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How to Make a Mug Cake – Plus 20 Recipes!

This is the best guide for learning how to make a mug cake! Get basic ingredients you’ll need on hand (and a recipe!) plus common substitutions. Also get 20 more mug cake recipes you’ll HAVE to try!

Make a Mug Cake - Chocolate with Powdered Sugar on Top

Mug cakes. I have a love/hate relationship with them. Love because they are so stinkin’ delicious, and hate because I want more.

But that is the whole reason to make a mug cake, isn’t it? So you don’t pig out on an even bigger dessert? That’s mine, anyway.

Another popular reason is because they take such a short amount of time to make, especially if you want one serving . . . no going through the motions to make an entire cake. You avoid messy cleanup.

And you can raid your cabinet for ingredients as opposed to driving to get something sweet. I love it.

What is a Mug Cake?

It’s is a single serving cake made in a ceramic mug and then cooked in the microwave. That’s it!

The whole purpose is that you can make a quick dessert with ingredients you likely already have AND that you can do it without an oven.

Homemade blueberry muffin in a mug with piece eaten out

How to Make a Mug Cake

This is where you get to raid your cabinet and see what you have to make your mug cakes. You’re always going to need the following ingredients so I recommend having them on hand should the need for sweets arise:

  1. Flour
  2. Sugar
  3. Baking powder (if you don’t use self rising flour)
  4. Salt (enhances the flavor)
  5. Flavoring – vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon
  6. Butter or oil

There are other optional ingredients as well such as eggs, milk, buttermilk, vinegar, and then toppings. Some mug cake recipes even use cake mix.

Besides ingredients, you’ll obviously need the mug and then a microwave. Mug cakes are made in a microwave and not in the oven. There’s no specific kind of mug you need to use – just one that is microwave safe.

Basic Mug Cake Recipe

Are you wondering how to make the best mug cake ever? I have a basic recipe for you below, with two variations (vanilla and chocolate). You’ll use this base recipe and then experiment from there.

Yield: 1 person

Mug Cake Recipe

Mug Cake Recipe

This is the best guide for learning how to make a mug cake! Get basic ingredients you'll need on hand (and a recipe!) plus common substitutions. Nutritional info is for the vanilla cake.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 pinch salt

For Vanilla Cake

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Chocolate Cake

  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place the butter into your mug and microwave about 30 - 40 seconds or until just melted.
  2. Add remaining ingredients - choosing between a vanilla or chocolate cake. Mix well with a fork.
  3. Microwave 60 - 90 seconds. Start with 60 seconds and then check. You'll know it's done when the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the mug and the top is dry.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

cake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 14.8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 360mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1.2gSugar: 17gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Now that you know the basics, let’s move onto some tips!

Tips for Making Mug Cakes

  1. Don’t overfill the mug. Fill the mug halfway up at most so that the batter doesn’t spill over the sides when cooking. Grab a bigger mug if you need to!
  2. Microwave the shortest time the recipe calls for to start. The cake should start pulling away from the sides and the top should look somewhat dry and be spongy. If it’s not, keep going at 15-second intervals until it’s done.
  3. Small to medium eggs are best for a single size (if your recipe calls for them). If you only have large eggs, either make two cakes (double the dry ingredients) or just use the yolk.
  4. Don’t worry about looks. Your cake is probably going to sink somewhat, and that’s okay. Mug cakes typically don’t look like the pictures because those are styled for a photo shoot. The point is that your cake in a cup is delicious!

Common Substitutions

I often get asked about substituting ingredients in mug cakes, and here are some common themes:

  1. If you don’t have self rising flour, you’ll need baking powder. If you don’t have baking powder, use 1/4 the amount of baking soda. But then I would also substitute the milk (or add) with buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt. You need something acidic to making the baking soda work and make the cakes rise.
  2. If you don’t have an egg, find a recipe that doesn’t contain an egg (there are many). OR try 1/4 cup applesauce.
  3. Cake mix is great if you have a box of it and don’t want to use it for an entire cake. In fact, you can keep a box of cake mix on hand and make your own mug cakes on the regular, when you get a craving! Visit our pumpkin spice recipe as an example.

Topping for Mug Cakes

There are a lot of things you can put on the top of mug cakes, but here are my favorite options:

  1. Whipped cream
  2. Decorative sprinkles
  3. Powdered sugar (best on chocolate)
  4. Cream cheese frosting (1.5 oz cream cheese, 1/8 c confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1/2 T milk)
  5. Glaze (1/8 c confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1/2 T milk)
  6. Marshmallow fluff
  7. Chocolate chips (white, dark, or milk)
  8. Sugar/cinnamon (1 T sugar, 1/4 t cinnamon)

Just about anything sweet will work. Are you READY for some RECIPES??

20 Delicious Mug Cakes

This list of mug cake recipes is the “best of” – those tried and true combinations that will make having dessert in a cup one of your favorite hobbies. Have you tried any of these? Scroll down and let me know which one you like best!

1. Chocolate Fudge S’mores

Chocolate fudge s'mores best mug cake recipe

Marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker? This s’mores cake in a cup looks almost too good to eat (almost).

2. Lime Coconut

lime coconut dessert

This lime coconut mug cake was inspired by the Harry Nilsson song – and uses lime zest for flavoring.

3. Lemon Double Lemon

Moist lemon mug cake

This moist cake has fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest, and you can add a delicious glaze on top.

4. Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice mug cake recipe

Any pumpkin dessert is my favorite right away, and you can have this pumpkin spice cake in a cup in two minutes.

5. Salted Caramel Apple

Salted caramel apple cake in a mug

Starting this cake in a cup with caramel apple cake mix makes it stay tender and moist – add salt for a more interesting flavor.

6. Chocolate Raspberry

Chocolate raspberry dessert in a ramekin

Raspberries and chocolate make this cake really moist – and really delicious!

7. Gingerbread

Gingerbread mug cake perfect for Christmas

This gingerbread mug cake recipe doesn’t have any egg, and tastes perfect with whipped cream and caramel.

8. Chocolate Cinnamon

Best of mug cake recipes - chocolate cinnamon

In five minutes you can have a chocolate mug cake, and I love the addition of cinnamon for a unique flavor.

9. Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon roll dessert in a glass dish

This delicious cinnamon roll mug cake takes only three minutes, and even has cream cheese icing.

10. Nutella

Amazing Nutella mug cake

Everyone loves Nutella, and the addition of it makes a mug cake the perfect consistency (and moist, too!).

11. Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake dessert

This cake in a cup is fluffy, delicious, and has little bits of strawberry mixed throughout.

12. Chocolate Peanut Butter

Chocolate and peanut butter - the best mug cakes ever

Chocolate mug cake recipes are delicious, but when you add peanut butter the taste gets sent through the roof.

13. Chocolate Molten Lava

Chocolate molten lava mug cake

If you need your chocolate fix, this molten lava cake in a cup is perfect – and the pudding inside keeps it moist.

14. Red Velvet

Red velvet mug cake

Red velvet cake is one of my favorites, and this vintage Southern recipe is just as delicious when you put it in a mug.

15. Very Vanilla

Very vanilla mug cakes

This vanilla cake is the moistest and most delicious ever! Tastes just like a fluffy vanilla cupcake.

16. Caramel-Fleur de Sel

Caramel Fleur de Sel mug cakes

Salted caramel is a trendy flavor right now. Make this decadent dessert using caramel sauce and candies.

17. Rainbow

How to make a rainbow mug cake

This rainbow cake in a cup is the ultimate where desserts in a mug are concerned. As one layer is cooling you can be microwaving the next!

18. Coffee Cake

Coffee cake mug cake recipe

This delicious little coffee cake even comes with the crumb topping. Yum!

19. Snickerdoodle

Make a Snickerdoodle mug cake

Snickerdoodle cookies are the bomb, and this knockoff could be the best mug cake recipe on the planet.

20. Cheesecake

Cheesecake mug cake recipe

“Regular” cakes aren’t the only thing you can have in a mug – you can make a yummy cheesecake as well.

If you enjoy mug cakes, check out my video with my best tips below:

What are your favorite mug cake recipes and have you tried any of these above? Let me know in the comments!

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patricia tucker

Wednesday 5th of August 2015

8 yr old gr.granddaughter loves making her own mug cake. Need new simple recipes

Alison Borgas

Monday 13th of October 2014

So have you tried all these?

Amy Anderson

Tuesday 14th of October 2014

Hi Alison! I actually have, and all were delicious (though I have to say that not all looked as good as the pictures).