A quick and easy gingerbread mug cake that will give you a cozy wintery feeling without all the work! This moist mug cake is seasoned with molasses and an assortment of warm spices.
Note: this post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2021 with new photos and improved instructions.
This gingerbread mug cake recipe will bring the holiday cheer in a flash! All you need are some basic (mostly pantry!) ingredients, a mug, and a few minutes. This delicious gingerbread dessert will have you feeling oh-so-cozy on a cold night, and without a whole sink of dishes to wash!
This mug cake has all the warm cozy flavors of more traditional gingerbread: molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground ginger. But it's really easy to make and in a convenient singe serving size. So you can make it any time you are craving a delicious holiday dessert!
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- Butter: unsalted if you've got it. If not, just don't add the extra pinch of salt the recipe calls for.
- Milk: I've made this with both whole milk and low-fat milk and they both work well, so use whichever you prefer.
- Salt: as mentioned, omit if you want to use salted butter.
Step by step photos
1. The first step is to melt the tablespoon of butter in a large, microwave-safe mug. This should take about 30 seconds on high.
2. Next, add in the molasses, granulated sugar, and milk to the melted butter in the mug. Whisk everything together with a fork, or use my favorite mini whisk! (Affiliate link.)
3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt in a separate small bowl. Then, gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until the batter is fully incorporated and mostly free of lumps.
4. Finally, microwave the mug cake for 1 minute 15 seconds on high. Check the top of the cake; if it's still a little wet, microwave again in 10 second increments until the top of the cake is just set.
Tips and tricks
- If you want to unmold your mug cake after it's cooked, swirl the melted butter around the sides of the mug before adding the other ingredients. This will help it from sticking as much!
- If your baking powder is a little pebbly, break the lumps apart with your fingers or a fork before adding to the other ingredients. Any unmixed chunks of baking powder will taste bitter in the finished cake.
- To avoid a lumpy batter, add the dry ingredients into the wet gradually, whisking with a fork (or mini whisk) in between. I had good results by adding in 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients first, whisking until most of the lumps are gone. Then I added the second tablespoon and whisked again. After that, I just added the rest of the dry ingredients and whisked until everything was evenly combined. You may still have one or two little lumps, but that's ok.
- If the bottom of your mug is narrow, tilt the mug a little to the side when mixing. This will give you more space to maneuver the fork or mini whisk around so it's easier to mix.
You will need a microwave-safe mug that holds at least 12 ounces (355 ml). This will ensure there is enough space for the cake to expand without overflowing!
If you're curious, the exact mug I'm using here is the 13 ounce Gladelig mug from Ikea.
Yes, you can make a couple spice swaps if you don't have or don't like some of the spices in the cake. To recap, this recipe calls for ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you don't have all of these spices, here's what you can do:
- If you don't have ground ginger or cinnamon: try pumpkin pie spice instead! I would avoid just doubling up on the cinnamon or ginger though, because it may overwhelm the cake, resulting in a bitter aftertaste.
- If you don't have nutmeg: this recipe only calls for a pinch of nutmeg, so you can just leave it out. Or, substitute a pinch of allspice or cloves.
Alternatively, you can create your own spice blend with whatever warm holiday-type spices you have in your cabinet. This recipe calls for a total of ½ teaspoon (plus a pinch) of spices. So, throw together whatever warm spices you have to equal that amount. You can try cloves, allspice, mace, and pumpkin pie spice.
This mug cake tastes great on its own, but if you want to make it an even more indulgent experience, try the mug cake topped with powdered sugar and/or an extra dusting of cinnamon, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or festive sprinkles!
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Gingerbread Mug Cake
An easy to make single serve holiday dessert that's delicious topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 minute 15 seconds
- Total Time: 6 minutes
- Yield: 1 serving 1x
- Category: dessert
- Method: microwave
- Cuisine: American
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons (23 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (59 ml) milk
- 5 tablespoons (57 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- Place butter in a microwave-safe mug and microwave 30 seconds on high or until melted.
- Add molasses, milk, and sugar to the melted butter and whisk together with a fork or small whisk until evenly combined.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the mug gradually, whisking in between each addition, until smooth.
- Microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds. If the top of the mug cake is still wet, microwave in 10 second bursts until the top of the cake is just set.
If you would like to substitute salted butter for the unsalted butter, omit the pinch of salt from the recipe.
Be sure to use a microwave-safe mug that holds at least 12 ounces (355 ml) to make sure the batter doesn't overflow while it cooks. You can also place the mug onto a microwave-safe plate to catch any potential drips.
If you want to unmold the mug cake after it's cooked, swirl the melted butter around the sides of the mug before adding the other ingredients. This will help it from sticking as much!
If your baking powder is pebbly, break it apart with your fingers or a fork before adding to the other ingredients. Any unmixed chunks of baking powder will taste bitter in the finished cake.
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: 1 mug cake
- Calories: 407
- Sugar: 35.4 g
- Sodium: 196 mg
- Fat: 12.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 69.3 g
- Fiber: 1.5 g
- Protein: 7.1 g
- Cholesterol: 35 mg
Keywords: gingerbread mug cake