Making Mug Cake is stupid fun. Some would disagree --citing that its simple recipe makes for a very boring cake to make. But I can't entirely agree. I believe mug cakes are one of the starting points for creative baking. Take this moist, lemon-scented chocolate mug cake for example.

A chocolatey, citrus mug cake

It's a general practice to combine a rich chocolate flavor with that of citrus in a dessert recipe. For a mug cake, this simple combination elevates it from just a simple microwave dessert. A fresh citrus flavor can turn an already luxurious chocolate flavor into something out of this world.

To take things further, a simple lemon glaze can be thrown onto the mug cake.

Why mug cake is stupid

Mug cake is the simplest type of cake in the world, hands down. This marvel doesn't require some of the conventional methods of baking, ranging from ingredients to equipment.

For one, it's also eggless, meaning no mechanical leavening is required. In fact, the cake is leavened mainly by chemicals and hot bubbling vegetable oil, but both need to be treated with care. Too much baking powder/soda will cause the cake to rise too high and eventually flop. And too much oil will make it too dense to rise evenly and produce cracks.

Another reason it's simple is that it can be prepared in a microwave and can be ready in a minute or so.

Again, this is where the oil comes in. When heated, it forms air pockets when it bubbles up that are pretty effective in small spaces. This oil can be canola, vegetable, or even coconut. Either one works.

One thing to note is that it will require a microwave-safe mug. While this seems obvious, one has to discern whether such equipment is available as not every manufacturer tends to spell this out with appropriate labeling.

Therefore it's advised to do research on the equipment at hand or go out of the way to buy actual mugs that fit the profile.

The recipe

Cake ingredients

  • Vegetable oil as needed (for a microwave-safe mug)
  • 2 tbsp self-rising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp canola, vegetable, or coconut oil

Glaze ingredients (optionally):

  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

The directions

  1. For the mug cake, choose a microwave mug with a handle. Brush the insides with the same oil chosen for the ingredients.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar together using a whisk or fork. Add the lemon zest.
  3. Stir in the milk, lemon juice, and oil to create a smooth batter with no lumps.
  4. Pour the batter into a microwave-safe mug (preferably one with a handle).
  5. Microwave the mug cake for 90 to120 seconds or until it stops rising and the center of its surface sets.
  6. Carefully remove the mug cake from the microwave and place it on a heat-resistant surface or plate to cool for 3 minutes.
  7. For the glaze (optional), whisk the confectioner sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Keep whisking until all sugar dissolves, and the mixture is thick. Drizzle the finished glaze over the surface of the mug cake. Enjoy.

Mug cake variations

  • Orange-scented - Substitute orange juice and zest for the lemon juice and zest.
  • Raspberry - Omit the lemon juice and zest (and glaze if using). Add a tablespoon of diced raspberries and an extra tablespoon of milk in Step 2 instead. Optionally, you can garnish the mug cake with raspberries (whole or chopped) instead of the glaze.