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Quick and Easy 3-Ingredient Mug Cake Recipe

A mug cake is perfect for those times when you have a sweet tooth. And it’s ideal for someone who enjoys cake but doesn’t want too much temptation.

After all, it’s a single serving, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. That is, until you make another one. And since the mug cake prep time is so short, you can do that if you really want!

Mug cake with whipped cream and cherry on top

If you are in too big of a hurry to read this entire post, please feel free to click on the jump-to-recipe button beneath the title. That will take you to the top of the printable recipe card at the bottom.

Basic Mug Cake Recipe

One of the main reasons we enjoy mug cakes is that the temptation to get seconds is removed … or at least made more difficult.Another reason is that we can have the flavor we prefer. So if my husband is in the mood for chocolate, he can have a chocolate cake. If I want a fruity flavor, I can have that. And we’re both happy.

Mug Cake Ingredients

You only need three ingredients to make a mug cake. The additions, such as chocolate or fruit preserves, add more flavors.

Here are the 3 basic ingredients you’ll need for your mug cake:

  • 6 tablespoons of cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons applesauce (or vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons water

You can also include some add-ons if you want. Some optional ingredients are fruit preserves, nuts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or peanut butter chips.

There’s a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post if you want to save it for later.

Since you’ll eat this cake out of the mug you cooked it in, you don’t need eggs for binding the ingredients. A layer cake needs eggs to hold it together. However, when you eat it out of a mug, you don’t need to worry about it falling apart.

Oil is another thing you don’t need. The applesauce provides the moistness, alleviating the need for any type of oil. It also adds nutrition, extra sweetness, and another layer of flavor. As I’ve mentioned in my food substitutions post, applesauce is a great swap for oil.

How to Make a Mug Cake

When you make fruit-flavored mug cakes, it’s good to start out with either white or yellow cake mix. That way, you can get the full flavor of the fruit from the preserves. Put the cake mix into a coffee mug.

Spoon of cake mix

Next, add the water.

Spoon of water

Afterward, put the applesauce in and stir it well. You can use yogurt instead, and the results are pretty much the same.

Spoon of applesauce

Finally, add whatever preserves you want. This one is strawberry that I made for my husband.

Strawberries mixed into cake mix, applesauce, and water

This time, I made mine with apricot preserves. It took a few minutes to decide between this and peach, but the apricot won out … this time.

Microwave it for a minute and then add another tablespoon of preserves on top. Baking these mug cakes in the microwave saves a whole lot of time in preparation and cleanup. So it’s a win-win for everyone.

Strawberry preserves on top of cooked mug cake

If you like ice cream on your cake, go ahead and plop some on top.

Strawberry mug cake with ice cream and another spoonful of strawberries on top

My husband says it’s not finished until it has whipped cream and a cherry on top, so that’s what he got.

Strawberry mug cake with whipped cream and a cherry

If you want a chocolate mug cake but only have white or yellow cake mix, simply add a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder to the mix. As you can probably tell, these mug cake recipes are flexible. I’ve even added maple syrup for a completely different flavor that’s rich and delicious!

Although I’ve never made this with sugar free cake mix, I’ve heard that it’s good. If you can’t indulge in sugar, for whatever reason, I think it’s worth a try. This is a good option if you follow a low carb diet.

Delicious Microwave Box Cake in a Cup Recipe

Some people call this a cake mix mug cake. Other names it goes by are mug cakes without egg and microwave mug cake. Regardless of what you call it, you’ll love it and want to make it often.

Basically, mug cakes are the ideal dessert after any meal, including this Mediterranean salad or this ground beef stroganoff. If you want a dessert for two people, and you don’t want a lot of leftovers, mug cakes are perfect. In fact, it can be quite romantic if that’s what you’re looking for.

Plus there’s something really cozy about enjoying your own personal mug cake and eating it right out of the mug you baked it in. It’s also a delicious snack when you’re craving something sweet but want to control your portion. If you’re trying to control your fat intake, you’ll be happy to know that you make a mug cake with no oil.

Individual Mug Cake – Made to Order

One of the reasons my husband and I enjoy having mug cakes is that we can have whatever flavor we’re in the mood for. We both like all flavors, but most of the time we don’t want the exact same thing. A few nights ago, my husband wanted a strawberry cake, but I wanted something different. Most of the time we’re both onboard with chocolate.

Since you make one serving at a time, it’s made to order. You can have a vanilla, fruit-flavored, or chocolate mug cake. Or you can make this 4 ingredient peanut butter mug cake that’s a little bit different and just as good. There’s no flour in it, so it’s a naturally gluten-free dessert.

Do you like coffee flavored desserts? You can add a little bit of strong coffee (instead of water) to your mug cake. Or you can just top it with coffee ice cream. As long as you have the ingredients, it isn’t any more trouble to do two different flavors than to make one. In fact, that’s what happens around here most of the time.

Mug Cakes for Kids

Bring your child into the kitchen to learn some basic cooking skills. Kids love seeing the results of their efforts. And it’s also quick, so no one has to wait forever. Not only is a mug cake delicious and portion-controlled, but it also gives children a sense of accomplishment. If your children are able to hold spoons and mugs they can make mug cakes.

Simply put out several ingredients for them to choose from. Give them a few basic instructions, and they’ll take over from there. You might even want to consider letting your child have a mug cake party for his or her next birthday. Offer a variety of flavors so the guests can pick their favorite.

Some of the more creative kids might even want to mix flavors. It’s up to you whether or not you’ll allow that. If you do, just make sure to have extra ingredients in case their creative attempts don’t work out.

Variety of Mug Cakes

There is no limit to the number of flavors of mug cakes you can make. If you’re a chocolate lover, try chocolate-chocolate chip. On the other hand, if you prefer a fruity flavor, make one with strawberry or blueberry preserves.

Easy mug cake with 3 mug cakes

Gluten-Free Mug Cake

I have a gluten-intolerance, so I have to use gluten-free cake mix. Since my husband has gotten used to a gluten-free diet, he eats the gluten-free cakes as well. It doesn’t matter. Those made without gluten are just as good as the ones with.

2 cake mixes

Chocolate Mug Cake

It’s just as easy to make a chocolate mug cake as it is the fruit flavored one. Start out with whatever version of chocolate cake mix you prefer.

Box of gluten-free chocolate cake mix

Add the water. Next add some applesauce. For extra chocolaty goodness, stir some chocolate chips into the mix.

Small bowl of chocolate chips

Then put a few more chocolate chips on top.

Melted chocolate chips added to the top of a chocolate mug cake

Finally, finish off with a dollop of ice cream, and your dessert is ready to be devoured.

Scoop of ice cream on top of chocolate mug cake

You’ll love the flexibility you have with these mug cakes because you can choose whatever flavor you’re in the mood for.

More Mug Cake Flavors

You can actually make more flavors if all you have is a white cake mix or yellow cake mix. If you want chocolate cake, simply add some cocoa powder. I’ve even added powdered peanut butter to my yellow cake mix. A few chocolate chips make it extra yummy! Or if you prefer spice cake, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Experiment with a variety of spices to discover some new flavors.

Mug cake with whipped cream and a cherry on top

Tips for Successfully Making a Mug Cake

As you can probably tell from the recipe, making a mug cake is super easy, and cleanup is a breeze. Here are some tips to ensure that you’ll have success every time:

  • Choose a microwave-safe mug. It’s best not to use one that has any type of metallic print or images.
  • Follow the recipe with the correct balance of measurements.
  • Mix the ingredients well so you don’t wind up with clumps of dry cake mix after it’s done.
  • Don’t overfill your mug. Since even mug cakes rise, you can wind up with a mess in your microwave if it’s too full to begin with.
  • If you know that your microwave cooks more quickly than most, decrease the cooking time before checking on it. You can always put it back in if it’s not done.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes before eating it. Mug cakes are extremely hot when you first take them out of the microwave.
  • Add some sort of topping to give it the perfect finish.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mug Cakes

Mug cakes are very simple and basic. However, you may have some questions, so here are some answers that will hopefully help.

Is It Safe to Bake a Mug Cake in the Oven?

The answer to this question is more about whether or not the mug is oven safe. Make sure the mug can handle the direct heat from the oven before putting it in there. I also recommend place the mug on a pan for stability. Keep in mind that if you put it in the oven, it will take longer to bake.

Do You Need Convection to Microwave a Mug Cake?

Convection and microwave are two completely different methods of cooking. All you need is a basic microwave to bake a mug cake. Nothing fancy is required.

However, if you want to bake it in your air fryer, which is a small convection oven, you can. Just make sure your mug is oven-safe. Or you can use a ramekin that is designed to put in the oven. Set it on 350˚ F and air fry it for 8 to 10 minutes. Cook time can vary based on the wattage of your air fryer.

More Dessert Recipes

If you enjoy these mug cakes, you’ll probably like these Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies or these chocolate caramel pecan bars. When we have the ingredients, we enjoy this rice cooker pineapple upside-down cake.

Since you’re here checking out this mug cake recipe, I think you’ll like this granola fruit crisp and these coconut macaroons.

2 macaroon cookies with cherries on top

People who like the combination of chocolate and mint love these delicious mint chocolate brownies. They’re easy to make but taste like something that came from a bakery.

For the perfect blend of sweet and tart, try these 3-ingredient lemon bars. They are totally yum!

When you’re pressed for time, but you need a dessert quickly, make this amazingly easy and delicious pineapple dump cake. We like it topped with ice cream, but it’s good with whipped cream or nothing at all.

bowl of pineapple dump cake with ice cream on top

Staying on the subject of pineapple (one of my favorite flavors), this no-bake pineapple pie is sublime! It’s super easy to make, even for beginners! And it’s so delicious!

slice of no bake pineapple cream pie

Peanut butter lovers will go crazy over these yummy 3 ingredient peanut butter balls. But you’ll have to make a decision: Leave them bare or dip them in chocolate! They’re delicious either way!

plate of peanut butter balls

Personal Mug Cake

Next time you want a single serving dessert or prefer something different from what others want, make mug cakes. That way, everyone is happy!

Yield: 1 mug cake

Basic Mug Cake Recipe

Strawberry mug cake with whipped cream and a cherry

Mug cakes are easy-to-make desserts that enable each person to enjoy his or her favorite flavor.

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


  • 6 tablespoons of cake mix, any flavor
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 3 tablespoons of applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons of add-ons (optional, see notes on add-ons)


  1. In a standard size coffee mug, mix the cake mix, water, and applesauce. Stir until there are no lumps.
  2. If you want an add-on, put half of it into the mix and stir again.
  3. Microwave the mixture on high for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from the microwave. Add the other half of the add-on.
  5. You can eat it as-is or top it with ice cream or whipped cream.


Add-on options:

  • Chocolate chips
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Fruit preserves
  • Chopped nuts
  • Crushed peppermint candy

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 mug cake

Amount Per Serving Calories 200Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 331mgCarbohydrates 45gFiber 1gSugar 26gProtein 2g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 21st of March 2022

I truly enjoyed this recipe. The bright spot for my taste buds was the apple sauce. I use the "no added sugar" kind and it added such wonderful "ZIPPY" aftertaste. I also frosted my little dessert with a keto cocoa hazelnut spread. I am definitely sending my friends here for this recipe. Thank you!


Monday 21st of March 2022

Hi Paige! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for letting me know! This mug cake recipe one of our favorites because we get to pick the kind of cake we want.

Miz Helen

Tuesday 7th of April 2020

I just love a special treat just for me! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome talent with us at Full Plate Thursday,and come back to see us soon! Stay Healthy! Miz Helen

FlowerAura Cakes

Friday 18th of October 2019

I have tasted cup cake but no idea about mug cake. Now after reading this post I am sure this cake recipe is really fantastic. Thanks for sharing this great mug cake recipe.

Yukti Arora

Saturday 17th of August 2019

Wow so classy and mouth watering mug cake i loved it and please keep posting such tempting cakes because i am Lerner of making new and different cakes so i can learn more ideas through your valuable blog post.

Soooooo Cute cake.


Friday 16th of August 2019

Wow, so amazing recipe to make mug cake! I like and love it very much. Thank you so much for providing such a superb recipe to us.


Friday 16th of August 2019

I hope you enjoy it!

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