Pumpkin spice mug cake is a must-have fall dessert. It's filled with brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla for a moist, delicious single-serving dessert. This recipe is egg-free.
The great thing about mug cake is that it's single-serving, so you can enjoy your sweet treat without being haunted by an entire cake. In only a few steps, you'll learn how to make a moist pumpkin mug cake.
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- Single-serving dessert recipe: Cake for one!
- Fall flavors: Pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin purée, and brown sugar make for a sweet treat.
- Fast: Microwave in 90 seconds. This is one of the easiest desserts.
If you want more pumpkin recipes, check out Pumpkin Custard, Pumpkin Spice Donuts, Pumpkin Bisquick Pancakes, or Pumpkin Avocado Toast. These pumpkin desserts and breakfast recipes will all help you use up any leftover pumpkin puree from a can of pumpkin.
This pumpkin spice mug cake recipe calls for a few ingredients you may already have in your baking stash in the pantry.
- all-purpose flour: perfect for our fluffy mug cake
- light brown sugar: to sweeten
- baking powder: to help the cake rise
- pumpkin pie spice: to boost the pumpkin flavor
- salt: for flavor
- pumpkin purée: our feature ingredient
- milk: for a light texture
- pure vanilla extract: for flavor
- vegetable oil or canola oil: for a rich and moist cake
- powdered sugar: for added sweetness
See the recipe card for quantities.
Mix the dry ingredients in a 12-16 oz mug. See my notes further down for some tips on mug size.
Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Be mindful to scrape the bottom edges of the mug for any hidden flour chunks.
Tip: I like to mix mine with a fork. The fork tines make it easier to get to flour at the bottom of the mug.
Microwave for about 90 seconds. The cake will rise high above the rim of the mug and then settle as soon as you open the microwave. Try not to open the microwave too soon or your cake will sink.
This photo below was about 15 seconds after opening the microwave door, so it was a bit higher than this while cooking. If the cake is still uncooked, microwave in 10-second increments.
Allow the cake to cool before adding a dusting of powdered sugar and serving. Other topping ideas include whipped cream and maple syrup.
Hint: It takes several minutes for a pumpkin mug cake to cool down. If you dust with powdered sugar too soon, it will dissolve onto the cake.
This recipe has only been tested with the ingredients listed on the recipe card. These are the main opportunities for substitutions. Otherwise, I recommend sticking to the recipe as written.
- Milk: I used 2% milk, but you can use whole milk, 1%, almond milk, soy milk, etc.
- Sugar: Brown sugar in general can be substituted with white sugar. White sugar is slightly sweeter and results in a slightly different texture. I have not tested this, so please comment below if you do and share your results.
- Powdered sugar: Even with two tablespoons of brown sugar, it's not a super sweet cake, so it needs frosting or a dusting of powdered sugar to give it that extra sweetness you expect from a cake. If you're looking for a small-batch buttercream, check out my buttercream for two cupcakes recipe.
I do not recommend replacing the pumpkin puree with canned pumpkin pie mix. Pumpkin pie mix contains sugar, salt, and spices, so the recipe would need to be adjusted.
You will notice this is an eggless pumpkin spice mug cake. I didn't find that adding an egg was necessary.
Once you have nailed this mug cake, mix it up with a tablespoon of chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, or peanut butter chips.
What size mug should I use?
This recipe can be made in a 16 oz mug or a 12 oz mug (see below).
The 16 oz mug has more mixing room and takes an extra 10 seconds to cook in my microwave. My microwave is 1200 watts. The cake rises just above the rim of the mug while microwaving and then sinks down.
The 12 oz mug gives you that nice rounded top. It rises above the rim of the mug quite a bit while cooking and remains slightly elevated when it cools.
See my notes on microwave time for tips on pulling the cake out at the right moment.
How long does it take to microwave?
In a 1200 watt microwave, the 12 oz mug takes 90 seconds (1 minute, 30 seconds) and the 16 oz mug takes 100 seconds (1 minute, 40 seconds).
What is the toothpick test? I do a toothpick test to test for doneness. If you poke the center of the cake with a toothpick and it comes out clean, you're good to go.
If your cake is not fully cooked after 90 seconds, microwave in 10-second intervals until it is done.
My most important tip: When you use the smaller 12 oz mug, it can be alarming to see the cake rising in the microwave. Try to resist pulling open the microwave door too soon (unless you can tell a spill is really going to happen, then by all means, protect your microwave!).
I've tested this recipe many times, and it always looks like it's going to spill over the edge, but it doesn't. The cake rises straight up (perhaps a little leaning to the side), but it doesn't spill over the rim.
If you open the door too soon, the cake will sink in the center. You can put it back in the microwave to finish cooking, but once it is sunken in, you can't fix the appearance. Below is an example of a mug cake that was pulled out of the microwave too soon.
Whether you end up with a perfect dome or a sunken cake, it's still tasty!
Mug cake is best enjoyed immediately after cooling.
Pumpkin Mug Cake
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour packed and leveled
- 2 tablespoon light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling/mix)
- 3 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- powdered sugar optional
- Mix the dry ingredients in a 12 to 16 oz mug.
- Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Be mindful to scrape the bottom edges of the mug for any hidden flour chunks.
- Microwave for about 90 seconds. The cake will rise high above the rim of the mug. Try not to open the microwave too soon or your cake will sink. If the cake is still uncooked, microwave in 10 second increments.
- Allow the cake to cool before adding a dusting of powdered sugar (optional) and serving.
Frequently asked questions
A small amount of baking powder will help mug cake rise.
The egg flavor can be amplified in a mug cake because of the way the cake is heated and because of the quantity used. This mug cake recipe is egg-free.
Suzette Jackson says
This was delicious 😋
The perfect single serving dessert for the fall.
Not sure what went wrong I’ve cooked this for almost 4 min so far and it’s really running.
The flavor is great but it’s like pudding?
Kelsey Smith says
That's interesting! I can't imagine what would cause that result. My 1200 watt microwave fully cooks in 90 seconds. Sorry this recipe didn't work out.