Quick Fix: Chocolate Cake in a Mug 2.0

I think we’ve all had that emergency cake moment of weakness at this point. The desire for cake is too strong, but having a whole cake to contend with is an unwelcomed proposition. What’s a girl to do?

The scenario is so common that the internet is rife with cake in a mug recipes. Ree Drummond has a great one. I’ve made it several times and was perfectly content with this failproof solution… until last night when disaster struck. I was out of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Not to be defeated, I decided to try what seemed like the obvious substitution: using hot chocolate mix, because really, how bad could it be? The answer is: not bad at all. I simply omitted the sugar and didn’t go quite as nuts with the chocolate chips (I actually used peanut butter chips because I was already feeling like a rebel).

It’s nothing revelutionary but I figured I should share my findings in case anyone else finds themselves in my situation. Fear not, cake needing person: you can safely forge ahead with this substitution. The results were good enough that this was my best picture of the cake:

Here’s my update on Ree’s recipe:


  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons powdered hot chocolate mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt, optional
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Splash vanilla extract, optional
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips, optional


  1. Mix the flour, cocoa mix, baking powder and salt in a microwave safe mug. Stir well.
  2. Add the milk, vegetables oil, vanilla extract and chocolate chips (or mix-ins of your choice). Stir again.
  3. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Be careful removing from microwave, as mug may be hot to the touch. Let cake cool for 2-3 minutes before eating.

You can top your cake with other delicious things like whipped cream, ice cream, cherry pie filling or whatever toppings make your heart sing. This is your moment, go big or go home.