Lemon Mug Cake

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5 from 73 votes
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This lemon mug cake is the perfect single-serving treat full of refreshing lemon flavor. It’s made in less than a minute and topped with a delicate vanilla glaze. 

lemon cake in a mug.

We love lemon desserts, like this lemon loaf, lemon mousse, and now lemon mug cake. 

After years of adoring the lemon cake at Starbucks, I finally decided to try my hand at making my own healthier single-serve version, just like with their classic coffee mug cake

The mug cake turns out incredibly moist and fluffy, with the perfect balance of fresh lemony flavor. The sugary vanilla glaze on top balances the tartness from the lemon, making for a well-rounded and decadent dessert. 

Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make lemon mug cake
  4. Can I make this in the oven?
  5. Recipe tips and variations
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. More mug cake recipes to try
  9. Lemon Mug Cake (Recipe Card)

Why this recipe works

  • Single serving. Like my single-serve chocolate chip cookie, there’s no obligation to share. It’s all yours!
  • Oven and microwave instructions. When I’m making these mug cakes for the whole house, I’ll pop them in the oven. When it’s just for me, the microwave is the way to go.
  • Made in one minute. The mug cake takes seconds to make and cooks up in a minute or less, so I barely have to be in the kitchen!

What we love about this recipe is how adaptable it is. Like most of my mug cake recipes, it’s already gluten-free and can easily be made vegan with a few simple swaps!

Ingredients needed

If you make a lot of gluten-free desserts, then odds are you have most of these ingredients on hand right now. Here’s what you’ll need for the mug cake:

  • Almond flour. I recommend using blanched almond flour, which will make for a fluffy and light cake. 
  • Coconut flour. I used almond and coconut flour because coconut flour is absorbent and gives the cake a nice cakey, slightly chewy texture. 
  • Lemon extract. For lemon cake, of course!
  • Sugar. Any granulated sweetener will work, but I used white sugar. 
  • Baking powder. To give the mug cake some rise. 
  • Egg. One room temperature egg will work, or you can swap it for one egg white or one flax egg. 
  • Milk. I used unsweetened almond milk, but any dairy or non-dairy milk will work.

For the vanilla glaze:

  • Powdered sugar. Or look for “confectioner’s sugar,” which is powdered sugar with a little starch added. 
  • Vanilla extract. For that fresh vanilla flavor!
  • Milk. Just a splash to thin out the glaze. 

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to make lemon mug cake

Step 1- Make the batter. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk, egg, and lemon extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Step 2- Microwave. Grease a large mug or deep bowl (I used a cereal bowl) generously and pour in the batter. Microwave the cake for at least 50 seconds or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Step 3. Make the glaze. While the cake cools, make the icing by mixing all of the ingredients until it reaches your desired consistency, then top the lemon cake, serve, and enjoy!

lemon mug muffin.

Can I make this in the oven?

Absolutely! If you’re making mug cakes for multiple people, it can speed up the process to bake them all at once. Here’s how it’s done:

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and prepare the batter. Pour the batter into grease oven-safe ramekins and bake the cakes for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow them to cool briefly, then add the glaze and serve. 

Recipe tips and variations

  • Avoid overcooking. Microwaves differ based on the make and model. I’ve usually been able to microwave my cakes for 50 seconds to 1 minute, but you may have to microwave yours for longer. If it’s not cooked after 50 seconds, continue microwaving in 20-second intervals until it’s done. 
  • Add more milk. If the cake batter appears too thick, add a little more milk until you have a smooth, cohesive cake batter. 
  • Add more lemon flavor. If you’re like me and really love that tart, lemony flavor, you can add a little extra lemon extract or fresh lemon zest. On the other hand, if you’re only after a little tang, use slightly less extract. 
  • Swap the lemon. While I love lemon cake, I’ve also experimented with using orange extract, and I have to say it turned out really good!

Storage instructions

To store: Mug cakes are definitely best enjoyed fresh, but if you end up with any leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 1-2 days. Just remember to cover the mug in plastic wrap or transfer the cake to an airtight container. Warm it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before enjoying. 

To freeze: I do not recommend freezing mug cake since the texture will not hold up.

lemon mug cake.

Frequently asked questions

Why did my mug cake turn out rubbery?

The main cause of a rubbery mug cake is that it is overcooked. Since it cooks in under a minute, even an additional 20 seconds can make a big difference. Try microwaving the cake for 40 seconds, then continuing in 15-second intervals until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Should you put egg in a mug cake?

While you don’t have to put egg in a mug cake, I think it adds a pleasant richness and moisture to the cake. If you’d rather skip the egg, use 1 flax egg instead. 

Why is my mug cake so dry?

The main cause of a dry mug cake is that there isn’t enough fat in the cake. 

More mug cake recipes to try

Keto Lemon Mug Cake that tastes like a Meyer lemon cake!

Lemon Mug Cake

5 from 73 votes
This lemon mug cake is the perfect single-serving treat full of refreshing lemon flavor. It’s made in less than a minute and topped with a delicate vanilla glaze. 
Servings: 1 mug cake
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 1 minute
Total: 2 minutes

Video

Ingredients  

Vanilla Glaze

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • In a separate small bowl, combine the milk with the egg and whisk with the lemon extract. Add the mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Grease a large mug or deep bowl (I used a cereal bowl) generously and pour the batter in it and microwave for at least 50 seconds, depending on the microwave.
  • While it's cooling, make the icing by mixing all ingredients to a desired consistency then top the lemon cake.

Notes

TO STORE. Mug cakes are definitely best enjoyed fresh, but if you end up with any leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 1-2 days. Just remember to cover the mug in plastic wrap or transfer the cake to an airtight container. Warm it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before enjoying. 
TO FREEZE. I do not recommend freezing mug cake since the texture will not hold up.

Nutrition

Serving: 1mug cakeCalories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 6gFat: 13gFiber: 4gVitamin A: 150IUVitamin C: 1.7mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.7mgNET CARBS: 2g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Recipe originally published April 2019 but updated to include new information for your benefit.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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  1. 5 stars
    I LOVE THE 2 INGREDIENT PIZZA DOUGH AND NAAN BREAD. TASTES DELICIOUS AND LIGHT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING. LOUISE

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