Bright, lemony, and moist cake ready to eat in just minutes! This easy lemon mug cake recipe is perfect when that cake craving strikes. It's a low-effort, highly tasty treat built to satisfy without over-indulging.
Why it works
First, we need to start off applauding the amazingness that is the mug cake. It is a whole single serving cake made in a mug using your microwave. What could be better?
I mean, a whole cake, but with that comes more dishes, more time waiting, and requires self control which not everyone (like me) has.
In short, mug cakes are amazing and there are infinite possibilities with them.
A lemon mug cake in particular is great for that bright lemon flavor that tastes like sunshine. It is perfect for lemon lovers.
And the frosting? It reminds me of frozen lemonade and it is amazing.
This is still a cake, so it requires a lot of the same ingredients you'd expect in cake. The only difference is that we do not use any egg. The amount of cake in the mug is too small to require needing an egg and adding one would make the cake rubbery and taste a lot like the egg.
- Flour - You can use all-purpose or cake flour in this recipe. White whole wheat flour works too.
- Baking powder - I like using just a tiny bit of baking powder to help with the lift of the cake and make it fluffier.
- Salt - You use use just a small pinch of sea salt in the recipe. It will be enough to bring out the flavors, but we don't want to use enough to create a salted cake.
- Sugar - You should use granulated sugar in this recipe. I do not recommend brown sugar which can overpower the lemon. You can use sugar alternatives, just remember the ratio is usually half the amount of what you would use for granulated sugar.
- Butter - We use melted butter for a really nice flavor, but you can also use a flavorless oil. Do no use salted butter as it will make your cake salty.
- Milk - You can use any dairy or dairy alternative you like. If you want to keep it like, opt for unsweetened almond milk. For something more decadent, try heavy cream! If you have leftover buttermilk from another recipe, this is a great way to use some up.
- Lemon - We use both lemon zest and juice. About half the juice will end up in the cake, while a lot of the remaining juice will end up in the frosting.
Anything microwaveable will work, just make sure it is big enough. The batter should only be about half of the entire container as it does rise a lot while cooking.
I always recommend experimenting! You can top the cake with powdered sugar instead, or a simple glaze. White chocolate chips on the finished cake will melt and make a great topping. You can insert a white chocolate truffle into the batter for a surprise filling! Ice cream is also good.
Lemon Mug Cake
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ tablespoons cream cheese room temperature
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 - 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- Add the butter to your mug and melt it.
- Add in the milk, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract.
- Whisk well to combine.
- Add in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
- Microwave the cake for 60 seconds. It should be cooked in this time. If the top is still very wet, you can microwave for an additional 15 seconds.
- Make the frosting while the mug cake cools.
- Mix together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice.
- Whisk well.
- Add in the heavy cream as needed to get a smooth consistency. Top on the mug cake