Indulge in the cozy flavors of fall with my irresistible pumpkin mug cake recipe! You can whip up a single or double-serve treat infused with warm spices and topped with whipped cream in just a few minutes.
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Treat yourself to a little indulgence with this quick and easy pumpkin mug cake. The recipe makes enough for two, but adjusting to make a single serving is simple. All of the components of my classic pumpkin cake are packed in one delicious cup!
I always make this pumpkin-flavored dessert when I’ve got a little puree leftover. In just one bowl, you can prepare the batter, pour, and microwave. In less than 2 minutes, you’ll enjoy spoonfuls of moist and tender cake.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour for a soft and tender crumb. It helps the cake hold its structure without tasting chewy.
- Sugar: For a clean sweetness, add granulated sugar. Otherwise, use brown sugar instead for molasses flavor.
- Leavening Agent: Use double-acting baking powder. This ensures that once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed, the cake batter will instantly rise in the microwave.
- Seasoning: Add pumpkin pie spice for baked notes when cooked. It combines cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves. Vanilla extract intensifies the baked flavors, and salt enhances the taste of the ingredients.
- Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin for convenience, or make your own homemade pumpkin puree. This adds moisture, a slightly sweet taste, and an orange hue. You’ll need ¼ cup.
- Eggs: The egg whites are a leavening agent to help the cake puff up. The egg proteins help set the cake structure.
- Milk: The milk adds flavor, fat, and liquid to hydrate the flour proteins for gluten development for a spongy texture.
- Oil: Vegetable oil keeps the pumpkin cake moist and tender.
Mix the dry ingredients
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk in the wet ingredients
This recipe is so easy as you mix everything in one bowl. Add the milk, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Briefly whisk until the batter is just combined.
You don’t want to overmix, or the cake will become tough. It’s best to microwave the cake batter immediately to take full advantage of the baking powder leavening effect.
Microwave the cakes
Grab two 14-ounce microwave-safe mugs or ramekins. Fill them no more than halfway with the pumpkin batter, about 1 cup. Cook only one mug at a time, or you’ll have uneven cooking. Microwave on high power for 75 seconds and watch the cake nearly double in size!
Continue to heat in 15-second increments until the internal temperature reaches 200 to 210ºF (93 to 99ºC). I typically don’t heat longer than 2 minutes total cooking time. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes to gently finish cooking. I like to add whipped cream and spices on top right before serving.
Pumpkin bars and a mug of pumpkin cake are a fast and fun dessert to prepare. Try these tasty variations to switch up your next serving:
- Flour: Use whole wheat flour, gluten-free flour, almond flour, or oat flour. It will be denser than all-purpose wheat flour.
- Sweeter: Instead of sugar, try brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey. A combination can be used for flavor dimension.
- Milk: To make the cake dairy-free, use almond, cashew, soy, or oat milk.
- Spices: Instead of pumpkin pie spice, try apple pie spice. Cardamom adds floral and licorice notes.
- Chocolate: Add to the milk, semi-sweet, dark, or white chocolate chips. It will taste like my chocolate chip pumpkin bread.
- Nuts: Add crunch with chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans. Add a nut butter swirl with peanut butter or almond butter.
Frequently asked questions
To make the cake vegan, use one flax egg. It will help mimic the texture of the egg. However, the cake will be denser because it does not contain egg whites for leavening. Use dairy-free milk instead of cow’s milk.
The batter can be increased in size depending on the desired number of servings. Only cook one cake at a time! If you add more than one mug, they will cook unevenly and not have the proper rise.
Yes, place the batter in small bowls like ramekins set on a sheet pan. Bake at 350ºF (177C) until the cake rises, is dry on the surface, and bounces back when pressed for about 20 to 30 minutes.
The batter can be made one day in advance. It will take about 2 minutes or more to cook because of the coldness, and it may have slightly less rise. It’s best to eat the mug cake immediately and not reheat it later.
The best way to check for mug cake doneness
First, check by sight. The cake will double in size after the first 75 seconds. Often, a small amount of uncooked batter is on the bottom, so heat for another 15 to 30 seconds. Let the cake sit for 5 minutes to finish cooking; it will deflate slightly. The best way to tell is with an instant-read thermometer. The center should reach between 200 to 210ºF (93 to 99ºC).
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Pumpkin Mug Cake
- Mix the Dry Ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
- Whisk in the Wet Ingredients – Add milk, vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and just combined.
- Pour into the Mugs – Evenly divide the batter into 14-ounce microwave-safe mugs. Add about 1 cup per mug. Adjust so it’s no more than halfway filled.
- Microwave the Cakes – Cook one mug at a time on high power for 75 seconds. The top will look moist but dry to the touch. It should bounce back when lightly pressed.If needed, microwave in 15-second intervals until cooked through. I usually don't cook longer than 2 minutes in total. The internal temperature should reach between 200 to 210ºF (93 to 99ºC).
- Serve – Rest for 5 minutes, then serve. If desired, top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.
- Recipe Yield: 2 cups of batter.
- Make Ahead: Refrigerate the batter up 1 day in advance. Microwave for 90 seconds to 2 ½ minutes.
- 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: Use a flax egg; the texture will be denser. Use plant-based milk.
- Oil Substitution: Vegetable oil can be substituted with melted butter, melted coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil.
- Microwave Watts: This recipe was developed on a 950-watt microwave. If needed, adjust the time up or down by 15 seconds depending on the strength of your system.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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