Juicy, brown sugar and cinnamon apples are topped with a fluffy cinnamon vanilla cake. All cooked in a mug, this single-serve treat is ready in just 10 minutes. This cozy dessert is just perfect for fall (or any time of year!).
Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2020 with new photos and more detailed instructions. The recipe has also been improved based on user feedback.
This apple cinnamon mug cake takes the standard mug cake to a whole new level! It takes a couple more steps than a plain vanilla mug cake, but in my opinion, it is so worth it!
This apple cinnamon mug cake starts with chopped apples that are sweetened with brown sugar and seasoned with a touch of cinnamon, then cooked until juicy. After that, a layer of cake batter, flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, is added on top and cooked until perfectly moist and fluffy. Eat it straight out of the mug or top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In only 10 minutes, you will be in apple cinnamon heaven!
- butter: this recipe calls for unsalted butter, but if you don’t have it, just leave out the pinch of salt called for in the cake batter.
- apple: I used Gala apples, but feel free to use any type of apple you prefer. I think using an apple that holds its shape when cooked works the best however. For more tips on choosing an apple type, see the FAQ section below.
- milk: I like using whole milk because it gives the cake a richer texture. But, skim, 2% or non-dairy milk will also work.
Step by step photos
1. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
2. Melt the butter.
3. Add the butter, vanilla, and milk to the dry ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Set aside.
4. Add chopped apple, cinnamon, brown sugar and flour to mug, stir to combine. Microwave the apples until they are softened and juicy. Stir one more time.
5. Scoop the cake batter on top of the apples. Do not stir!
6. Finally, microwave until the cake is cooked through (there should be no wet batter on the top).
Tips and tricks
- If you want to unmold the cake onto a bowl or plate, swirl the butter around the sides of the mug before adding it to the batter. This will help the cake release more easily!
- If your baking powder is a little bit lumpy out of the canister, break it up in your fingers or with a fork before adding to the dry ingredients. It is hard to mix those in fully once you add it to the batter and they will taste bitter!
- don’t use too much cinnamon in the apples and cake, otherwise it will taste bitter. Just a pinch is all you need!
Make sure you use a mug that is large enough – it should be able to hold at least 12 ounces. If you want to be extra careful, you can also place a microwave-safe plate underneath the mug to catch any potential drips. And of course, please make sure the mug you are using is also microwave safe!
After cooking, you can either unmold the mug cake onto a plate or bowl, or eat it right out of the mug! As I mentioned above, if you want to unmold it, use the melted butter to swirl around the sides of the mug to keep it from sticking.
For a more interesting presentation, you can use a glass Ball jar, like I did here, so you can see the layers of apple and cake. I also recommend serving with either whipped cream or vanilla (or cinnamon!) ice cream to take it to another level of deliciousness!
Here I used Gala apple, mostly because this is a good all-around apple that is readily available. I found that the Gala apples held their shape pretty well after microwaving. I would probably stay away from apples that are known for falling apart when cooking, like Red Delicious and McIntosh. That being said, this is a matter of personal taste, so choose what you like!
I found this article on the best types of apples for apple pie pretty interesting, it discusses their properties after baking in a pie. So, if you need more info on how to choose an apple for cooking, check it out!
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
A fluffy vanilla cinnamon mug cake with juicy brown sugar cinnamon apples.
For apple layer:
- ½ cup peeled chopped apple
- ¼ teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1 pinch cinnamon
For cake batter:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
1. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients for the cake batter: 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, pinch cinnamon and pinch salt. Set aside.
2. Place the 2 tablespoons butter into a large, microwave-safe mug. Place a folded paper towel on top (to catch any spatter) and microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until the butter is melted. If you want to unmold the mug cake for serving, carefully swirl the melted butter around the sides of the mug.
3. Pour the melted butter, along with ¼ cup of milk and ¼ teaspoon vanilla into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix together with a fork or small whisk just until no lumps remain (do not overmix!). Set aside.
4. Add the chopped apple, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon all-purpose flour and pinch cinnamon to the bottom of the same mug used to melt the butter. Stir together until the sugar and flour are evenly distributed throughout the apples and there are no dry bits of flour remaining at the bottom of the mug.
5. Microwave the apples on high for 45 seconds, or until they are slightly softened and look moist. Stir again. Pour the cake batter on top of the apples, do not stir.
6. Microwave the mug cake on high for 90 seconds. Check the cake; if there is still wet batter on top, microwave again in 10 second increments until the cake is cooked through. Either unmold the cake onto a plate or bowl, or serve right from the mug!
I used Gala apple for this recipe, which held up well during the cooking. Try any apple you like the taste of, but Red Delicious and McIntosh can become mushy when cooked, so if you don’t like too soft apples, choose accordingly.
Don’t go overboard with the cinnamon, all you need is a small pinch for the apples and a small pinch for the cake batter. If you add too much it will taste bitter. A sprinkle on top of the cake when it’s done cooking is a nice touch though!
If your baking powder is pebbly, break it apart with your fingers or a fork before adding to the other ingredients. Getting a little piece of baking powder in the finished cake will taste quite bitter!
Use a mug that is at least 12 ounces to make sure the batter doesn’t overflow while it cooks. If you are worried, place the mug onto a microwave-safe plate to catch any potential drips. And of course, make sure the mug is microwave-safe also!
Keywords: mug cake, microwave dessert, apple cake, apple cinnamon cake