{2 minute} Coffee Cake in a Mug

By now we all know that I like food, but what I haven’t told you is that I’m not a huge chocolate fan. Gasp! I like chocolate, I really do, and while I think that chocolate milkshakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are from the gods, I just can’t handle a lot of it. Dark chocolate? No thanks. If I had my choice between a fruit cobbler with ice cream and a Death by Chocolate cake, I’m going with the cobbler. Sorry folks, no shame.

What I’m really trying to get at here is that I’ve done the cake in a mug thing before and wasn’t sold- that totally relates, right?. I usually try to stay FAR, FAR away from the microwave when it comes to anything besides reheating food. In fact, baking in the microwave pretty much goes against everything I believe in. Until now. The chocolate mug cakes I’ve made in the past were 1. WAY too chocolaty for my tastes and 2.  like eating rubber.

I was in the mood for cake the other morning – it was almost noon, don’t judge– and I had zero counter, oven, or sink space because I was in the midst of cooking for 300 people. So I went against my better judgement and headed for the microwave and I am so glad that I did. Well, kind of.  It may or may not be true that I’ve made this every day for the past week during nap time and my butt is getting big.

**Update: If you  like pumpkin, hop on over here for a pumpkin version of this cake that is just as  sinfully good as this one!**


{2 minute} Coffee Cake in a Mug
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • vanilla extract, few drops
  • ¼ C All Purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  1. In a mug soften 1 tbsp of butter in microwave, about 5 seconds. You don’t want it melted, just soft. Stir in 2 tbsp of sugar and mix until well incorporated. Stir in applesauce, vanilla (just a tiny bit, we’re talking drops), flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt; stirring until just combined. Use the back of your spoon to smooth it out in the bottom of the mug.
  2. Want struesel? Of course you do! In a separate, small bowl, combine 1 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of flour, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Use your fingers to to pinch the butter and mix it in with the other ingredients. When it starts to look like lumpy sand (appetizing, eh?) and all ingredients are combined, pour on top of cake batter in mug.
  3. Cook in the microwave for 50-80 seconds depending on your microwave. At 1 minute, my microwave cooks it perfectly. It will look just barely set on top. You don’t want to overcook it and things tend to get ugly fast in the microwave. I suggest cooking it 50 seconds, and then in 10 second intervals checking after each interval until done. Eat white it’s still warm. Once it cools off, it tends to loose some of it’s magic!
Heather Likes Food


  1. Kara says

    Thanks Heather.
    I too dislike chocolate, and I like that you make it from scratch. I usually don’t like sweets, but I have a nostalgic twang for coffee cakes, because it was something I enjoyed as a kid.
    That said, I will take your recipe and deconstruct it, try almond meal and stevia and try to incorporate some ground flax seed into it… healthy(ish) can be tasty too
    Thanks for the recipe and inspiration<3

    • Barbara says

      I hope your deconstruction works–I can’t use regular flour, being gluten-free, so I need to deconstruct, too. Maybe coconut flour would work as well?

      • Tazia Rae says

        So how did the deconstruction go? 13 weight watchers points total- I am searching for a healthier alternative :)

  2. says

    YES! Thank you! Finally a mug cake that isn’t some sort of chocolatey – I’m kinda with you on the chocolate thing. Too much of it is pretty boring to me. Plus, the texture of this actually does look baked. Pinning this one for sure!

    • Linda says

      That sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try it.
      Have you ever heard of the 3-2-1 minute cupcake? In a gallon bag -Mix 1 dry cake mix any flavor you like with 1 angel food cake mix. (you must use 1 angel food mix) To make one serving, mix in a cup or ramekin – 3 tbsp cake mixture with 2 tbsp of water, stir well and bake in microwave 1 minute. Serve with ice cream and your favorite topping. Whenever you need a quick dessert in a minute try this. (Sometimes I stir in a few white choclate chips.)

      • Jez says

        I make 3-2-1 Microwave cake all the time. I live alone so making a big cake is out of the question because I would feel obligated to eat it before it got funny. I do like chocolate, so I’ve made 3-2-1 with chocolate cake mix last winter, but for the warmer weather I’ve made it with lemon cake and topped it with fruit or ice cream.

        It’s also great when I have unexpected guests. It means I always have something quick I can serve and people have fun adding their own toppings.

        I haven’t got adventurous enough yet to try making microwave cakes from scratch yet, but this one looks easy and yummy. So I’ll make sure I get the needed ingredients the next time I grocery shop.

  3. Wendy says

    I am a fan of chocolate, but the microwave chocolate cake left a lot to be desired (at least the one I tried a few years ago). However, I am also a fan of cinnamon, and this looks pretty fantastic.

    One question – I don’t routinely have applesauce in my house, can I substitute canola oil?
    (You may be weird not liking chocolate, but I’m weird by not liking anything make from apples…. applesauce, apple juice, apple pie – YUCK. Give me a REAL apple any day!)

    • says

      Haha, I’ve never heard of an aversion to all things apple! Love it. I’ve never used canola oil, but I have used sour cream and greek yogurt with good results. I don’t see why the canola oil wouldn’t work, I’ve just never tried it. If you do give it a go, let me know how it works!

    • says

      I’m thinking it probably wasn’t cooked long enough. I would try adding 10 seconds at a time, checking between intervals until it’s where you would like it. Too much applesauce might be the culprit to, but if you kept it at 2 tbsp. you should be good.

  4. Kay says

    I made this. It was goooood. I didn’t have applesauce and used an equal amount of greek yogurt instead. I didn’t have vanilla (I know, weird right?) but I used brown sugar instead of white sugar and it tastes just fine. Mine took about a minute and five seconds in my mysterious dorm microwave. I’ll probably make it again, and next time I might mix it up after cooking. The streusel to cake ratio was too low on the last bites. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. megan says

    Made this with 2 1/2 year old. He enjoyed the process and the product. We made it in one of those clear glass Irish coffee mug type glasses. After 50 seconds, it was done and the glass itself was still cool enough for my little one to take out of the microwave. we did take it out of the mug to cool quicker for eating right away – as toddlers aren’t know for their patience. We did use a little less sugar and whole wheat flour. This is a good recipe to experiment with a bit for little ones. Thank you for posting.

  6. Heather A. says

    I tried this by substituting the apple sauce for nonfat blueberry yogurt and got a delicious blueberry coffee cake!! Way to go- this cake recipe also cooks better than a lot of the others I’ve tried. Great job (:

  7. says

    Tried this with a couple minor substitutions. Didn’t have applesauce so I pureed some pear pieces that come in juice. Also added a heaping tablespoon of mini chocolate chips and left off the streusal. Smelled a bit doughy but tasted delicious!

  8. says

    Since I do like chocolate, I tried this with switching out a tablespoon of flour for cocoa powder and adding a tablespoon of pb morsels. (Left off streusal again.) It was fabulous. This is not desperation cake, like so many mug cakes. This is treat cake.

  9. Mary says

    DO NOT USE CANOLA OIL! The cake just stays in dough ball at the bottom of the mug. When trying to cook it longer in hopes that it would turn into a more cake like texture, it just ended up burning.

  10. Eliza says

    I am a lover of ALL things chocolate, but the 2 minute chocolate mug cake I cannot eat, it’s so rubbery and just not-so-nice. And that is a lot coming from me, I eat pretty much anything.
    So I made this one today and it was delicious. I made a half quantity and it worked perfectly, soft and yummy and delish :)

    • admin says

      Sorry, just saw this! You can soften it a little bit if it makes it easier to come together. But the cold butter with create better streusel. You can use two forks and kind of cut it up to make it easier.

  11. says

    Oh this was delicious! I’ve been looking for an instant breakfast food I can make and this is perfect. I just softened the butter a little longer than you suggested and waited until my struesel topping looked like wet sand. Thanks for sharing.

  12. says

    How perfect that my visit coincides with your announcement that you’re not a big fan of chocolate. I can’t stand the stuff! Which is no big deal, except that 3 out of 4 recipes out there dabble in it. This looks perfect for helping get Hubby out the door in the morning. I’m wondering if I can make the mugs, put them uncooked in the fridge and then let him pop them in the microwave in the morning. If I put them in canning jars, all he has to do is take the lid off. Hmmmmm, much to think on. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us. It’s truly a winner.

    • admin says

      You’ll have to let me know how it works to keep them in the fridge before cooking. My only concern would be that the baking powder would be activated for too long and loose it’s effectiveness, but maybe not. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Becky says

    Just tried this…. couldn’t hold a candle to my grandma’s coffee cake, but is BY FAR the best mug cake I’ve ever eaten! Thanks!

  14. Shona T. says

    Loved it! I have made it two mornings in a row, hahaha, there goes my diet! I did cut it in half the second time around, and I used my homemade yogurt for the applesauce. It turned out a little more doughy than a real coffee cake, but definitely better than most microwave cake recipes. Thanks!

  15. Lisbeth Ramirez says

    My 10yr. old daughter cooked this one cup cake and we all love it. It very easy for children to make and it satisfies a sweet tooth. I did add the flax seed and I like it even better. thanks for this great recipe.

  16. Brenda says

    Oddly enough the cake was good, but the crumble was way too wet! I will tweak that next time and lessen the sugar as I found this really sweet. GREAT base cake, tasty and not rubbery! So excited to have found a ‘cup’ cake that isn’t chocolate!

  17. Dee says

    Just saw this on Pinterest and tried it immediately. Loved it! This was my first cake in a mug because I’ve heard mixed reviews on others. This was dynamite – thanks for sharing!

  18. Kathleen says

    I screwed it up unfortunately, it smelled doughy and didn’t look dark brown on top like the pictures (now assuming you used dark brown sugar vs. light) and so I overlooked it. It was chewy and inedible, totally my fault though. Oh well.

    • Heather says

      Oh no! The top doesn’t brown, it just stays the color of the brown sugar. I used regular brown sugar, though the picture might look a little dark. It’s totally worth a try again! :) Good luck! It doesn’t take much longer than a minute.

  19. Kristen says

    I found this to be really sweet :O
    But I had run out of Vanilla extract earlier in the week so I tried it with Almond extract. I had thought that the almond would make it more coffee-like but it just made it too sweet.

  20. says

    This came out beautiful for me. Not doughy at all unlike other cakes in the mug. I subbed the white sugar in the cake part with brown sugar and it was just enough sweetness for me. Perfect and dangerous for that late night cravings!

  21. says

    Wow! This is perfect. I didn’t have applesauce so I used 1/4 of an apple, diced, and 1 tbs of plain greek yogurt. Microwaved for 1 min 15 sec and came out perfectly cooked and moist. Thanks!

  22. says

    I was a bit skeptical on this whole microwave cake in a cup thing, but I decided to give it a try. I will have to say… it came out quite yummy.

  23. Liz m says

    This is DELICIOUS!!!! I am a baker and just didn’t feel like actually baking and my 3year old and I wer having a sweet tooth moment so decided to give it a go and just the perfect serving size to share it with her :) (she wants me to make it again lol)

  24. Anjelica says

    I tried cutting the measurements in half- it was delicious!! Next time i am going for the full recipe… One question: does margarine work just as well?

  25. Tesscakes says

    Just made these for me and my boyfriend. He now wants me to make them every night!

    Was out of applesauce – substituted chopped apple and Honey greek yogurt. Threw a dollop of pecan icecream on top. Heaven. ^^ Nom Nom Nom

  26. says

    Bless you, my friend! My 8 year old decided she wanted coffee cake for dessert, 30 minutes before bedtime and we had no eggs. This is easy, REALLY yummy, and your recipe is fun to read on top of that. From one Heather to another: Thank you!! Definitely want to try out the pumpkin one next!

  27. Jennifer says

    I just made this with only 1 tbsp splenda, and sub’ almond flour. I used oil instead of applesauce and I still felt this was too sugary/sweet. I am thinking about trying some xanthan gum next time so it isn’t as crumbly- and playing around with less sugar. I can’t lie, this was still one kick butt recipe and allows a lot of room for play- you rock! Thanks for the idea!

  28. Brenna says

    This is probably the best (tasty and easy) and worse (calories) thing I have discovered on Pinterest! I have reduced the sugar and butter. Any other recommendations for making it healthier? Do you think whole wheat flour would work? What is a viable butter replacement?

    • Alyssa says

      I made this with unbleached white whole wheat flour and it came out perfectly! Didn’t have any of that heavy whole-wheat flavor that happen in some baked goods.

  29. Nan J. says

    I’m allergic to wheat–can you think of a wheat-free flour that might work? Maybe some of my gluten free pancake mix?
    I’m fantasizing about adding 1 tsp of rum instead of the vanilla–too much?

    • Heather says

      Honestly I’m really unfamiliar with gluten free options but I imagine a GF flour mix would work well. You’ll have to let me know how the rum turns out, too!

  30. Chocolate Lover ^.^ says

    Just read my name and you’ll know me :)
    Dark Chocolate is one of my faves.
    I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Is it fine if I add like 1/2 tsp of espresso powder ?

  31. Chocolate Lover ^.^ says

    Thanks for the recipe!
    For some reason, I’m going through the mug cake/cookie phase.
    I will try this soon!

  32. Robert Perkins says

    I would like to serve 12 of these at one time and let my guests keep the mugs. Do you have a recipe for making a batch of these coffee cakes?

    • Heather says

      I would just multiply the recipe by 12 and split it up evenly amongst the mugs. Good luck, that’s a fun idea to have them keep the mugs!

  33. LAGraham says

    I generally make the 3-2-1 mug cakes (3 tbsp. cake misture, 2 tbsp. water, 1 minute in microwave) BUT I use other cake mix flavors that just chocolate; I can mix a box of white, pineapple, red velvet, devilsfood – you name it – with a box of angle food cake mix and stove in ziplock bags, readh whenever I want to indulge. Chocolate is at the bottom of the list of flavors I’d make.

  34. nicole says

    I’ve made this many times and it’s so good. Today, I didn’t have any applesauce so I subbed half of a small very ripe banana and it is amazing!!

  35. Will B. says

    Heather, thanks for this nifty recipe! It works like a charm! I sometimes add a few drops of almond extract as well as vanilla and occasionally I’ll add a layer of raisins between the cake and streusel layers (but tonight I added fresh blueberries). To cut down on some of the fat, I omit the butter in the cake part, and just have it in the streusel. The possibilities are endless!

  36. Adeline says

    I really like this recipe, so I thought about making the pumpkin…but I can’t get the page to come up —is it no longer available ??

  37. says

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Is there a way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  38. Evan says

    We didn’t have any applesauce, so instead I used 1/4 of a banana and it worked perfectly! Definitely a success in my book!

  39. sheila says

    Sounds great. I am also not a big fan of chocolate. Gasp! People look at me funny. Then I tell them I am a huge fan of sugar. That make it o.k. This recipe sounds perfect for a mom trying to stream line the time spent cooking in order to spend more time with her kids.

    • Heather Cheney says

      They are definitely great when you want to share something sweet with your kiddos but don’t have a lot of time!

  40. Brandon says

    So, the streusel came out white and spongey for me? How can I fix that? I feel like I missed something?

    • Heather Cheney says

      Hmm, that’s odd. Did you add the whole amount of butter and sugar? Sounds like there was too much flour to me.


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