What are your favorite shortcuts to take while baking?
Maybe you use a premade cake mix, or frosting from a can? Perhaps you buy angel food cake from the grocery store, so you only have to worry about making whipped cream and washing some berries before serving?
While I try to bake from scratch as much as I can, and try to respect time-honored baking traditions and techniques, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that I whip out when necessary.
Here’s one of my favorite little magic acts, resulting in a single serving of the perfect dessert: a 6-minute chocolate microwave mug cake!
The method is simple. Just mix your ingredients in a mug, add some chocolate chips, and microwave for about a minute.
Abracadabra, alakazam, hocus pocus – chocolate cake!
There is minimal prep work required, no raw eggs, very little cleaning, and absolutely no oven. And the whole process from start to finish can be achieved in about 6 minutes, thanks to my lovely assistant, the microwave!
Rather than taking half an hour or so to bake an entire cake in the oven, you can make an indulgent dessert in just a fraction of the time in your microwave. And since this recipe is designed to produce a single portion, the process is kept short and sweet.
I don’t call it cheating. And you shouldn’t either.
Once you scarf down that first big spoonful of this steamy creation, with the chocolate chips still all melty and gooey, your mouth will be too full of moist, rich cake to (clearly) say “cheater, cheater, lemon eater.”
And once you plop down on that couch, clutching the warm mug, you won’t be able to judge me with an upturned nose – because that very nose will be too busy smelling the intoxicating aromas of warm cocoa and vanilla.
There is no smoke and mirrors here. The only reflection you’ll see is the one of your face staring through the door of the microwave, impatiently counting down the seconds on the timer.
Shortcuts are good. So very good. Especially this one, that leads to the best chocolate cake you’ve ever prepared and eaten in mere minutes.
A magician should never reveal her secrets. What a relief to all of you that I’m just a baker. I have no secrets here, so read on for my recipe!Print
Need to satisfy a chocolate craving ASAP? With our microwave chocolate mug cake, you’ll have the perfect single serving of an indulgent dessert in minutes.
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips, divided
- In a standard size microwave-safe coffee mug (about a 2-cup capacity), mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt with a fork or mini whisk.
- Add the milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until a thoroughly combined batter forms.
- Mix half of the chocolate chips into the batter. Evenly scatter the remaining chocolate chips directly on top of the batter.
- Immediately microwave uncovered for 60 to 90 seconds on high, until the cake is puffy and is mostly dry to the touch on the surface. The baking time will vary depending on your microwave’s wattage.
- Remove from the microwave and let cool for 2 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
- Cook Time: 1 minute, 30 seconds
- Category: Cake
- Method: Microwave
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: chocolate cake, microwave, mug cake, chocolate chips, cocoa powder
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Combine Dry Ingredients
Any microwave-safe mug will do! You don’t need anything bigger than a standard size coffee mug, which has a capacity of about 2 cups (16 ounces).
Step 2 – Add Wet Ingredients
Add the milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients, continuing to mix with the fork or whisk until all the ingredients are completely combined and a batter forms.
Step 3 – Add Chocolate Chips
Mix half of the chocolate chips into the batter until evenly distributed. Sprinkle the remaining chips directly on top of the batter.
This is the ultimate chocolate experience! But if you don’t want to go too heavy-handed with the chocolate flavor, skip the extra chips on top and just use 1/8 cup of chips in the batter.
Step 4 – Microwave
Immediately microwave uncovered for 60 to 90 seconds on high.
The cake will be puffy, and will be mostly dry to the touch on the surface when you gently poke the top of it with your finger.
The baking time will vary depending on your microwave’s wattage. I suggest first checking the mug after 60 seconds, and decide at that point whether or not you need to cook for more time. The cake cooks very quickly, so be sure to not overdo it!
Step 5 – Cool and Serve
Remove from the microwave and let cool for 2 minutes before eating.
Be sure to let the cake cool! This is necessary not just for the structure of the cake, but for the roof of your mouth, as well!
The crumb of the dessert needs those precious couple of minutes to set, and it helps to slightly cool down the melted candies so you don’t burn your mouth.
After the cake has cooled, grab a spoon, and enjoy!
What Can I Serve with My Dessert?
Here is a big bonus of having a single-serving dessert – you can choose whatever you want for your toppings!
Be as selfish as you want! This is your dessert, and no one else’s!
If you have a MASSIVE chocolate craving that cannot be satisfied by the decadence that is already in the mug alone, serve your dessert with cocoa fudge frosting or chocolate syrup.
Looking for more mini sweet treats? There’s no sharing required with many of our delectable desserts. Here are a few to make next:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 12, 2009. Last updated on March 3, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.