Sometimes, however, we don’t need the whole cake. Or perhaps we’d like the whole cake, but don’t have time to make it.
Enter the mug cake.
The following treat mixes up in a flash – in the very mug it cooks in – and offers a speedy solution to a chocolate craving.
It’s also a fun project with kids. The mug cake is a great recipe for those with shorter attention spans to learn the basics of measuring. It’s also a safe activity for kids to do alone or with a friend, with little or no supervision, as the cooking is done in the microwave.
Or make one (or two!) with a child or grandchild and enjoy a sweet treat together!
For added value, this chocolatey cake contains the protein of a whole egg and is naturally gluten-free. The “flour” comes in the form of anti-oxidant rich cocoa powder and peanut butter powder, which supplies an added dose of filling protein.
The mug cake could be dairy-free if dairy-free chocolate chips are used.
For those who may not be familiar with peanut butter powder, it is made from roasted peanuts, which have been pressed to remove most of the oil and then ground into a fine powder. It can be used much like a whey protein powder, and you’ll get a bit of fiber from it as well.
A variety of brands are widely available at grocery stores; the peanut butter powder I used for the pictured mug cakes is from Naked Nutrition. I’ve created a variety of recipes for this company over the years, and I appreciate their commitment toward using simple ingredients and as few of them as possible.
You can mix the ingredients right in the mug – no extra dishes to wash! Just make sure you stir down to the bottom.
To prevent the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom, use mini chocolate chips and then sprinkle them on top before cooking, but do not stir.
Tossing the chocolate chips with a pinch or two of cocoa powder or flour before using will further prevent them from sinking during cooking.
Standard-size morsels may be used; they will sink to the bottom and create a melted chocolate layer. If you flip the cake onto a plate, it’s sort of like icing.
Standard-size chips may also be dotted on top of the mug cake as soon as it’s done cooking. The hot cake will melt the bottom of the chips and make them stick. (see photos)
Size of mug: A 14- to 16-ounce mug works best for this mug cake, as the larger size allows room for the cake to rise while cooking without overflowing. A tall mug with straight (not angled) sides will ensure that the cake bakes evenly.
Should I grease or spray the mug? There is no need to grease the mug; it will release easily. You may eat the cake straight from the mug or use a knife to gently loosen the edges and invert the mug onto a plate – or just pry it out with the help of a fork.
Making more than one mug cake? For even cooking, microwave them one at a time.
All microwaves vary, so it may take a time or two to find what’s best in your microwave. A quick-read thermometer will help – look for the center of the muffin to register a temperature of 200℉.
If the cake is dry, you likely need to reduce cooking time.
If the cake is too gooey, add a few seconds to the cooking time.
If the cake doesn’t rise well, check to see if your cocoa powder is Dutch process or regular. I recommend regular baking powder for this recipe, but there is a leavening adjustment in the recipe notes.
Should I wait for the mug cake to cool before eating?
You may eat it right away or allow it to cool. I most enjoy the cake when still warm. That said, if you eat half, you can cover the leftover half once cooled or place it in an airtight container. It will still taste rather good after sitting at room temperature for a day.
Customize the mug cake…
As you will see in the recipe card, there are many ways to customize this speedy cake, adding to the convenience – and fun factor!
Perhaps my favorite “extra” is the molten peanut butter center. For this I use regular peanut butter – creamy or crunchy. If the warm cake is inverted onto a plate, the peanut butter will end up on the top, much like an icing. Or you can enjoy the cake straight from the mug, scooping down into the lava-like center.
On occasion, I’ve forgotten to add the dollop of peanut butter. In that case, the peanut butter can be spread, like frosting, over the finished cake.
Don’t love the added peanut butter? You could use another nut butter, or stick with the chocolate chip option. There’s no right or wrong, so feel free to add your own twist.
For brownie sundae-like appeal, feel free to add a scoop of ice cream!
I occasionally mentioned my appreciation for the kitchen scale. If you haven’t tried, you’ll be thrilled with by how quickly and accurately you can make a wide range of baked goods, vinaigrettes, and so much more.
Tossing the chocolate chips with a pinch or two of cocoa powder or flour before using will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom during cooking. Standard-size morsels may be used; they tend to sink to the bottom and create a melted chocolate layer. If you flip the cake onto a plate, it’s sort of like icing.
In this naturally gluten-free recipe, peanut butter powder and cocoa powder create the bulk typically provided by regular flour. Note that many varieties of peanut butter powder contain a small amount of sugar and salt, while others consist of just peanuts. I’ve made this recipe with both, and the flavor difference is imperceptible.
The molten peanut butter center is divine. Simply drop a spoonful of creamy or chunky peanut butter on top of the muffin before cooking. It will sink down and melt, creating a salty-sweet flavor combination and a makeshift icing.
A few minutes to mix the ingredients (right in the mug) plus 50 seconds in the microwave is all you need for a chocolatey, single serve cake!
If you try this recipe, let us know. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @fountainavenuekitchen on Instagram and Facebook. Your feedback is appreciated.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Mug Cake
Prep Time:3 minutes
Cook Time:1 minute
Total Time:4 minutes
A decadently delicious, single serve cake takes a few minutes to make and offers a hearty dose of satisfying protein too!
1½ teaspoons (7ml) avocado oil or a neutral cooking oil of choice
1 medium or large egg
2 tablespoons (10g) cocoa powder (I use regular, not Dutch process*)
1½ tablespoons (18g) granulated sugar**
1 tablespoon (6g) peanut butter powder***
⅛ teaspoon baking soda (lightly pack and level with a straight edge)
Pinch (1/16 teaspoon) kosher salt
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips (plus a few for topping, if desired)
Optional (but recommended!) for lava center: 1 tablespoon (16g) creamy or chunky peanut butter
Add the oil to a 14- to 16-ounce microwave-safe mug. (Extra space is needed to prevent overflow; when cooking, the cake will rise a good bit before settling back down. A 12-ounce mug might work; just place on a plate to catch any overflow.)
Whisk in the egg, followed by the cocoa powder, sugar, peanut butter powder, baking soda**, and salt. Stir well, making sure you get to the bottom. (Tip:If you have time, let the muffin sit on the counter for 10 minutes. This will give the dry ingredients time to absorb some of the moisture. If you can’t wait, the results will still be good.)
Place the optional peanut butter in the center, right on top. It will sink down when cooking and create a molten effect. Evenly distribute the mini chips over the surface. Do not stir.
Microwave on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute. (The cakes take exactly 50 seconds in my microwave.) The cake should spring back when touched, and the temperature in the center of the muffin should read between 195 – 200℉ when taken with a quick-read thermometer. If not, microwave in additional 10 second bursts.
Sprinkle with a few extra chocolate chips, if using, while the muffin is still hot.
Serving: Enjoy warm or at room temperature. You can eat the muffin right from the mug, or you can turn it out onto a plate or bowl. A scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream may be added for extra decadence. If you turn the warm peanut butter-topped muffin out, so bottom side faces up, you’ll see the “molten” peanut butter, which sort of acts like an icing. Alternatively, you could melt peanut butter separately and drizzle it over top.
*For best results, I recommend natural cocoa powder, not Dutchprocess. If using Dutch process cocoa powder, however, replace the baking soda with ¼ teaspoon baking powderor use the ⅛ teaspoon baking soda and add ¼ teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar. Dutch process cocoa powder is less acidic/has higher pH, so this change is needed to create a similar rise.
**Can I use a different sweetener? Any granulated sweetener will work, so long as the quantity is the same, as the bulk is needed. So, a cup-for-cup sugar substitute would work, but a pinch of concentrated stevia would not. Brown sugar could also be used, while honey and maple syrup would make the batter too runny.
***No peanut butter powder? Finely ground almond flour works well. All-purpose flour creates an airier crumb and the perception of a drier cake. Protein powder may also be used; note that a flavored variety will slightly alter the taste (which you may like!).
Chocolate chip tips: Standard-size morsels may be used; they will sink to the bottom and create a melted chocolate layer. If you flip the cake onto a plate, it’s sort of like icing. Standard-size chips may also be dotted on top of the mug cake as soon as it’s done cooking. The hot cake will melt the bottom of the chips and make them stick. (see photos)
Mix it up: • Feel free to substitute peanut butter, dark, or white chocolate chips. If doing so, however, roughly chop them before using to prevent the sinking mentioned above.
• For an extra hint of salty-sweet flavor, sprinkle the finished muffin with a small pinch of flaky sea salt immediately upon removing from microwave.
• Instead of the molten center, you could “frost” the finished mug cake with peanut butter.