Quick and Easy

3-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Mug Cake

August 24, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Gerri Williams. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.
  • Prep time 6 minutes
  • Cook time 2 minutes
  • Serves 1 to 2
Author Notes

I always want dessert, full stop. And while I try to keep my pantry, fridge, and freezer all stocked with sweet treats, sometimes that river runs dry, save for half a bag of chocolate chips and a few staple baking ingredients. When grappling with the lack of dessert at 9 p.m., I’m faced with a conundrum: Do I just eat the chocolate chips? Make a mess of the kitchen and wait however long it takes to bake something? Skip dessert altogether? (The horror). More often than not, the answer to “quick and easy dessert,” when typed into an internet search engine, is a mug cake.

Trouble is, mug cakes often aren’t very good, and very often require the same amount of ingredients as a regular cake, in which case I might as well just make the real thing—goodness knows it’ll taste better baked in an oven. The titles of the mug cake recipes that are actually easy and have short ingredient lists are usually prefaced by “No Carb” or “Low Fat,” which is simply not it (if you’re having dessert, just have dessert). So I took matters into my own hands. This three-ingredient mug cake—seriously! it’s just egg, chocolate, and butter!—tastes just like a flourless chocolate cake you might find on the dessert menu at a restaurant. It does require one bowl in addition to the mug, to beat the egg into frothy submission, but that’s really the biggest lift here. I recommend using 60 percent chocolate chips, which can be called semisweet or bittersweet depending on the brand, but anything from 45 to 70 percent will deliver the right amount of sweetness while keeping the cake super rich and dark-chocolatey. While they do technically count as extra ingredients, a shower of confectioners’ sugar adds a bit of drama to a mug cake, and nothing makes chocolate cake sing quite like finishing with flaky salt. If you have access, I recommend using both. —Rebecca Firkser

What You'll Need
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) semisweet or bittersweet (I used 60 percent) chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)
  1. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe mug. Microwave on high in 15-second intervals, stirring between each, until just about totally melted, then stir to combine.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until it’s super frothy and doubled in volume, about 5 minutes.
  3. Gently fold half of the beaten egg into the chocolate mixture until totally combined. Fold in the remaining egg until combined.
  4. Place in the microwave and cook on medium for 30 seconds, then on high for an additional 45 to 60 seconds, or until just set. Immediately sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar and flaky salt, if using, then devour.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Allison K
    Allison K
  • BethT
  • 07Me123

3 Reviews

Allison K. January 26, 2024
I was on a mission to find the best flourless chocolate mug cake... thankfully my mission only lasted 2 days because of this recipe! The first evening I decided on a recipe that used cocoa powder - I ate it only because I didn't want to waste ingredients.

Did I follow instructions exactly? No. It was 10 pm and I wanted a sweet, let's be real - no way I was whipping that egg for 5 minutes. I used my coffee frother and put in a solid 90 seconds, vigorously folded, and cut back on the second full power microwave time so my cake was self saucing. Topped with a fine layer of regular sugar and generous with the salt - perfection. I have a thing about eating raw cornstarch but I'm sure powdered sugar is fine of course.. for other people. Make it, follow the instructions better than that other reviewer, you won't regret it.
BethT August 2, 2023
I suspect the previous reviewer did not read Rebecca's instructions and certainly did not follow them. There are directions for a reason. Is this the best chocolate cake I've ever made or eaten? No. It was, however, okay, or as my Eeyore Better-half said, "It's not bad." It also takes less than 10 minutes before you are enjoying a spoonful. It is imperative to read and follow instructions on this recipe or it will turn out the way the previous reviewer indicated. I also highly recommend starting with a room temperature egg and softened butter. I used my froth attachment on my hand-held mixer and set my timer for 5 minutes to make certain I didn't short change the time. Also, the microwave instructions are important. Follow them. I did, as Rebecca stated, finish the mug cake with a dusting of both confectioners' sugar and flake salt. They were a lovely addition and made the flavor pop. Would I make this again. I just might if I was tired and just wanted something easy and chocolate and I always want chocolate! Thank you, Rebecca!
07Me123 December 18, 2022
Was disgusting and looked like just a cooked brown egg at the bottom of a mug. Terrible