Satisfy your sweet tooth with a delicious chocolate mug cake. The whole process takes just 15 minutes. Whisk, pour, heat, and indulge!
Table of Contents
If you’re craving chocolate cake but don’t have time to bake nor the self-control to eat just one slice, this mug cake recipe is for you. In just minutes, you’ll have a single serving dessert similar to a molten lava cake but created in the microwave Instead.
You probably have most of the ingredients already in your pantry, and you have the option to make the recipe with or without eggs. The batter is simply flour and different types of chocolate that provide intense cocoa flavor. What makes it rise? Just a tiny amount of baking powder is all it takes.
For a decadent taste, I use two types of chocolate. Unsweetened cocoa powder adds the characteristic earthy, slightly bitter flavor. Chocolate chips enhance the sweetness and provide a melty texture from cocoa butter. I recommend sprinkling the chips on top after portioning as they like to sink to the bottom.
Depending on how strong a cocoa flavor you like, you can use milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate chips. If you have more than one type in your pantry, try a combination for variety.
Mix the dry ingredients first
The cake’s base combines all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder for leavening. The cocoa powder adds a dark brown hue and a chocolatey taste. Mix the ingredients to distribute the leavening agents for an even rise.
Cake batter ingredients
Once you combine the dried ingredients, add the wet ingredients directly to the same bowl. Whole milk helps dilute the batter; however, you can use plant-based milk if desired. Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or oat milk are good swaps.
Vegetable oil keeps the texture smooth and elastic. You can use avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or olive oil for a slightly fruity taste. Vanilla extract adds a pleasant baked aroma. One egg adds leavening properties and creates a tall, spongy consistency.
Use two types of leavening agents
To ensure maximum lift, I use a chemical leavening agent. Baking powder contains an acid (like monocalcium phosphate) plus an alkaline base like baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate. I use a double-acting baking powder to create bubbles (carbon dioxide) twice; when mixed, then when heated.
Baking powder builds in a buffer from when the wet ingredients are added to when the cake is microwaved. The egg proteins have unique foaming properties that trap air when mixed to give extra rise, then thicken and set for a tall rise in the cup.
How much batter does the recipe make?
This cake batter yields about 2 cups—plan on adding 3/4 to 1 cup to each mug. The cake will about double in volume, so don’t fill it more than halfway. It’s okay for a bit of overspill on the rim, but you don’t want to make a huge mess inside your microwave.
I would compare the serving size of one mug to a nice big slice of chocolate cake or about two cupcakes. If you want to make four smaller portions, add a 1/2 cup of batter to each cup.
After the batter is mixed together, get ready to fill the cups. Grab at least a 14-ounce microwave-safe mug. If you’re unsure of the size, fill the cup with 1 ¾ cup of water, it should not spill over. Bowls or ramekins also work well. Fill the cup halfway with the batter, then sprinkle some chocolate chips on top.
Microwave each mug one at a time for better heat distribution. Use high heat, for 1-minute. The cake will rise about double in size. If it still looks wet on the surface, or overly gooey in the center, heat again in 15-second intervals. For my 950 watt microwave, I never went above 1 minute and 30 seconds. Depending on your system’s strength, you may need to adjust the cooking time.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving because it will be scorching. Plus, it gives the cake time to finish cooking through to the center due to carryover heat. There will be a bit of fudgy batter along the bottom and sides, providing a lovely texture contrast.
How to tell if the cakes are done
- Lightly press the top. If it feels firm and bounces back, it’s ready.
- The top should look shiny but feel dry.
- A toothpick inserted in the center has just a few crumbs sticking, but no wet batter.
- On an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature reaches 200 to 210ºF (93 to 99ºC). The higher the temperature, the less fudgy the edges will be.
- Nut butter: Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter to the center of the batter.
- Nutella: Add 1 tablespoon of Nutella to the center of the batter.
- Chocolate: Add 1/2 ounce piece of bar chocolate or chocolate candy in the center of the cake after cooking for 1 minute. Cook another 15 to 30 seconds to give a molten center.
Serve this with
- Whipped Cream
- Chopped Nuts like Almonds, Pecans, or Walnuts
- Fresh Strawberries, Raspberries, or Blackberries
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Homemade Ice Cream
Yes! Eggs need to be cooked to 160ºF (71ºC) to destroy harmful bacteria like salmonella. This cake batter will heat to 200ºF (93ºC). If you don’t use egg, then it’s safer to undercook the batter for a more gooey texture.
No, you can omit the egg, but the cake’s texture will be denser and not rise as high.
If there is not enough moisture or fat in the batter, the cake will be very dry in texture. Do not overcook the cake either. The center should reach 200 to 210ºF (93 to 99ºC) on an instant-read thermometer.
Yes! This will give a more dense and fudgy consistency instead of being spongy because it has less acid to react with the baking soda for rising.
Making the cake without eggs
If you like a more dense, fudgy texture, omit the egg. The egg white proteins have foaming capabilities, giving it lift and creating a soft texture. The cake won’t be as high without egg, but it will still be decadent like a brownie.
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Chocolate Mug Cake
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon chocolate chips, milk, semi-sweet, or dark
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- Mix the Dry Ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk in the Wet Ingredients – Add milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and just combined.
- Pour into the Mugs – Evenly divide the batter into two 14-ounce microwave-safe mugs. Add about 1 cup per mug. Adjust so it’s no more than halfway filled.
- Add Chocolate Chips – Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips on top of the batter.
- Microwave the Cakes – Cook one mug at a time on high power for 60 seconds. Check to see if the cake sets. The top will look moist but dry to the touch. It should bounce back when lightly pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center has only a few crumbs sticking. If needed, microwave in 15-second intervals until cooked through. I usually don't cook longer than 90 seconds. The internal temperature should reach between 200 to 210ºF (93 to 99ºC). The higher the temperature, the less gooey the cake.
- Serve – Rest for 5 minutes, then serve. If desired, top with extra chocolate chips and powdered sugar.
- Recipe Yield: 2 cups of batter.
- Smaller portions: Divide 1/2 cup-sized portions into 4 mugs.
- Filling: Don’t fill the mug more than halfway with batter, or you may have a mess.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use 1:1 gluten-free baking flour like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur.
- Make it Dairy-Free: Substitute dairy milk with coconut, almond, soy, or oat milk.
- Make it Vegan: Omit the egg and use plant-based milk instead of dairy.
- Oil Substitution: Vegetable oil can be substituted with melted butter, melted coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil.
- Storing: Do not store unbaked batter, as the baking powder will lose some of its leavening ability. Cool cooked cake completely, then cover with foil for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on high in 15-second intervals until warm.
- Microwave Watts: This recipe was developed on a 950-watt microwave. If needed, adjust the time up or down 15 seconds depending on the strength of your system.
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