This quick and easy yellow mug cake is a simple single-serving microwavable dessert with a classic vanilla flavor and buttercream frosting.
The recipe makes one individual serving, which makes it a great recipe when a craving strikes and you're short on time or ingredients (or when you don't want an entire cake in the house). In just a few minutes, you'll have a moist, fluffy yellow mug cake ready to enjoy.
Microwave mug cake is great when you need a sweet treat in a pinch, but it's also an easy recipe for cooking with kids.
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- Easy recipe: Indulging your sweet tooth is simple with this easy mug cake.
- Simple ingredients: To whip up this delectable treat, you'll need just a few basic ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen.
- Quick: Skip the full-sized cake! You can make this perfect dessert in a matter of minutes.
- Unsalted butter: Adds fat and moisture to the cake.
- Egg yolk: Adds richness. Egg yolk is what makes yellow cake yellow.
- Milk: Adds moisture.
- Vanilla extract: Adds a light vanilla flavor.
- All-purpose flour: The main dry ingredient.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar makes the cake sweet.
- Baking powder: Gives the cake its light and fluffy texture.
- Kosher salt: Table salt enhances the overall flavor.
See the recipe card for quantities.
If making a buttercream frosting, make a half recipe of this buttercream frosting for two cupcakes. See additional serving ideas below.
Add the butter to the mug and microwave for 20 to 40 seconds or until melted.
Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract, mixing the wet ingredients thoroughly with a fork to combine.
Stir in the flour a little bit at a time, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients: sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Microwave for about 70 seconds (1 minute, 10 seconds). This is based on an 1100-watt microwave, so it may take more or less time depending on your microwave's wattage (anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds). If the cake is not fully cooked, microwave in 10-second increments.
It is normal for the cake to rise above the rim of the mug as it cooks and then sink slightly. Do not open the microwave too soon or the cake will sink significantly.
Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before topping it with frosting, powdered sugar, or whipped topping (optional).
After cooling, top the cake with frosting, powdered sugar, whipped topping, chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce. I have an easy buttercream frosting for two cupcakes recipe that can be divided in half for a single mug cake.
Another option: when the cake is warm, add a tablespoon of chocolate chips on top to soften as the cake cools.
Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream for an extra indulgent treat.
- Butter - You can use a neutral oil like canola oil or vegetable oil instead of butter.
- Egg - The egg can be omitted if desired (try this eggless mug cake recipe).
- Milk - Use any milk you desire: cow's milk, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, and more. Unsweetened almond milk is my top substitution recommendation.
- Vanilla - Vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste can be substituted in the same exact quantity.
- Sugar - Instead of granulated sugar, try brown sugar for a deeper flavor.
- Pumpkin - If you like the vanilla version, try my pumpkin mug cake for a sweet treat for fall.
- Banana - Make banana bread in a mug.
- Chocolate chip - Make a delicious chocolatey mug cake with chocolate chips.
- Microwave - This recipe was developed with an 1100-watt microwave but can be made in any microwave. Note that cook times will vary, so you may need to experiment with your microwave to find the perfect cook time.
- 12 oz or 16 oz mug - Use a microwave-safe mug or a large ramekin. A 12-ounce coffee mug is seen in these photos, but the recipe will also work in a large mug.
This is best served immediately, but just like other cakes, leftover mug cake can be covered and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. Be careful if reheating, however, as cooking the cake further can dry it out. Enjoy cold or reheat in 10-second increments.
Adjust the cooking time based on your microwave. The ideal microwave time will vary because the wattage (i.e., power) varies. Most home kitchen microwaves range from 600 to 1,200 watts.
Yellow Mug Cake
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Add the butter to the mug and microwave for 20 to 40 seconds or until melted.
- Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract, mixing the wet ingredients thoroughly with a fork to combine.
- Stir in the flour a little bit at a time, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients: sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Microwave for about 70 seconds (1 minute, 10 seconds).* This will take more or less time depending on your microwave's wattage (anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds). If the cake is not fully cooked, microwave in 10-second increments. It is normal for the cake to rise above the rim of the mug as it cooks and then sink slightly. Do not open the microwave too soon or the cake will sink significantly.
- Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before topping it with frosting, powdered sugar, or whipped topping (optional).
- Wash your hands after handling raw eggs.
- Though raw cake batter is tempting, avoid consuming raw eggs and raw flour.
- Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw flour to minimize the spread of bacteria.
Read more food safety tips from the USDA.