A mug cake is perfect 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!
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:
- Cake mix
- Applesauce (or vanilla yogurt)
Some optional ingredients are fruit preserves, nuts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or peanut butter chips.
For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.
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.
Next, add the water.
Afterward, put the applesauce in and stir it well. You can use yogurt instead, and the results are pretty much the same.
Finally, add whatever preserves you want.
This one is strawberry that I made for my husband.
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.
If you like ice cream on your cake, go ahead and plop some 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.
If you want a chocolate mug cake but only have white or yellow cake mix, you can 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.
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.
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.
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.
Add the water. Next add some applesauce.
For extra chocolaty goodness, stir some chocolate chips into the mix.
Then put a few more chocolate chips on top.
Finally, finish off with a dollop of ice cream, and your dessert is ready to be devoured.
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!
Of if you prefer spice cake, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Experiment with a variety of spices to discover some new flavors.
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.
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.
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!
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!
- 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)
- In a standard size coffee mug, mix the cake mix, water, and applesauce. Stir until there are no lumps.
- If you want an add-on, put half of it into the mix and stir again.
- Microwave the mixture on high for 1 minute.
- Remove from the microwave. Add the other half of the add-on.
- You can eat it as-is or top it with ice cream or whipped cream.
- Chocolate chips
- Butterscotch chips
- Peanut butter chips
- Fruit preserves
- Chopped nuts
- Crushed peppermint candy
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Nutrition InformationYield 1 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.