How familiar are you with this scenario:

It’s late in the evening—well past dinner but too early to sleep—and you suddenly get a craving for something sweet. There are no snacks left in the pantry, and it’s too late to start baking something. 

You could, of course, make an emergency run to the grocery store (no judgement, we’ve all been there). Or… you could make a cake in a mug and enjoy a delicious, homemade dessert in less than five minutes. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about mug cakes and how to make them. Plus, we’ll share an easy mug cake recipe that can be adapted for both chocolate and vanilla mug cakes. 

All About Mug Cakes

If you’ve always thought mugs are just for drinking warm beverages, you’re in for a treat. Mugs also happen to be perfect for making single portion cakes. 

Mug cakes solve two common problems:

  1. When the craving for cake suddenly hits, mug cakes reduce what’s standing between you and your first bite of delicious cake to just four minutes of prep and one minute of waiting. 
  2. Unlike baking a traditional cake, mug cake recipes make a single portion, meaning you won’t be left with Tupperware full of leftovers and a nagging voice in the back of your head telling you you’re not allowed to finish it all in one sitting. 
chocolate cake
Source: Instagram
Chocolate Mug Cake with Raspberries

What Is a Mug Cake?

A mug cake is essentially a microwave cake in a cup. No, it’s not going to taste exactly like a regular cake. However, it comes surprisingly close, and considering how quick, easy, and convenient it is to make, it should definitely be among your go-to recipes. 

How Do You Cook Mug Cakes?

Making a mug cake could not be more simple. It combines ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and fridge and takes just a few minutes to mix and about a minute to microwave. We’ll cover the ingredients and a step-by-step process for how to make a cake in a mug in a moment. 

What Do You Need for a Mug Cake?

1. A Mug

Be sure to use a microwave-safe mug, meaning it won’t break or get so hot that it burns you when you try to take it out. Especially make sure there are no metallic elements on your mug. 

Choose a mug that’s large enough—your uncooked batter should fill about half of your mug at most. As the batter cooks, the cake will rise, and you don’t want it to overflow.

2. A Microwave

This is what makes the mug cake recipe so convenient. Baking a mug cake in the oven is possible, but not recommended—not only does it take longer, but it also requires a lot more energy. If you’re going to use an oven, make sure you’re making more than one mug cake.

3. Measuring Spoons

Measuring your ingredients and following the recipe exactly will help ensure that your mug cake is a success. Mug cakes require so little that you don’t even need measuring cups! 

4. Cake Ingredients 

Mug cakes have become so popular in recent years that grocery stores have started selling boxed mug cake mixes. Feel free to go that route, or learn how to make mug cake batter from scratch. The exact ingredients you’ll need are listed in the next section. 

You’ll notice that the mug cake recipe below doesn’t call for eggs, even though eggs are a crucial ingredient in regular cake. This is because a full-sized cake only requires a few eggs, so a single portion of cake would contain about a quarter of an egg. While splitting an egg into quarters is possible, it’s so tedious that it would take away from the simplicity and convenience of mug cakes. The recipe below makes up for a lack of eggs with larger quantities of milk and oil. 

How to Make a Mug Cake from Scratch

Now, without further ado, here’s how to make a chocolate mug cake and a vanilla mug cake. The process is the same for both, but the ingredients are slightly different. 

Using this recipe as a base, you can also create your own variations and make coffee, banana, red velvet, cinnamon swirl, or any other cake you like. The possibilities are endless! 

Here’s how to make cake in a mug: 

chocolate cake
Source: Instagram
Chocolate Mug Cake

Chocolate Mug Cake Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice 
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract 

Options: Feel free to add chocolate chips, walnuts, a scoop of peanut butter, or Nutella inside your mug cake. For toppings, chocolate mug cakes are best enjoyed with ice cream, whipped cream, frosting, and/or drizzled chocolate sauce. 

birthday cake
Source: Instagram
Vanilla Mug Cake

Vanilla Mug Cake Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice 
  • ½  teaspoon vanilla extract 

Options: You can add chocolate chips, nuts, or sprinkles to your vanilla mug cake. You can also try mixing in some blueberries or adding a spoonful of jam to the middle of the mug cake. For toppings, try the vanilla mug cake with ice cream, frosting, cream cheese, and/or caramel sauce. 


  1. In a large microwave-safe mug, mix all the dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  2. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds*. 
  3. Let cool for a few minutes, add any optional toppings, and enjoy! 

*Cooking time will vary depending on your microwave and the size of the mug. Adjust the time until the center of the mug cake is cooked, but the cake isn’t too dry. 

How to Make a Keto Mug Cake

To make a keto mug cake, replace all-purpose flour with almond flour and replace the sugar with a keto sweetener of your choice. Nut butters or cream cheese make the perfect toppings for a keto mug cake. 

Grow Your Baking Skills!

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Written by:

Sayana Lam