Cake in a Mug: A Low-Calorie Cake from the Microwave

Chunky Monkey Cake Mug
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Don't feel like baking up an entire cake or just trying to limit yourself to one slice? No worries. Just make a single-serving "cake in a mug." It's ready in minutes, and there's no need to share.


Microwave-safe mug: A mug that's microwave friendly is the cookware of choice here. If you don't have one, use a microwave-safe cup or bowl that's about the same width as a standard coffee mug. (Don't worry, you can still call it cake in a mug.)

Nonstick spray: This basic pantry item is really helpful when it comes to making microwave cakes. Spritzing your mug before you add the ingredients means your cake will easily slide out when it's done.

Microwave: A standard 1,100-watt microwave is what I use, but any microwave will do. However, if you're using a microwave with a different wattage, you may need to adjust the cook time(s).

Main Ingredients

Moist-style cake mix: Use good old-fashioned cake mix. Since you won't be adding eggs or oil, it's easy to turn basic cake mix into a guilt-free treat. You'll need about 3 tablespoons of cake mix for each mugged dessert you make. That amount has around 120 calories and 2g fat. My favorite flavors are devil's food cake and spice cake, but virtually any variety will work! 

Fat-free liquid egg substitute or egg whites: I always keep a container of fat-free egg substitute in my fridge — you need only about a tablespoon of it to make cake in a mug.

If you prefer to use whites, stick with the liquid kind that comes in containers — the consistency is ideal for these microwave treats. A tablespoon of egg substitute or whites has around 15 calories and no fat.

Baking powder: I've made cake mugs without this additional leavening ingredient, but I prefer my desserts to be as fluffy as possible.

Adding about 1/8 teaspoon of it does the job. (And it's virtually calorie-free)

Fat-free or light sour cream: It may sound odd, but a little sour cream adds incredible texture and richness. Add 1 tablespoon for a delicious mini cake. A tablespoon of the fat-free kind has only about 10 calories; the same amount of the light stuff has around 20 calories and 1-1.5 grams of fat.

Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

Diet-Friendly Toppings 

These fun toppings are reasonably low in calories, but keep an eye on those portions. Grab a measuring spoon.

  • Fat-free, low-fat, or light caramel dip (1 teaspoon = 18 calories, <0.5g fat)
  • Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 teaspoon = 23 calories, 1.3g fat)
  • Chopped nuts (average, 1 teaspoon = 17 calories, 1.8g fat)
  • Shredded sweetened coconut (1 teaspoon = 12 calories, 0.7g fat)
  • Low-sugar fruit preserves (1 teaspoon = 8 calories, 0g fat)
  • Reduced-fat peanut butter (1 teaspoon = 32 calories, 2g fat)


In a microwave-safe mug sprayed with nonstick spray, combine cake mix, egg substitute, baking powder, and sour cream.

Add 2 tbsp. water, and mix until uniform.

Microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds, or until set. 

Immediately run a knife along the edges to help separate the cake from the mug. Firmly place a plate over the mug, and flip so that the plate is on the bottom. Gently shake mug to release cake onto the plate.

Let cool completely, about 15 minutes. (The texture is best after your dessert has cooled.)

Top away, and enjoy!

Recipe Idea

PB&C Cake in a Mug - Peanut butter and chocolate hit a home run in this cake mug recipe

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