Magic Microwave Mug Cakes

By Karen Burns-Booth •

Looking for a quick and comforting dessert?  Try these "magic" microwave mug cakes.  You can adapt the batter and add your favourite flavourings.  They're fun to make with kids at weekends and during school holidays too.

I love apples, and I’m lucky enough to have three apple trees in my garden – one Bramley apple tree and two undefined apple trees, but similar to Coxes Orange Pippin apples.  I decided to use some of my Bramleys, all safely harvested, wrapped in newspaper and stored in the garage for a comforting cakey dessert one evening. As well as cooking with some of my Bramley apples, I also wanted a quick and easy recipe, as I am extremely busy right now and I am always on the lookout for stress-free recipes that are easy to whip up when I have been travelling and have a backlog of work to get through! So, I decided to turn to my microwave and create an easy recipe for some microwave cakes.

I have made cakes in the microwave before, Little Coffee Cup Chocolate-Chip Cakes with Vanilla Cream Froth, which I call the original cupcake; they are easy to make and more importantly the recipe is very easy to adapt for one person or more, which is excellent if you are a solo diner or you just want to make a couple of cakes for the children’s dessert after a mid-week tea. I also made my Christmas Pudding last year in the microwave too, again, for ease as I was so busy, and it was just as delicious as my usual steamed pudding. The microwave can be such a useful tool for busy cooks, and it is also perfect for heating up drinks, defrosting frozen food and “steaming” vegetables.

But, cooking cakes in the microwave can result in overly dry and “chewy” bakes, so I wanted to try to debunk the myth that cakes cannot be cooked in the microwave and the recipe for Magic Microwave Mug Cakes that I am sharing today certainly proves that. The tip is the make the batter runnier and more liquid than usual, and to microwave the cakes individually, so there is no need to cook for a long time to get the middle of the cake to set which ensures a moist texture. Enter the humble mug for this recipe! A cake in a mug in the microwave is a BRILLIANT idea for busy cooks and you can adapt the basic batter to add your own flavourings.

There is NO weighing and measuring as such, as the recipe I have given is simple and uses tablespoons as its basic measurement. For every ONE egg, you can make up to FOUR mug cakes of varying sizes – for example, I used one egg for the cakes in my photos, and I got TWO large mug cakes and a baby sized “kiddie” mug cake. The ratio is simple, it’s two tablespoons of self raising flour to every mug with one tablespoon of sugar and oil; this ratio will work with one egg for up to four mugs, but it depends on the size of the mugs. If you are only making one mug cake, you can make the batter up with the egg and store it in the fridge for up to two days for future cakes or even American style pancakes.

The recipe is shared below and is based on four mugs and I have also added some cooked Bramley apples and golden syrup to the recipe, which makes a delicious cake style pudding that can be enjoyed for dessert or as a snack in front of the telly! I have added some other flavour suggestions in the recipe, do adapt it to suit your personal tastes, but, DO try this delicious apple and syrup version too, it is simply lush!

Magic Microwave Mug Cakes: Apple & Syrup

(Makes 4 mug cakes depending on size)

1 large free-range egg, beaten
8 tablespoons self-raising flour (2 tablespoons per mug)
4 tablespoons sugar (1 tablespoon per mug)
4 tablespoons rapeseed/vegetable oil (1 tablespoon per mug) or melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon per mug)
Milk, to mix into a loose batter
4 heaped tablespoons cooked sweetened Bramley apples (1 tablespoon per mug)
6 teaspoons golden syrup (1 ½ teaspoons per mug)

Optional flavourings:
Cocoa, omit 1 tablespoon of flour and add 1tablespoon cocoa
Chocolate chips
Dried fruit, such as sultanas, raisins, currants, apricots and cherries
Coconut, desiccated coconut, about 1 teaspoon per mug
Jam, about 1 ½ teaspoons per mug
Grated lemon or orange zest
Lemon or orange juice in place of the milk


1. Lightly grease the mugs.

2. Mix the eggs, flour, sugar and oil/butter together and then add the vanilla extract. Beat to mix, but DO NOT over beat the batter; it is okay if it is lumpy. Add milk to make a loose batter pours.

3. Spoon golden syrup in the bottom of the mugs and then add the cooked apple.

4. Pour the cake batter over the top; fill each mug to JUST OVER a half, any more batter and the cake batter will run over the top of the mugs.

5. Cook the mugs INDIVIDUALLY for 2 minutes on high or 1 ½ minutes on high for smaller mugs.

6. Allow to stand for 1 minute and then serve with cream and/or crème fraiche. Warn everyone that the mugs and cakes will be very hot – allow to cool for 2 minutes for children.

7. Excess batter can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

Inspired? For more baking recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.


Funnily enough I've been thinking lately about experimenting with microwave puds and cakes, as I don't seem to ever find the time to make them anymore. And my kids would adore a pud in their own special mugs, such a sweet idea! So going to give these a whirl with the apple and golden syrup combo, simply gorgeous.
28 February 2014
Lavender and Lovage
Thanks! The measurements for a tablespoon in this recipe is for a tablespoon in a set of measuring spoons, that's 15mls. Karen
24 February 2014
the recipe looks fab and I want to try it. It will be just the sort of thing for my husband and I to have. We rarely eat dessert these days as we just can't eat a traditional recipe size.
One question: does the tablespoon refer to the tablespoon in a set of measuring spoons or a traditional uk style tablespoon which is larger? How many ml s would the tablespoon be?
Many thanks.
24 February 2014

Karen Burns-Booth

Karen Burns-Booth is creative freelance food writer & blogger. Her love of seasonal food & recipes stems from her childhood observing her grandmother and mother’s cookery skills. A regular contributor in Country Kitchen magazine, she currently writes for numerous other publications, food, travel and tourism websites and has several recipes in print in compilation cookbooks. She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook.

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