Chocolate Mug Cake

This chocolate mug cake has a rich cakey exterior and a molten chocolate center. If that’s not enticing enough, this easy dessert is ready in just 15 minutes.

A spoon scooping chocolate mug cake from a blue mug.

Warm, rich chocolate cake with a molten chocolate center can be yours in a mere 15 minutes. Even better, no need to turn on the oven, get out your baking pans, or even open up a boxed mix. For this single-serving cake, we use cocoa and chocolate to give it a deep chocolate flavor, and we need only a mug, a bowl, and a microwave to make it happen.

We prefer Dutch-processed cocoa in this recipe; the cake will be slightly drier if you use natural cocoa powder. We prefer bar chocolate (milk, dark, or bittersweet), as chocolate chips are harder to insert into the cake to form the molten center.

We developed this recipe in a full-size 1200-watt microwave. If the wattage of your microwave is less than 1200 watts, you will need to increase the cooking times throughout. Using 50 percent power kept the cake moist and tender, and tucking a few pieces of chocolate inside partway through gave us that ooey-gooey molten center.–America’s Test Kitchen

How can I make mixing together a chocolate mug cake even easier?

While some recipes for mug cakes mix everything in the mug, we found that whisking the dry ingredients in a bowl first ensured they were well-mixed (no unpleasant pockets of baking soda).

Chocolate Mug Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 1 to 2
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Ingredients


Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Break 1/2 of the chocolate into rough 1-inch (25-mm) pieces. In a 12-ounce (355-ml) microwave-safe mug, combine the chocolate pieces with the butter. Microwave at 50 percent power, stirring often, until melted, 50 seconds to 2 minutes.

Tester tip: Once the butter has melted, a good vigorous stir really helps melt the chocolate.

Add the flour mixture, egg, and vanilla and mix until smooth and well combined, being sure to scrape corners of mug.

Microwave the cake batter at 50 percent power until batter has doubled in size, 50 to 70 seconds.

Break the remaining chocolate into 2 pieces and press it into the center of the cake with the top of the chocolate pieces flush with the top of the cake.

Tester tip: It’s important to make sure the chocolate pieces reach completely through the whole cake—top to bottom.

Microwave the cake at 50 percent power until the cake is firm but the top is just wet to the touch, 15 to 30 seconds. The cake may rise above the edge of the mug but won’t overflow.

Let the cake rest for 2 minutes. Devour.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe was the best chocolate cake in a mug that I've ever had, and I've had quite a few! I've made my own from scratch and made the prepackaged ones you can get at Trader Joe's, and while all of them have been a nice quick fix for a chocolate cake craving, none of them hit the actual fluffy texture of cake. This one does, and it's also very chocolate-y and not too sweet.

It's not as simple as the "pour powder into a mug, add milk/water, and microwave" instructions of the pre-made mixes, but measuring out the flour and sugar is worth it. So is figuring out how to run your microwave at 50% power (which I've never had to do before this), and I'm pretty sure that's the real secret. One could argue that these same ingredients and steps are needed for a normal chocolate cake, and that's true, but this version is great for a 1-serving portion and is much faster.

I used Droste Dutch cocoa powder and Callebaut semisweet (54.5%) for the chocolate elements and they worked great. Adding in the extra 2 pieces of chocolate at the end is key—I found myself moving my spoon around to get some of the melted chocolate in every bite.

Both family members who tried this cake were surprised and utterly delighted at how good it was. I will definitely be making it in the future when I crave the texture and flavor of chocolate cake, but can't bring myself to make a full cake!

I'm not someone who bakes frequently, and when I do, it's mostly bread or cookies, but this seemed like a simple and right-sized proportion for a quick dessert to share for two.

It's easy to make, but in the end, my first attempt failed. I used a heavy ceramic 12-ounce mug which resulted in a not very texturally tasty cake. It was certainly chocolatey, the cake was just at the edge of being overcooked. I didn't get as much rise as I expected considering the warning in the recipe. So I tried again, this time using an 11-ounce souffle dish. The result was much better as the texture was better, nicely cooked with a moist crumb. Plus, it rose almost to the top of the cup. So, for a quick and easy chocolate charge, give this a try.

I used Dutch-process cocoa and a 1200-watt microwave. I tried 50 seconds, then increased it 15 seconds as it didn’t rise very much, then another 10 seconds to double in size, before adding the chocolate pieces. I then zapped it about 20 seconds, and another 10 to reach just wet to the touch.

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