Easy Vanilla Mug Cake

by Rustic Family Recipes

This Vanilla Mug Cake only takes a few minutes to make. Mix the ingredients in a mug, microwave it, then top your mini cake with ice cream and dig in!

A spoon scooping out moist vanilla cake in a mug with ice cream.

I clearly remember the first time I heard about mug cakes. It was March 2020 and we had been home for a long, long time due all the craziness in the world. We were sitting down to watch Knives Out and I wanted a slice of cake with ice cream. Immediately. Problem was, I didn’t have any cake in the house.

Well, I have many faults but ignoring an urge to eat dessert is not one of them. A quick Google search and I stumbled upon the notion of a mug cake. I made a single-serving cake for everyone in less than 10 minutes, then we topped our cakes with ungodly amounts of ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles. Oh man was that satisfying.

Needless to say we have made many, many mug cakes since then. That original recipe has been devoured and adjusted and devoured so many times I’ve lost count.

The recipe in this post is our favorite vanilla variation. It is moist and fluffy and perfect. And, you can make it as a Snickerdoodle Mug Cake too. We also have a Chocolate Mug Cake and a Nutella Mug Cake in regular rotation. I’ll be posting those soon so you can jump on the mug cake bandwagon with us.

A vanilla mug cake without any toppings

What You’ll Need

So, are you ready to make a mug cake? Here is what you’ll need. Check out the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Egg yolk – We like the velvety texture this adds to the cake. Also, we have chickens. Putting eggs in things is an obsession.
  • Milk – We have used cow milk, oat milk and soy milk with equal success.
  • Oil – I usually use olive oil because I have a bottle of it on the counter. But you can also use canola oil.
  • Vanilla Extract + Sugar – The amount of sugar in this recipe is up to you. Since I always eat my vanilla mug cake with ice cream, I only use 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar when I make this for myself. However, if you are eating it on its own you might want a sweeter cake and could use up to 3 tablespoons.
  • All Purpose Flour + Baking Powder
Vanilla mug cake topped with ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles.

How to Make a Vanilla Mug Cake

Once you have gathered all your ingredients, here’s what to do:

  • Combine the wet ingredients. Add the yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and sugar to a large mug and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix well, being sure there are no large lumps or dry spots in the batter.
  • Microwave. Place your mug in the microwave and cook for 1 min 30 seconds to 1 min 45 seconds. The length of time will depend upon your microwave. Ours cook for 1 min and 45 seconds.
A spoon filled with fluffy vanilla cake

Tips for Success

Mug cakes are about as simple as it gets when it comes to baking a cake. BUT there are a few tips that can help ensure that you make the best vanilla mug cake:

  • Use a microwave safe mug: This is important! Many mugs are microwave safe these days, but just double check to be sure. You don’t want your cake to explode in the microwave.
  • Use a large mug: The better won’t look like a lot, but this cake does rise quite a bit in the mug. use a tall mug that gives it plenty of room. Bonus, this also means you can add your ice cream and other topping directly into the mug.
  • Mix well, but don’t over mix. It is easy for dry bits of batter to get stuck in the edges of the mug, so be sure to get your spoon in there and mix all the dry ingredients in. Stop mixing as soon as the batter is combined. Over mixing can lead to a chewy mug cake.
  • Let it cool: These cakes cook so quickly it’s tempting to dig right in when they are done. But this cake will be HOT when you take it out of the microwave. Give it a few minutes to cool off to avoid singing your mouth.
  • How to tell when your mug cake is done? The cake is done when it is firm to the touch and springs back slightly if you press it with your finger.
A vanilla cake in a mug topped with ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles.

Serving Suggestions

There are tons of options here, but I’ll admit: I almost always go with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. I can’t help it. I like what I like. :)

Other ideas include:

  • Chocolate sauce or hot fudge
  • Caramel sauce
  • Another flavor of ice cream. I will probably never stop adding a scoop of vanilla, but if I was feeling wild one day…. I might try pistachio.
  • Berries. Either whole or gently mashed berries would be delicious on top of this cake.
  • Make “Strawberry Shortcake in a Mug:” If you add mashed strawberries mixed with a bit of sugar, then the ice cream and whipped cream, you’ll have a “strawberry shortcake in a mug.” I just thought of this idea… and now you know what I’m making tonight.
A spoon filled with vanilla cake balanced on a mug filled with cake and ice cream

Can I Make This a Snickerdoodle Mug Cake?

You can! To make this a Snickerdoodle Mug cake, simply add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon along with the dry ingredients. This is actually my son’s #1 variation. He loves these snickerdoodle cookies, but when he doesn’t have any around, a snickerdoodle mug cake definitely hits the spot.


Easy Vanilla Mug Cake Recipe

A spoon scooping vanilla cake out of a mug

This Vanilla Mug Cake recipe only take a few minutes to put together. Mix the ingredients in a mug, microwave it, then top with ice cream and whipped cream!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 minute 45 seconds
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 mug cake 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons milk (regular milk from a cow, soy milk or oat milk)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive oil or canola oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½3 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you want it to be, I use 1 ½) 
  • 4 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder


Combine the wet ingredients in a large mug. In a microwave safe mug combine the egg yolk, milk, oil, vanilla extract and sugar. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients. This is the flour and baking powder.

Mix well until there are no large lumps or dry mixture.

Microwave for about 1 min 30 seconds to 1 min 45 seconds. Microwave time will depend upon your microwave. Mine cooks a mug cake in 1 min 45 seconds.

Test your mug cake. The cake is done when it is firm to the touch and springs back slightly if you press it with your finger.

Serve. Let the cake cool for a couple minutes, then add your favorite toppings and dig in!


For a snickerdoodle mug cake: Add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon along with the dry ingredients.

Keywords: easy vanilla mug cake, snickerdoodle mug cake

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe & leave a comment to let me know. :)


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Rachel March 5, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Great recipe! I love mug cakes and this one was super fluffy and moist. Hit the spot.

Sabs June 5, 2021 - 7:26 pm

Shut the front door. This is the BEST VANILLA MUG CAKE EVER!

Rustic Family Recipes June 5, 2021 - 7:26 pm

Glad you liked it!

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