (plant based milk is fine) or 3 tablespoons water plus 1 teaspoon milk powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in cup, microwave on high 60 – 90 seconds. Let rest 2 minutes. Top as desired. The first time I made this I ate it plain for breakfast and it was really good. Oooh, I could have put maple syrup on top!



  1. …hmmm…maybe it’s worth rearranging things so that the microwave plug can reach a socket again

    …I never seem to use the thing so it’s on the wrong counter for that to be possible at present…but…that might have to change

    • I have mine on a surge protector, that helps, plus you can turn the power on and off, cutting down on phantom usage.

    • I don’t use my microwave often but it’s good for storing heated meat or whatever mid-prep, if the oven is turned on to make something else to accompany and otherwise unavailable.

      I also use it to liquefy butter if a recipe calls for it. Another use is if you don’t have a double boiler and want to make chocolate sauce. You can mimic a double boiler by heating up a saucepan with some water in it, then turn it down to a simmer, and then place a heat-resistant bowl on top and melt the chocolate, or chocolate chips, in that. That’s the best way to go, but for quickest results microwave for a minute or two, depending on quantity, making sure to stir every thirty seconds. The microwave does something to chocolate, even (or maybe especially) the best chocolate, so you have to give it a stir.

      • Baked potatoes. 8 minutes in microwave vs an hour in the oven.

        • Yes, but don’t wrap in tin foil, as an idiot friend of mine once did.

          Have you ever made mashed potatoes using a ricer to get the potatoes into, well, like a grainy rice form? They are the best. If you don’t have a ricer (I don’t) you can push the boiled potatoes through a sieve, which is what I do. Because why not make everything as labor-intensive and time consuming as possible?

          • I always use a ricer to make mashed potatoes. I picked mine up at a flea market and it’s that fantastic 1930’s green that reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen.

        • Microwave first, then put them in the oven so the skin get more like an actual baked potato.

  2. Those are most helpful recipes! A full cake is also too much for two people (or should be).

    • Invite me over. I’m not a great baker but I can make “semi-homemade” cakes. “In a 9″ springform pan…” and then it ends with “Serves 1.”

      • CousinM, standing invitation.

  3. I think it would be worth experimenting one day to see if it works to freeze a bigger batch of dough like you can with chocolate chip cookies and then cut off a chunk and zap when the mood hits.
    It probably works — if it works for cookies, it should work here — but sometimes freezing makes things janky.

    • It’s going to depend on the cake. You wouldn’t want to freeze something with whipped egg whites, the texture wouldn’t be the same.

  4. I don’t bake cakes often because then I eat them. But every once in a while I really want some cake. These will come in handy.

  5. Alright, cooking peeps, answer me a question.  I just had to get rid of my incredibly basic stove after 22 years.  The new stove is slightly less basic.  Do I bother with the convection oven feature?  When?

    • My home came with a Whirlpool convection oven and its fan is so loud! I read that that is normal. Not only is it loud while on, the fan stays on for a long time after the oven’s turned off (presumable to cool it). Which makes for annoying background noise at meal time.

  6. I’ve always been disappointed with the texture of mug cakes in the past, but I’d be interested in giving them another try. 

    • Me, too. I was pleasantly surprised when these turned out so well but I hadn’t used self-rising flour before. That and not overbaking seem to be key. You can bake them in a regular oven as well but I’m not sure of the timing.

  7. Our oven, new last year, came with a convection feature. It has a learning curve. I didn’t like it better than the regular oven, so if costs more, maybe do not bother?

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