Your mouth is watering for a slice of moist chocolate cake. But there’s no point in buying or baking a whole cake for yourself or just two people. And going out for cake may not be an option at the time either. So what’s a sweet tooth to do? Make for the kitchen and make yourself a mini-cake in a mug within minutes. That sounds like a great idea, but how do you bake a cake in a mug?
Making a cake in a mug is quicker and easier than baking a large cake. You use the same ingredients as a standard cake recipe but in proportionately lower quantities and bake them in wide mugs. People mainly bake mug cakes in the microwave, but you can also find recipes for the traditional oven.
If cake is one of your guilty pleasures, finding a great recipe for a mug cake will make satisfying your cravings that much easier. You can make a little cake in the time it takes to brew the cuppa to go with it! And for the sake of the hips, it’s a bonus that there’s just enough for one serving.
How To Bake A Cake In A Mug
If you’ve ever baked a microwave cake, you should feel comfortable trying mug cake recipes. They are simple, and before you know it, you will have your sweet, sticky treat ready for teatime. Using a few tips from experienced bakers and chefs, you can produce the party-perfect mini-cake. Just for you! Let’s get this cake baked. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Ingredients For A Cake In A Mug
Almost any cake will use the following dry ingredients:
- Baking Soda or Baking Powder
- Cocoa powder if you’re making chocolate cakes
The typical “wet” ingredients are:
- Oil or melted butter
- Eggs (whole or whites)
- Water (sometimes)
The chances are strong that most of these ingredients are already in your pantry. In such tiny measurements, you probably won’t even have to get dressed and go to the store. (Covid has made many people question the need for getting dressed when they get up and work from home.) Let’s take this step-by-step.
1. Mixing The Dry Ingredients
Drop the dry ingredients into a wide mug that takes approximately 16 fl. Oz. Using a tall, skinny cup could cause your cake to flop because the cake will often not bake evenly.
2. Stir In The Milk And Melted Butter
Many recipes call for oil, but if you want to upgrade your mug cake, use melted butter instead. Butter improves the texture, making your cake light and fluffy. A microwave cake can be tough and chewy, and a possible reason for this is too much oil.
Due to the popularity of vegan and other diets and the millions that suffer from dairy allergies, we now have access to endless types of milk alternatives. Most recipes also require milk. You can use your choice of milk, from cow’s milk to almond milk to any milk substitute.
3. Adding An Egg
Not all mug cake recipes call for an egg. Many recipes use baking powder, baking soda, or bother to leaven the cake and firm it up. But adding an egg will give you a richer cake. It may also help to keep it moist.
If you choose to add the egg, be sure to beat it up well, or you may end up with tiny bits of cooked egg white visible in your cake. If you don’t mind the extra dishes, you can beat the egg separately before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
4. Mix All Ingredients Well
Mix everything one more time to ensure nothing is stuck on the bottom of the mug. Use a fork instead of a spoon because it will help to break up any remaining lumps.
5. Give It Some Lava
Mug cakes are a treat but adding a molten center takes it to the next level. You can drop chocolate chips, peanut butter, Nutella, or any similar form of deliciousness into the batter. There is no need to stir it in because it will float to the center of the cake by itself.
6. Water It
Add one tablespoon of water to the top of the cake. This is an essential step because it keeps the cake’s top from overbaking and drying out. It also stops it from becoming rubbery. Nobody likes a dry and rubbery cake. The water will evaporate while it’s baking
7. Microwave It
Use the baking times specified in your recipe when you make the cake for the first time. It may take some adjusting. Not all microwaves are created equal, and in the future, you may have to add or subtract a few seconds to get your cake perfectly cooked.
8. Check If It’s Done
A finished microwave mug cake should be slightly wet in the middle. If you touch the top of the cake with your fingertips, they should come away a bit sticky. They are then perfectly cooked.
If the cake isn’t sticky, it has overbaked a little. If it’s black, throw it away. You may have to throw the mug out with it!
9. Recipe For Peanut Butter Chocolate Mug Cake
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. milk
1 small egg
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
Use the method described above and enjoy your warm, sticky treat in minutes.
Can You Make A Mug Cake In The Oven?
While most mug cake recipes are intended for the microwave, some are also available for use in an oven. But microwave and oven recipes for mug cakes are not interchangeable. Quantities and baking times vary significantly between these two.
You may want to make a bunch of mug cakes for a special occasion where each person can enjoy their own individual dessert. Doing it in the oven could work. But keep in mind that part of the “mug cake experience” is eating it warm, straight after baking. With an oven-baked mug cake, it would be too hot to eat, and the mug would be too hot to handle when coming straight out of the oven.
This brings us to the mugs themselves. Not all mugs are ovenproof. Coffee mugs cannot be guaranteed oven-safe unless they have the manufacturer’s stamp underneath.
High-quality plain white mugs used in the catering industry can usually be deemed oven-safe. Stoneware, Earthenware, and Porcelain mugs are typically ovenproof. Plain glazed ceramic mugs should be able to withstand the oven’s heat.
If you’re concerned about mugs cracking or exploding while in the oven or when they hit the cooler air, you could try putting the mugs in a water bath. This will lengthen the cooking time and could make a denser cake. Let’s look at the steps in making an oven-baked mug cake.
Making An Oven-Baked Mug Cake
Let’s assume that we have found non-exploding mugs for our mini-cakes. We found a recipe for a fruity mug cake that doesn’t have a name, but the credit goes to food52.com.
1 cup raw pear or fruit of choice (weight varies)
2 tablespoons flour, unbleached white or white whole wheat (about 30g)
2 tablespoons sugar (about 30g)
2 tablespoons whipping or heavy cream (about 30g)
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted (about 15g)
1 large egg (about 2 oz or 55-60g)
1 dash salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2g)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.
- Mix all the dry ingredients.
- Mix the wet ingredients.
- Grease two ovenproof mugs with butter.
- Lay your chosen fruit on the bottom of the mug.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients and pour the batter over the fruit.
- Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes. The cakes are ready when a skewer comes out clean, and the top is springy to your touch.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon or any other favorite spice.
- You can serve it for breakfast, or if you prefer it for dessert, you can serve it with cream, ice cream, or even yogurt.
Microwave Vs. Oven For Baking Mug Cakes
There are two ways to bake mug cakes, so let’s compare the two.
|Microwave Mug Cake||Oven-bake Mug Cake|
|Can be made in under 5 minutes||Takes 30 – 40 minutes|
|Can be served immediately||Needs to cool before serving|
|Uses minimal energy||Uses much more energy than a microwave|
|Texture can be tough if overbaked||The texture is like a regular-sized cake|
The Science Behind A Microwave Mug Cake
Each microwave oven has a component called a magnetron, which generates microwaves. Microwaves are radio waves with wavelengths between 1 mm and 1000 mm. The oven sends these microwaves into the box, where they reach the food placed inside.
The microwaves heat the food by exciting water molecules in it. The oven distributes the microwave energy evenly as the food rotates on the turntable.
To apply this to our mug cakes, we should remember that light and fluffy cake has two requirements: architecture and a raising or leavening agent.
Architecture refers to ingredients that give the cake its structure and shape.
A raising or leavening agent refers to ingredients that make the cake rise.
The cake gets its shape and structure (architecture) from the gluten found in flour. Baking powder or baking soda will make it rise. The secret to a perfect microwave cake is ensuring that the architecture sets at the same time as the baking powder causes the cake to rise.
You will also need liquid, sugar, and flavoring like vanilla essence or chocolate chips. Eggs are also vital ingredients. Some recipes require egg yolks to act as emulsifiers, combining the liquids and fats. But adding only the yolks could leave the cake dry, so you can use beaten egg whites to help keep the cake moist.
The mug that you choose will also affect your cake. The material of the mug can influence the cooking speed. However, if your cake is baking for only 60 seconds, it won’t make that much difference. A standard, a plain ceramic mug will do perfectly.
Finally, experts suggest that instead of using a little batter as we might when baking in a conventional oven, we should add extra batter. This will ensure there is sufficient liquid in the mug for the microwaves to heat up and spread the energy throughout the cake.
A mug cake is not an exact science, though. There are good and not-so-good recipes out there. But you use minute amounts of ingredients in each cup that if it flops, it’s not a huge disaster. You can experiment with ingredients, measurements, and cooking times until you hit the perfect equation. Remember to note the changes every time, or you could repeat the same mistakes!
A Quick History Of Mug Cakes
Unleavened cakes go back as far as Ancient Egypt. Most were not sweet, but sometimes the bakers coated them in honey. Fast forward to the 1700s. Bakers eventually discovered that whipped eggs could cause baked goods to rise. While it took ages, wealthy people employed enough servants for the lengthy process.
In the mid-18th century, some bright baker invented baking soda and baking powder Anybody could now make a cake rise. Cupcakes were the next on the list, and the cooks baked these in coffee cups. They used to test the oven’s heat with these mini-cakes. Up until this era, ovens had no temperature regulation. In 1851 the thermostat made its debut, and this was a baking game-changer.
In 1967 the microwave oven made its first appearance, revolutionizing cooking and baking. Around fifty years later, microwaved mug cakes became popular, and there are now innumerable recipes online for these sweet treats. Cooking in mugs is not limited to cakes. You can make anything from breakfast to pizza in a mug!
Making a cake in a mug is super simple, especially if you bake it in a microwave. The costs are almost negligible, and you can whip one up in only a few minutes to enjoy as a treat with your next cup of tea or coffee. What’s not to love about a mug cake!