Have you ever experienced a chocolate cake emergency? I have, and it’s intense.

It usually hits at the end of a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day when your willpower reaches zero and all you want to do is dive head-first into a large dessert. Most recently, I experienced it after a white-knuckle drive home through a ferocious winter storm in my ancient Prius. As I was gripping the steering wheel, desperately searching for road markings amid relentless gusts of snow, all I could think was: I Need Chocolate Cake. Right Now.

I had experimented before with online recipes for chocolate mug cakes — single-serving confections mixed and microwaved in mugs meant to satisfy a chocolate craving without leading to full-blown cake-eating binges — but always found them to be dry, rubbery and altogether unappealing.

So as soon as I got home from my snowy odyssey, I decided to improvise a mini version of a chocolate-almond cake recipe I’ve been making for years. The result was a delight: A deeply chocolatey, fluffy sponge that tastes wonderful warm (esp. topped with raspberries and sour cream or a smidge of vanilla ice cream) or cold. And amazingly, for an emergency cake, it’s not even particularly unhealthy, comprising only 12 g sugar per serving (the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization say women shouldn’t have more than 24 g sugar/day — so this is well within our budget).

This recipe makes two mug cakes because I didn’t want to use more than half an egg per cake and a single egg is hard to halve. So serve these as a romantic dessert for two — or double or triple the recipe if you want to make multiples for your family. And if you’re cooking for one, make two and save one for the next day.

Chocolate cake really doesn’t get any easier than this.

Chocolate Mug Cakes

Keyword: 30 Minutes Max., Dairy-Free (or can be), Desserts & Treats, Gluten-Free (or can be)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 278kcal
For when you Need Chocolate Cake Now.
Print Recipe


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp berries as garnish
  • 1 tsp icing sugar


  • In a microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter in the microwave on high (in my microwave, fridge-cold butter takes 45 seconds to melt,room-temperature butter takes 30 seconds).
  • Using a wire whisk, stir in the cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt and egg and whisk to combine. Stir in the almond flour and baking powder until all the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Pour batter into two microwave-proof coffee cups that can hold at least 8 oz (ideally, use 10-oz cups). Microwave on “high” for 50 seconds. Remove the cups from the microwave oven and place on saucers.
  • To serve, top with fresh raspberries and/or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, sour cream or whipped cream. Dust with a smidgen of icing sugar and serve immediately.


Serving: 1cake | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg