Learn how to make a chocolate chip mug cake from scratch that you cook in the microwave in 90 seconds or less! This quick and easy recipe makes cake for one without eggs and is ready in under 10 minutes from start to finish.
Mug cakes are the answer to a craving, when you just want cake without making a big one. Here's an easy recipe to make a chocolate chip mug cake, which is a vanilla mug cake with chocolate chips. You can eat it plain or top it with anything you'd have with a slice of cake!
The ingredients you need
Like any mug cake, the ingredients are pretty standard and you probably have them all in your pantry and fridge!
- all-purpose flour to bind all the ingredients together and make this a cake (as opposed to a brownie)
- sugar, granulated sugar or brown sugar will work here, but I find brown sugar adds a little extra flavour, which is important when microwaving foods because they don't have time to caramelize at all
- baking powder is very important here to help the cake rise quickly in the microwave
- salt, preferably Diamond Crystal fine kosher but even table salt will work here because it's just a pinch
- milk, preferably whole milk with 3.25 % fat
- neutral oil, like canola oil, is used instead of butter to make mixing easier. Another option would be to melt the same quantity of butter in the mug first in the microwave before adding the other ingredients
- vanilla is important in this recipe to add flavour. Yes, you can make this recipe without it, but I find just a couple drops add a little more depth of flavour to the cake which can be quite bland otherwise.
- chocolate chips because extra chocolate is a good thing! They should not burn in the time it takes to microwave the mug cake. Use whatever chocolate chips you prefer. Peanut butter chips could be very interesting here! I prefer mini chocolate chips, specifically dark chocolate chips.
Special tools and equipment
Obviously the other important element to this recipe is the microwave oven. Sure, you could bake this recipe in a regular home oven or even a toaster oven, but that would take longer and we want cake fast!
The other important piece to this recipe is the mug. Choose the right mug: the mug must be microwave safe and it should have a volume of about 250 mL (1 cup or 8 fluid ounces), otherwise, there's a risk that the cake batter will spill over as it rises in the microwave.
How to make it
This chocolate chip cake is very, very easy and serves only one person. All the ingredients are measured directly into a mug and mixed with a fork. This batter follows the muffin mixing method, so the dry ingredients are mixed in the mug first. Then you top them with the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
The cake is microwaved instead of baked in the oven, so it cooks really quickly (takes 90 seconds in my microwave). When it's ready to eat, it's still warm, and the chocolate chips are all gooey and melty. This is the perfect solution to a Friday night craving for vanilla cake.
If you don't have a microwave, you have options to bake the mug cake in the oven. You could bake this in a toaster oven (or a conventional oven). Just make sure your mug is oven-safe. Or use a ramekin with a volume of at least 250 mL (1 cup).
How to tell if it's cooked
The only trouble I've had with mug cakes cooked in the microwave is checking if they are done baking/cooking. When you microwave a mug cake, you can watch the progress through the window, but after about 60 seconds, the window of the microwave fogs up from the evaporation and steam generated as the cake cooks. This means, you can't see what's happening or rely on visual cues.
The only thing you can do is pause the microwave to check if your cake is done baking. Then use a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake, all the way to the bottom, to make sure it comes out clean. Unfortunately, this can lead to the cake on the bottom becoming gummy if it's under-baked because the cake collapses back down. Trial and error with your microwave will help you figure out what is the perfect cook time for your mug cakes. In my microwave, it takes 90 seconds on high power.
Once your mug cake is done cooking in the microwave, I highly suggest topping it with:
- ice cream, either vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate ice cream, or cookie ice cream
- a dollop of whipped cream
- crème anglaise, would make an awesome dessert sauce for this
- chocolate syrup (I used Hershey's chocolate syrup for the photos) or a warm homemade chocolate fudge sauce like the one in this banana split cake would be great. Chocolate ganache would also be awesome as a topping for this!
- sprinkles are always a good option too!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can! If you don't have a microwave, find a very small cake pan or use a large oven-safe ramekin that is at least 250 mL or 1 cup. Some mugs will go in the oven, like enamelware mugs and ceramic mugs, but you'll have to check with the manufacturer.
Bake the mug cake in a preheated oven set to 325ºF or even 350 ºF. It will take under 20 minutes. You can use a conventional oven or a toaster oven. Remember to check if the cake is done baking before taking it out! Use a cake tester or an instant read thermometer.
Vanilla isn't really an optional ingredient in this chocolate chip mug cake because the base recipe is a vanilla mug cake with chocolate chips added to the batter before cooking. Without the vanilla, you may find the cake very bland, so you need to make a baking substitution. Substitutions include a few drops of rum or bourbon, which would be a good option. If you want to flavour the cake batter in other ways, try a sprinkling of cardamom or cinnamon. These two can be mixed with the other dry ingredients.
Chocolate Chip Mug Cake
- In a microwavable mug (make sure that it has a 1-cup capacity, ~250 mL, and is microwave-safe), stir together with a fork the flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, baking powder, and salt.
- Measure the milk, oil and vanilla directly into the mug. Stir again until there are virtually no more lumps. Make sure to scrape the bottom edges to make sure there are no flour pockets!
- Top with more chocolate chips if you want.
- Place the mug in the microwave, and cook on high for 90 seconds. The cake will puff up as it cooks. Use a cake tester and insert it into the centre of the cake to test if it's done cooking.
- Carefully take the mug out of the microwave (it’s hot!) and let the cake sit for a couple of minutes before diving in with spoon. You can also top it with ice cream and sprinkles.