Kathryn Rem: A 10-minute cake

Kathryn Rem

Stacey J. Miller had a craving for a homemade brownie. Just one.

She didn’t want to have to make a pan of brownies, eat one, and throw the rest away. So she found a recipe on the Internet for something called a single-serve microwave mug cake.

“It just hit the spot,” said the Boston book publicist about the brownie-like confection. In fact, she liked it so much, she developed a variety of mug cake recipes, each one ready in fewer than 10 minutes. She put the recipes into her own book, called “101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes” (BPT Press).

Mug cakes are simply made by cooking a small amount of homemade cake batter in a microwave-safe cup.

They don’t require a lot of baking equipment, are cheaper than store-bought pastries, don’t generate leftovers, come in many flavors and can be made in even a tiny kitchen. All that’s left to clean up is a spoon, a mug, a small bowl and a saucer.

“Eat them when they’re warm,” said Miller. The texture may change if left in the cup for a while.

She has one hard-and-fast rule when making the snack cakes: Fill the cup halfway or less.

“If you make the batter and are tempted to fill the mug more than halfway, you’re making a mistake,” she said. “My microwave suffered so yours doesn’t have to.”

The author recommends using a 16-ounce mug shaped like a cylinder.

“I love the alternative of baking instead of going to doughnut shops,” Miller said. “It’s instant gratification.”

Here’s her favorite recipe from the book. I made this recipe as written and it burned a bit in the center of the cake. I would check for doneness at 2 minutes.

Blueberry Muffin Microwave Mug Cake

1 egg

2 tablespoons blueberry yogurt (with the fruit stirred in)

1 tablespoon oil

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder (not prepared)

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Prepare microwavable mug by coating the inside lightly with cooking spray.

Mix ingredients in small bowl. Beat egg first with a spoon and mix in other liquid ingredients. Then add dry ingredients and mix until lumps are gone.

Pour batter into mug (do not fill more than halfway) and smooth top with spoon. Thump mug firmly on tabletop 6 times to remove excess air bubbles. Place mug on microwavable saucer or small plate.

Bake 3-4 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick in the middle of the cake. If toothpick is dry, the cake is done.

Wait 2 minutes, then run butter knife along inside of mug and tip cake onto plate. Position cake so the slightly rounded top is on top. It will look like a slightly overgrown muffin.

Makes 1.

Food editor Kathryn Rem can be reached at 788-1520 or This column will be on hiatus for a few weeks, but will return.