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So, I was at the grocery store getting the week’s groceries a couple weekends ago, and I was walking down the baking aisle ogling the boxed desserts. I have to say, for the most part the boxed cake mixes are too fluffy for my taste, thanks to the corn oil they use. Apparently, back when boxed cake mixes were new, the boxed cake manufacturers were at a loss, since all cakes were typically made using butter and produced a dense product. They wanted something fluffy – and oil was the best option. So now, most if not all typical boxed cakes are made using oil. I prefer the denser texture, so if I must use a boxed cake, I’ll usually go for the brownies. However, I’ll usually use my Joy of Cooking and make up a batch of homemade goodies instead – it’s so easy!

Which brings me to today’s topic – the mug cake. A few years ago when I was living on my own I attempted one of these cakes – all the ingredients go into a mug, you place said mug in the microwave and whammo, you have a personal-sized cake in under 10 minutes. Mine worked out pretty well!

So as I walked down that baking aisle, I was struck by a new box of baking goodness – the Dr. Oetker Mug Cake:

It comes in chocolate or caramel. Their claim is that you can make cake in five minutes just by adding milk.

I’m actually a big fan of Dr. Oetker – many a Vegetale Pizza got me through my university years when I couldn’t be bothered to cook. (Did you know that the Italian word for vegetable is verdura? No? Neither did Dr. Oetker.)

However, this mug cake thing bugged me. Why? Because it’s PAINFULLY EASY to make one yourself! I found the following recipe here:

5-Minute Chocolate Cake



  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons whisked egg – 1 egg is too much, 1 egg white is too eggy, 1 yolk is too dense, but 2 tblsp is just right!
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips
  • splash vanilla or other flavoring – try peppermint or cinnamon

For a fudgier version, omit egg!

If you watch the video, you’ll need to mix all the ingredients together then cook it for about 2:30.

I timed myself, omitted the egg and used cream instead of milk – it was all we had – and it took me about 8 minutes. That includes about 1 minute looking for chocolate chips, and doesn’t include P taking the microwave off the shelf for me (we never use ours). OR you can go to the store, buy the packets (two per box), drive home, mix it with milk, AND THEN put it in the microwave for 5 minutes. Doesn’t make much sense to me!

So if you omit the egg, it doesn’t rise – FYI. I put it for about 2:30, and without egg, it wasn’t dense. It didn’t look cooked when I took it out because it was still bubbling, but it was starting to smell done. It was so hot when it first came out, that by the time I could take putting a spoonful into my mouth it was plain chalky. I recommend keeping the egg in.

(P just came into the room and said it smells like cheese and toast. Not super appetizing when you’re trying to make chocolate cake!)

Considering we never use the microwave, I’d rather just bake a chocolate cake – is it really that bad if it’s not personal sized? I guess I’ll have to eat it all myself!

Do you have a good mug cake recipe?