Lemon Mug Cake


5 from 78 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 78 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



Vanilla Glaze


  • 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.


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.


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.

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Way better than a flour mug cake. No gluten actually works better when the microwave is involved. My teenage daughter actually exclaimed hmmmmmm (yum), when she tried a bite of my cake. I will def be making more of your recipes. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Very delicious! But, next time I’m sticking to the exact recipe and not put lemon extract into the glaze, it was a bit too much. Will use vanilla next time.

    I also like that you told us you use a bowl instead of a mug. Worked out really great using cereal bowls.

  4. Hello, could this lemon cake be made into a single layer 8 inch cake by simply multiplying each ingredient by 8? If not, what would be your recommendation? Thanks.

  5. Just made this with applesauce instead of chia seeds (vegan version) and it came out great!! Love this recipe!

  6. This turned out really well! The instructions worked perfectly. My mug cake took 1 minute and 30 seconds to cook. The texture reminded me of pound cake, and it didn’t taste eggy at all. I was craving a lemon dessert and this hit the spot. Thank you for the recipe! I look forward to trying more of your mug cakes.

  7. I just tried this and the measurements are way off, 3 tblsp of milk made the batter super thin, should it have been tsp? The egg overwhelmed it and it came out like a little puffy omelet. I guess I’m not reading it right

  8. Hi Arman I saw that one of your cakes can me cooked in the oven I was wondering if you could cook all of them in the oven if so at what temperature and for how long. Cant wait to try them. Thanks for such good healthy recipes.

  9. My daughter is allergic to tree nuts so I was wondering if I could sub another flour for the almond flour. Would additional coconut flour work? Or maybe oat flour? Thank you so much! I am SO excited to find your blog and recipes because we have numerous other allergies in the house (including wheat, egg, soy…). Your recipes have opened up so many delicious options for us!!

    1. This means so much, Kristen! For this, you can swap it for oat flour, as that has the most similar texture- Just be wary of the amount of liquid you add.

      That was something I found important when writing my cookbook- To ensure that there were tons of options for everyone 🙂

  10. Can you make this iced lemon pound cake into a full recipe for the whole family instead of individual servings. I wasn’t sure how that would work.

  11. I love this recipe! I had a crazy idea though, to kick up the lemon flavor do you think I could add lemon juice to my flax seeds I stead of water?

  12. I loved this Cake! Lemon is one of my favorites. I added a little more lemon extract because I like it very lemony. It’s so moist which rarely happens when I use coconut flour. I also love the glaze. It could be used for so many things. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Bhani! It can be any milk of choice 🙂

      You can use any granulated sweetener- White sugar, brown sugar, turbindo sugar

  13. I love all things lemon and thank you for this! I’m also GF and allergic to eggs so will try this with gelatin egg. I think I love you, but not in a creepster way- just love all your recipes!

    1. Hi Donna! If you add the ingredients into a calorie calculator, it will provide that information for you! 🙂 enjoy!

  14. I’ve made this a couple times now! It has a wonderful light fluffy texture. The first time I used an egg white and 1/4 tsp lemon extract (with no Bai–couldn’t track down that flavor). The second time I used a flax egg and 1/2 tsp lemon extract, and it was even better! Very lemony with a great texture. My mom loved it too. I might try making it with a bit of ground lavender, because I’m currently obsessed with lavender-flavored desserts. Great recipe!

  15. I used to be a huge fan of the cake pops! Now I try to stay away from purchasing any bakery items at Starbucks because of all the weird additives they put in! I think you are such a better baker than Starbucks anyways 🙂

  16. Did you know Ray’s favorite terribly-unhealthy dessert at Starbucks is the iced lemon pound cake?! Well, now you do.
    PS I bought coconut flour this past weekend at WF SPECIFICALLY because of you. So…yay.

  17. What is Bai Limu Lemon? And as to your liking Starbucks cakes, I hope that you’re not serious. Their stuff is nasty and I’d sooner eat one of your protein powder-laced desserts than take a bite of one of their terrible, dry pastries. Sorry for ranting, but it’s a pet peeve of mine that Starbucks, with all of its resources, can’t do better in the pastry dept.

    1. It’s the drink by Bai 🙂

      I’m sorry, Laura! I kind of recreated them because most of them weren’t too delicious…but very overpriced!

  18. I had to google toaster oven when I first started blogging – obviously we just make do with either a microwave or grill… I think America may be alone in this one!
    I remember years ago, pre paleo, I used to love any of the starbucks muffins that had icing on them, I think there was a ginger one that was good. But to be honest I think I just wanted the top bit with the icing! 😉

    1. Right? How crazy is it! I hope you’ll enjoy one again paleo or not- They are so delicious and SO void of nutrition haha!

  19. Ohh!! I cannot wait to make this! Those slices in the cases at Starbucks are constantly tempting me (and I’m pretty good at resisting), so this is an awesome recipe for me to have on hand!

  20. If I could marry a 1 minute cake, it would be this.
    Don’t tell the hubs.
    Because that lemon pound cake at sbux is MY FAVORITE EVER. But now I can eat it everyday. FOREVER. Pinning, drooling and obsessing!

  21. This looks awesome! And single serving recipes are the BEST!

    Also, I was having a “girls night” with my mom and sister in law who don’t really drink alcohol so instead of getting wine, I got Bai drinks! 🙂

  22. I really like Bai drinks when I had them. They have a fresh taste without clogging your throat like many other fruit waters. This is a great idea!

  23. You’ve moved from no-bake to 1-minute creations…I love it! Next up should be 2 minutes, right? 🙂 So pound cake may very well be my all-time favorite dessert. Well, maybe one of them. It’s too hard to pick just one! And lemon…I love lemon desserts. Needless to say, I’m on board with this one! I think I need to get up to the kitchen and make one right now. It’ll only take a minute!

    1. Haha right?

      Really? But but…brownies. Oh. You should totally do an apple brownie- Although like, not with chocolate. Does that make sense? Sorry this is all jumbled, I have the flu 🙁

  24. I think you have a responsibility to try all the Starbucks stuff just so you can remake it better now 🙂 This looks so yummy!