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This fluffy Vanilla Mug Cake only takes minutes to make and is seriously the BEST. Just mix the ingredients in a mug, microwave it, then top your mini cake with ice cream and dig in!
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 to 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 single-serving cakes for everyone, then we topped them 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 mug cake recipe below is what we’ve decided is our favorite version, and it’s the one we make over and over again.
Why You’ll Love This Vanilla Mug Cake Recipe
- Easy. All you need is a mug and a microwave, plus a few simple ingredients to make a fluffy vanilla mug cake. Add some toppings and dig in.
- Quick. From start to finish, this mug cake is ready in 3 minutes!
- Flexible. You can serve this cake with all sorts of toppings, or even add cinnamon to turn it into a Snickerdoodle mug cake.
What You’ll Need
So, are you ready to make a mug cake? Here a quick overview of what you’ll need. Check out the recipe card below for specific amounts.
- Egg yolk – We like the velvety texture this adds to the cake.
- 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
- Kosher Salt – Just a scant pinch. You don’t want your cake to be salty, but a teeny tiny amount will enhance its flavor and sweetness.
- Cinnamon – If you want to turn this into a Snickerdoodle mug cake you will also need ground cinnamon.
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, sugar and salt 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. Pay special attention to the grooves at the bottom of your mug, sometimes dry ingredients can get stuck there while you are mixing.
- 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.
Pro Tip: There is a fine line between mixing well and over mixing. You want to mix just until there are no dry ingredients. Then stop. If you over mix your cake batter it will start to form gluten (like bread), which will make it chewy instead of tender and fluffy. We want moist, tender fluffy vanilla cake here. 🙂
(Want to turn this into a snickerdoodle mug cake? Add the ground cinnamon along with the dry ingredients. See the recipe card below for how much to add.)
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 batter 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 toppings 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 burning 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.
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. (Edit: Turns out I ended up making a Strawberry Shortmug Cake recipe!)
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 kiddo’s #1 variation. They love these snickerdoodle cookies, but when they doesn’t have any around, a snickerdoodle mug cake definitely hits the spot.
More Mug Cake Recipes
Vanilla Mug Cake Recipe
- 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 ½ – 3 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
- Kosher salt, just a tiny pinch
- 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!