I’ve been craving red velvet cupcakes recently but I didn’t feel like baking a whole batch worth, even halving the recipe would still give about 12 cupcakes I’d have to eat myself. Not a big deal if the Mister was at home since he would always help me and then take some to work. But since it was just me, I had to come up with a different plan. I’ve always enjoyed Kirbie’s posts on mug cakes, so I decided to try my hand at making one using my favorite recipe. Kirbie’s recipes are usually made in an oversized mug but I wanted a mug cake that’s equivalent or as close to a single cupcake. After all, there are those occasions, rare as they may be, where I only want one cupcake. If I wanted more, it certainly would be easy enough to double the recipe.
After a few tries, I got pretty close to the taste to stop fidgeting with the recipe. Since I wanted something that I can kind of throw together without too much fuss but still stay (almost) true to the original recipe, I only used measuring spoons the first two tries. But since dividing original measurements can give weird weights and measures (uh, what’s .167 cup??), I also decided to weigh out some of the measurements just to see I could be a bit more precise. But of course going this route means one would have to have a scale. Taste comparison between weighing and measuring spoons were negligible. There were still some things I couldn’t get a weight on due to the size, like a pinch of something. But rest assured that a large pinch to a small pinch is really not that big of a difference in this case.
The other thing I had to figure out is how handle the egg portion. What it came down to was using part of a whole beaten egg versus egg whites from a container. I had the egg whites on hand since I wanted to test macarons using carton egg whites but just never got around to it. So I thought I’d try it out on cake, fully expecting a more spongy texture than using a standard egg. Okay, so this is the only part that I couldn’t find a way to not waste any ingredients unless I was making more than one mug. Oh well. The beaten egg can be stored in an airtight container for a few days if that’s any consolation but I think you’re better off just making 3 mug cakes and divide the egg between them. (A food fact, one beaten large egg is about 3 tablespoons.)
I used a microwave-save teacup, which I thought was nice against the red cake. I also did a version without the food coloring and the cake looks like a very light chocolate cake. What I was amazed though was how quickly the cake cooked up, 30 seconds. My microwave is 1200 watts. I think a lot of the ones out there are around 1000 watts, maybe even 900 watts on some older and smaller models. So cooking time will vary.
I liked the cake texture the best with the beaten egg but the egg white cake was quite tasty too. Here’s a shot of the final cup I made that actually had a fairly clean rim since I tried to wipe down the sides before nuking. The cake only comes up about half way up the cup and a perfect single serving I think. I didn’t wait long enough for the the cake to cool before I added the cream cheese frosting. Again, I was going for speed and not picture perfect here.
As you can see in the first picture and the one below, the cake wasn’t exactly bright red, which I love in RV. That was only 5 drops of red food coloring. I think doubling that would have given the bright red effect. I probably wouldn’t even use coloring if I wasn’t concerned about presentation.
The cream cheese frosting was a little easier to scale down. I actually liked the egg white cake without the frosting. Maybe because the texture was a bit lighter than the all-egg version?? Either way, now I can have a single cupcake with little fuss.
A couple of things to note, since this is intended as a throw-together cake, it probably would be a good bet that the butter and cream cheese are not at room temperature. I’ve added the instructions for the butter in the recipe below but the same goes for the frosting. Put the cream cheese and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 5 seconds. That should soften them up a bit. The other thing to note is that sweetness of the frosting is subjective. Some like less sweet cream cheese frosting while others like me, prefer to have it
properly fully sweetened. But whatever your taste, it’s easy to adjust the sweetness to your preference. Start with 2 tablespoon of Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and work your way up with 1 tablespoon at a time.
As for the buttermilk, I don’t know about you but I don’t keep this item on hand so I use the milk + vinegar method when needed. Works fine.
The other thing that I have done to make this quicker is to triple the dry ingredients and storing it in an airtight container or plastic zip lock bag. Just note what the total weight of the dry ingredients is and then measure out a third of it for each mug cake.
- 2 Tablespoon (.6 oz) all-purpose flour (or 1 Tbsp AP and 1 Tbsp cake flour)
- ¼ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of baking powder
- Pinch of baking soda
- Pinch of kosher salt
- .3 oz (1/2 Tbsp or a pat) of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon (.45 oz) sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of beaten egg (or egg white for a more spongy cake)
- 2 teaspoon buttermilk (or 2 teaspoon whole milk + ⅛ teaspoon of white distilled vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5-10 drops of red food coloring
- 1 Tablespoon cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3-5 Tablespoons Confectioner Sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional but highly recommended)
- In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly. Break up any lumps in the dry mixture. Set aside.
- Put the butter in a microwave safe mug. Melt in the microwave for about 3-5 seconds. The butter doesn’t need to be completely melted.
- Add sugar, mix together with a fork.
- Add beaten egg (or egg white), buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract and food coloring (if using), mix together thoroughly.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Cook in microwave for 30 seconds. Insert a toothpick in the center as well as the side to test for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean in both places. Increase cooking time by 5 seconds as needed.
- Let cool and add frosting.
- For Frosting:
- Combine everything in a small bowl. Can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 week.