Protein Mug Cake: Like Cooking a Dessert, Minus the Mess

Are you tired of drinking your protein powder?

Well, here is your two in one deal: a protein mug cake! Enjoy a protein dessert-like meal while you get 20-40 grams of protein at the same time. The best part? It is microwavable, and it only takes around 5 minutes!

And another perk: you can modify this recipe to fit your needs and the ingredients you have at home, so check the variations and FAQ sections! 

Easy Chocolate Protein Mug Cake Recipe

This is the thing with protein mug cakes: they are so versatile and easy to make. 

You can have this mug cake as a breakfast, pre- or post-workout, snack, or as a dessert.  

What You’ll Need

Equipment

The best thing about this recipe is how mess-free it is. Besides a microwave (or oven/air fryer), you will only need 5 small items: 

  • 1 fork or whisker
  • 1 microwave-safe mug
  • 1 measuring tablespoon
  • 1 measuring teaspoon
  • 1 small measuring cup

Ingredients

These are the basic ingredients you need for this recipe: 

  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour: it can also be replaced with equal amounts of oat flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar: we used brown sugar simply because we prefer the flavor, but you can use any sweetener you like. But keep in mind that low-calorie sweeteners like Stevia or Splenda could result in a bitter aftertaste. 
  • 3 tbsp protein powder: we used vanilla protein powder (whey). You can use any protein powder (and flavor) you prefer, even plant-based options! But keep in mind that all protein powders have different textures, flavors, and ingredients, so the end-result may be different.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil: This will give a “juicier” texture to the cake, so try not to skip it! You can use any oil you want, but keep in mind that some oils have strong flavors (like extra virgin olive oil), so that can result in a different taste.
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder: avoid adding more than this! Too much baking powder can add a soapy flavor. 
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder: you can use as much or as little as you want! If you don’t want a chocolate flavor, you can skip this ingredient. 
  • ¼ cup unsweetened soymilk: you can use any milk you prefer (regular milk, almond milk, etc.). The recipe calls for ¼ of a cup, but depending on the ingredients you use, you may use a little more or less. Look at the photo #3 in the next section of how the texture should look like!
  • ½ tbsp vanilla extract: this is optional. If you don’t want your dessert to have a touch of vanilla flavor, you can skip this ingredient.

Optional: make it a chocolate chip protein mug cake! They make the dessert even more delicious as it adds more moisture and flavor. You can add them at the top of the mug cake just before putting it in the microwave. 

These are additional ingredients ideas you can add to your mug cake as toppings to add more nutrients, but the options are limitless:

  • Greek yogurt: this can add a little bit more protein!
  • Banana, or any fruit: this will add many vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your meal.
  • Nuts and seeds: some ideas include walnuts, chia seeds, almonds… etc. It will add some healthy fats and some crunch to it. 

How to Make

There are only three steps for this recipe: adding ingredients, mixing, and putting it in a microwave. It is THAT easy. But let’s cover the steps one: 

Step 1: First, add all of the dry ingredients to the mug you are going to use and use the whisk or a fork to mix them together. IMPORTANT: Make sure to spread the baking powder evenly, because if you leave a “clump” it could taste bitter and soapy. 

NOTE: in this photo we added the ingredients to a measuring cup just so you could visualize all of the dry ingredients. But when you do it, you can just add the ingredients to the mug you are planning on using. 

Photo of protein mug cake dry ingredients mixed in a mug

Step 2: Then add the wet ingredients. Use whisk or fork to mix ingredients together. IMPORTANT: Make sure again to mix all of the ingredients very well. If you leave clumps of dry ingredients, the cake can have some dry patches. 

Photo of all protein mug cake ingredients mixed (dry and wet)

Step 3: Put mug cake in the microwave! 

NOTE: If you are adding chocolate chips to your cake, add them to the top of the mixture BEFORE putting it in the microwave. 

Since this cake has no eggs, there is no risk of undercooking. In fact, I personally prefer it when it is slightly undercooked because it is “moist” on the inside – it’s like a mixture of a brownie and a pudding. But hey – to each their own. 

Cook the cake in the microwave for 45 seconds. Take it out of the microwave and check for doneness (you can also insert a toothpick and see how cooked it is on the inside. If the toothpick comes out with a lot of batter, the cake may need a bit more cooking). 

If you would like it more cooked, place it back and cook it for 10-seconds intervals. Keep in mind that if you overcook it, it could end up having a “rubbery” texture. I do not recommend cooking for longer than 90 seconds total

Photo of protein mug cake after cooking it

Step 4 (optional): Add toppings! This step is completely optional, but if you do decide to add toppings, the options are limitless.

Protein mug cake with toppings - banana and greek yogurt

As we mentioned in the previous section, you can add Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, seeds, or peanut butter. Whatever makes you happy!

Variations of protein Mug Cake

This is one of the best things about this recipe – you have almost unlimited variations! Let’s cover some examples:

  • Vanilla flavor: use all of the ingredients listed in the recipe card but skip the cocoa powder. After cooking, you can add sweet fruits like strawberries or blueberries on top.
  • Peanut butter flavor: you can use peanut butter protein powder, skip the cocoa powder (or use 1 tsp. only), and you can also add some peanut butter at the top of your cake once it’s done cooking.
  • Chocolate overload: you can use a chocolate protein powder and 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder. Add some sweet chocolate chips at the top before cooking.

FAQ

Can I Use a Ramekin? 

Yes! Ramekins are small ceramic containers that are often used to cook single-servings of a dessert. Just make sure to fill up about ¾ of the container as the mixture will rise in the microwave. 

Can I Modify This Recipe? 

Pretty much every ingredient can be substituted in this recipe, but keep in mind that the end-result may be different (flavor, texture, or color-wise), so we cannot promise you it will have the same quality.

If you are interested in substituting ingredients, check the sections “Ingredients” and “variations” for more detailed information!

Can I Cook the Cake in the Oven/Air Fryer?

Yes you can! Actually, the texture may be a little better if you cook this recipe in the oven or air fryer, as the cake will be crispy on top and softer on the inside. 

Oven: make sure you are using an oven-safe mug/ramekin. Preheat the oven at 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Once preheated, place the mug/ramekin in the center rack and bake for 10-20 minutes, depending how moist you prefer your cake. 

At the 10-minute mark, insert a toothpick and see how cooked it is on the inside. If the toothpick comes out with a lot of batter, the cake may need a bit more cooking.

Air fryer: most likely you will not be able to place a mug in your air fryer, but you may be able to use a ramekin. Prepare the mixture in a separate container, and then lightly grease the ramekin before adding the mixture. 

Set the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place it very carefully into the air fryer (you could use tongs). 

Set the timer to 10 minutes, but check the cake at the 5-minute mark: insert a toothpick and see how cooked it is on the inside. If the toothpick comes out with a lot of batter, the cake may need a bit more cooking.

Why is the Cake Rubbery & Dry?

This happens if the cake was overcooked or you added too little liquid (especially if you substituted ingredients). 

Make Ahead / Storage / Reheat Tips

Unfortunately, this recipe is not ideal for making ahead, storing, or reheating. Storing this in the fridge will make the cake very hard and rubbery, and reheating will make the texture even worse. 

The same will happen if you leave it outside for a few hours, which is why it’s important to eat it as soon as possible. 

The good news is that this recipe takes 5 minutes to make, so it’s best to prepare it fresh every time.

Serving Suggestions

There is no need to transfer the cake from the mug. You can eat this dessert as it is,  but you can also add any topping you want. Check the “Ingredients” and “How to Make: Step 4” sections for detailed ideas.

For example you can add some Greek yogurt, some banana slices, and top it with some walnuts. 

 

Protein mug cake with toppings - banana and Greek yogurt

Protein Mug Cake

5-min, microwavable protein mug cake recipe! This easy, high-protein, and no-mess mug cake is a super versatile meal: you can have it as breakfast, dessert, or as a pre or post-workout, and you can modify it as needed (see notes). Also – no eggs!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free, easy, egg-free, microwave, mug cakes, protein mug cake, quick, under 10-minutes
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 496 kcal
Author: Irene Mejia, RDN, CPT, MBSR

Equipment

  • 1 fork or whisker
  • 1 microwave-safe mug
  • 1 measuring tablespoon
  • 1 measuring teaspoon
  • 1 small measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour Note 1
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar Note 2
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp vanilla protein powder Note 3
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil Note 4
  • ¼ cup unsweetened soymilk Note 5
  • ½ tbsp vanilla extract optional

Notes

Note 1: You can replace the all-purpose flour with the same amount of all-purpose flour. 

Note 2: You can technically use whichever crystal sweetener you prefer, but keep in mind that sugar-free sweeteners will likely result in a bitter aftertaste.  

Note 3: We tried this recipe with vanilla whey protein and Orgain (vanilla) protein powder. We used vanilla flavor to balance out the flavor of the cocoa powder. If you are a fan of intense chocolate flavor, feel free to use a chocolate protein powder. *Results can vary if you use other types of protein powder. 

Note 4: You can use any type of unsweetened milk you prefer. If you want to make it dairy-free/vegan, choose a plant-based alternative like soymilk, almond milk, etc. 

Protein content: If you want to make this recipe dairy-free/vegan, you can totally use a plant-based protein powder. Just keep in mind that some plant-based protein powders tend to be lower in protein. For example, we tried this recipe with Orgain vanilla protein powder and it came out great! However, the recipe had around 17 grams of protein.

Nutrition

Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Calcium: 307mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Irene_Mejia or tag #irenemejianutrition!

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Summary

I cannot wait for you to try this protein mug cake recipe, I know you’ll love it! It is packed with protein, and it tastes much better than drinking some bland protein powder. 

It is amazing as it is, but you can modify it as needed. You can make it gluten free, plant-based, vegan, sugar-free… The possibilities are endless! 

As a passionate advocate for well-being, Irene Mejia seamlessly combines the nutrition expertise of a registered dietitian, the fitness knowledge and motivation of a personal trainer, and her experience in mindfulness to guide busy individuals on their journey to a healthier lifestyle.

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