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Chocolate Mug Cake (gluten-free, paleo)

An easy, delicious and healthy chocolate mug cake that’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo. I think it’s the best chocolate mug cake recipe out there.

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

I remember scrolling through the TV a while back and seeing something on one of those daytime talk shows about “mug food.” Meaning, things you could microwave in a mug (ie – mug cakes, pizzas, etc). I may have chuckled out loud. And figured it was the latest novelty that’d be here today, gone tomorrow.

But a funny thing happened the other day. I got a massive craving for chocolate cake. And while I actually contemplated baking an entire chocolate cake…my brain *thankfully* kiboshed that notion. Phew. Because you guys know that I have no will power, so an entire chocolate cake sitting on the counter staring at me all day was just the worst of bad ideas. Especially with Christmas indulgence happening next week.

Watch this quick video of my Chocolate Mug Cake recipe:

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Sooo, I decided to investigate this whole easy chocolate mug cake phenomenon. I mean, could you really bake a chocolate cake in a mug? And have it turn out halfway decent? Hmm. I was doubtful, but up to the challenge. Thus began my adventure to make not only the best chocolate mug cake (obviously), but one that’s gluten-free and paleo-friendly. A healthy chocolate mug cake if you will.

Are you ready to hear the end result? Not only did my mug cake turn out, but it’s damn good as well! Like a real deal chocolate cake. In a mug. Holy smokes! You guys have no idea how much the wheels in my brain are turning with new recipe ideas now.

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

So let’s chat quickly why I’m loving this recipe. First, it’s perfectly portioned. Which means if it’s 9pm and you get a hardcore craving for chocolate cake (ahem), you can whip this thing up in less than two minutes to get an individual chocolate cake the size of a cupcake.

Next, which I just mentioned above, is that it’s seriously done, cooked, baked in less than two minutes in the microwave. I actually debated calling this recipe a 2-minute chocolate mug cake, but since each person’s microwave wattage and power differs…I didn’t want to hang my hat on that two minute mark. For me, I’ve found my chocolate mug cake cooks best at one minute thirty seconds. But you’ll have to play around with yours a bit to find that perfect cook time.

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

Lastly, this thing is healthy. Seriously. The ingredients are super simple and clean – almond flour, raw cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil and an egg. Yep, it has no milk, so it’s dairy-free.

I did attempt it without the egg (switching the other ingredients around a bit) as I saw some reviewers say that the egg made it chewy, but those reviews were for mug cakes using wheat flour. And wheat flour (which contains gluten) already has binding and chewiness to it. Since we’re using almond flour, I’d say the egg is definitely needed.

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

Here’s a few other chocolate mug cake tips:

  • Don’t use a huge mug as it’ll dwarf the cake. Well, I guess it’s fine if you’re just cooking for yourself, but if you’re presenting these as dessert I’d stick to a smaller mug. I switched to smaller 9-oz coffee mugs (pictured), which were the perfect size.
  • You can absolutely mix everything together in the mug you’re gonna use. But I find it’s easier to mix it in a measuring cup, then pour it into the mug.
  • If you’re watching the mug cake cook in the microwave, you’ll see it shoot straight up like a cylinder (or soufflé) as it cooks. Don’t be alarmed. As it cools, it just collapses right back down again.
  • These cakes will be HOT when you take them out of the microwave. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before digging in.
  • Play around with the cook time that works best for your microwave – which could range from 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Less time and they’ll be more moist and brownie-like.

Lastly, get creative with add-ins, like a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips, a sprinkle of cinnamon or some grated orange (yum). You can also dust the top with organic powdered sugar and fresh berries.

For more gluten-free and paleo chocolate desserts, make sure to check out my Black Forest Mug Cake, Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Hazelnuts and Sea Salt, Molten Chocolate Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream and Mini Skillet Brownies.

Enjoy!

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

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Did you make this recipe?

Chocolate Mug Cake (gluten-free, paleo)

An easy, delicious and healthy chocolate mug cake that’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo. I think it’s the best chocolate mug cake recipe out there. Watch the video above to see how quickly it comes together!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Optional Toppings

Directions

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a measuring cup.
  2. Pour the batter into your mug and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until the cake is cooked through.
  3. Enjoy plain or top with coconut whipped cream, powdered sugar or berries.

Lisa's Tips

Make sure to read the tips above and watch the video for a chocolate mug cake that turns out perfect every time!

Nutrition Information

Yield: 1 chocolate mug cake, Serving Size: 1 chocolate mug cake

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 433.4
  • Total Fat: 24.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.4g
  • Cholesterol: 186.5mg
  • Sodium: 70.1mg
  • Carbohydrates: 39g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 26.1g
  • Protein: 14.1g
All images and text ©Lisa Bryan for Downshiftology

Did you make this recipe? I'd love to see!

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Recipe originally posted December 2016 and updated May 2017 to include the video. 

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140 comments on “Chocolate Mug Cake (gluten-free, paleo)”

  1. Can xylitol be substituted for the maple syrup?

    Rating: 4
  2. I hate using a microwave, i had a craving but feeling lazy & this is absolutely delicious!

    Rating: 5
  3. YAAAASSS. I’m trying a Paleo diet and this is the perfect pick me up.

    Rating: 5
  4. Thank you!!!Simple, quick easy and delicious. Keeper for sure.

    Rating: 5
  5. Best chocolate mug cake I’ve ever had, paleo or not! Really impressive 

    Rating: 5
  6. Loved it! Easy, super quick and delicious! Made it as per recipe except put one tablespoon cacao powder instead of 2. Turned out awesome! Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5
  7. Yum! Just made it, and added 100% chocolate bits (instead of regular chocolate chips) and also added a bit of ground cardamom. Came super delicious. Only thing I might try next time is to double the recipe so I can have half an egg and try adding a bit of cashew or coconut milk. My hope is that it would be a bit less egg(y) if possible. Thank you for an awesome quick recipe. 

    Rating: 5
  8. Amazing and easyWant to try again and aim for brownie texture

    Rating: 5
  9. This is an awesome mug cake!! My daughter and I have Celiac’s and finding mug cakes that are grain free and fabulous is the greatest!! I added 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, substituted 1 tablespoon of light hot chocolate mix for one of the coca tablespoons. Dropped sugar free strawberry preserves on top before it cooked. Soo Good. Served it with some preserves on top. Started with 1 minute and added 30 seconds, then another 20 seconds. Perfect!! My daughter and I shared it. Thank you so much!!

    Rating: 5
  10. I just bought a tub of coconut flour, is it possible to swap that for the almond flour? Or should I just break down and buy almond flour

  11. Wow, best clean mug cake I’ve tried so far!! I only microwaved for 50 seconds and it came out perfectly moist yet all the way cooked. My giant scoop of Halo Top ice cream topped it off and I didn’t feel too guilty about this luscious dessert!! ;)-

    Rating: 5
    • Oh yum – I love Halo Top ice cream and I can imagine it’s melty creamy goodness on top of this chocolate mug cake. I think I’ll have to do that combo next. ;) Thanks Treena!

    • I’m honestly curious why you care if you’re eating a “clean” mug cake if you’re putting dairy and refined sugar and chemicals on top? If this is just a #balance thing, then ok, but then honestly why bother? Just eat a box of Oreos. 🤷🏼‍♀️

      • By “clean” Treena likely refers to the fact that it’s gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free (which is pretty darn clean in my books). I won’t speak for her, but as a celiac I can’t just eat a box of Oreos, which is why all recipes on my website are gluten-free. Halo Top also makes dairy-free ice cream and it’s sweetened with organic stevia (not refined sugar and chemicals).

  12. Love that this is a very adaptable cake that whips up  quickly! My first attempt at making these turned out a bit dry at 1 minute 30 seconds in my microwave. Will try it again with slightly less time. Added chocolate chips and a sprinkle of cinnamon… very nice! Found the cake to be very dense, so next time I’ll serve it with raspberries in syrup. The portion is generous enough to split with a friend! 

    Rating: 4
  13. I doubled the recipe to make a last-minute mini birthday cake in ess than 5 minutes – 2 mins to put together + 2 mins to microwave. I used a soup bowl for shape, and added grated frozen lime for a taste kick. Dusted with raw cacao and accompanied with a pot of berries from the freezer. It looked lush, tasted great and only150 calories portion. Thank you!

    Rating: 4
  14. Very tasty and easy to make. I did like it better when I added a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

    Rating: 4
  15. Delicious and so easy to make!

    Rating: 5
  16. Googled “paleo mug cake” and this recipe was the first to pop up! I used a flax egg (making it vegan and paleo–what!!!) and 3 tablespoons almond flour and one tablespoon coconut flour instead of the full 1/4 cup almond flour (which equates out to 4 tablespoons of flour) I even made a glaze of coconut oil, almond milk, and powdered sugar!! I will be making this on the regular when I want something sweet and yummy! Tasted like a brownie!!

  17. This was fantastic….followed recipe as written and ate with side of fruit.  Thank you

    Rating: 5
  18. Can I substitute the almond flour. Allergy to almond

  19. This was sooooo delicious!

    Rating: 5
  20. This was AMAZING and super easy!  Could you bake these in the oven in case you needed many?What temperature would you recommend? Would you make them in muffin tins or ramekins?Thank you….

    Rating: 5
  21. I’ve been looking for a healthier brownie in a mug recipe and this was delish! I substituted 1 TBSP of chocolate protein powder for the cocoa powder and stirred in a few pieces of dark chocolate. This tastes just as good if not better than the other recipe with sugar, white flour and butter.

    Rating: 5
  22. I love the recipe
    But can I replace egg with milk?

  23. I have tried every mug cake out there and this one is my FAVORITE! Thank you for handling my chocolate craving like a boss, all while helping me not take a nose dive into the lil debs box! #paleoon

    Rating: 5
  24. Thank you for this amazingly delicious recipe!  I substituted the egg with a flax egg (1 T flax meal + 2 1|/2 T water and allowed to sit for 10 min) to make it plant-based.  Perfect! 🧡

    Rating: 5
  25. Oh my goodness! This was amazing! I cooked mine for 1:30 and it came out a little dense and wouldn’t soak up the macerated strawberry juices that I topped it with. I will just have to try it again with a lower cooking time.“For science.” ;)

    Rating: 5
  26. This mug cake is so delicious and super easy to whip up when you want a sweet treat without too much guilt. Love this one Lisa! ❤️

    Rating: 5
  27. Do you have the macros/ nutritional value for this? I made it last night and was SO delicious!! Will def have again when seeking something sweet

    Rating: 5
  28. Made this tonight for me and my husband. Had tried a lemon mug cake recipe and it was okay but my husband was very happy with this one. Added some Lily’s Stevie sweetened chocolate chips on top prior to microwaving. Came out so rich and moist and topped it with some whipped topping. Perfect! Thank you for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  29. Tried this today. 1st try, divided batter into 2 ramekins, not good, cooked too long, dry and didn’t rise enough. Later after making my homemade coconut milk, I added 1/4 cup pulverized “pulp” to the cake batter and about 2TBS or 1/4 cup dried dark cherries, 1 min 25 secs – 1 1/2 mins right amount of time required for my microwave, loved this version! Will try some raspberries, with a warm raspberry sauce next time! Quick, easy, and delicious!

    Rating: 5
  30. This was sooo good! The first time I made it, I made the mistake of over cooking it, and it did not taste good. I tried again the next night by cutting off 30 seconds and it was perfect. I added coconut whipped cream to top it off. I think this will seriously allow me to never have to “cheat” with conventional chocolate cake ever again. Thanks for the recipe!!

    Rating: 5
  31. This is yummy, and I read the recipe wrong and used almond butter instead of almond floor, still delicious!!

    Rating: 5
  32. Loved it!!! I may have microwaved too long though…is it supposed to be super moist? Mine was a tad dry. I did 1 minute and 40.

  33. I tripled this recipe, put in an 8” square pan and baked it in the oven. Sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top. It was pretty good, but next time I’ll put a little salt in the batter.

    Rating: 4
  34. Lisa, this is a lovely mug cake, I double the recipe and babe it in a soup bowl Turns out beautifully. I remember when that first hot flash hit me, I was 40. I forget who told me about a woman Doctor that had some vitamins out for menopausal women. I did get some and they certainly did take care of the problem for me. I’m sorry I do not remember the name of the Doctor or the vitamins, That has been 36 years ago. I would urge you and any women to find those vitamins . All the best wishes, and a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Matilda

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks so much Matilda for your kind words and I’m thrilled you love the mug cake! I love how you double it in a soup bow. Brilliant! I’ve also been working with a few docs on vitamins and supplements, so fingers crossed I’ll be very balanced soon. ;) x

    • You maybe talking about Dr. Susan Lark, I took her vitamins and followed her protocol around the same time frame. They helped me tremendously. They were sold under the name “Menopause” @ GNC back then. Don’t know if they still are. Google her name, you should be able to find her.

  35. Love this cake!! Best mug cake I’ve tried so far. Thank you! Due to multiple food allergies, I’m happy to finally have a dessert I can enjoy.

    Rating: 5
  36. Can you use some othe flour if you don’t have almond flour?

    • Another similar nut flour, like hazelnut flour would work. But coconut flour would produce a different result. Cassava flour may work, though I haven’t tried it.

  37. I tried this last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have any maple syrup so I used coconut nectar. I just found your site a few days ago and I’m really excited to try out your recipes.

  38. I was looking for a healthier recipe to make individual-sized desserts for a dinner party and this is a great one! Thanks, Lisa!

  39. Have you tried this with a mix of coconut flour in it? Just did 3 tbs almond flour and 1 coconut flour. It’s amazing both ways! Also. Opinion on blending the mix and then putting into a mug? I find almond flour can be gritty if not sifted and blended. LOVE this recipe!!

    • I haven’t – but that’s awesome to know! And you’re right, almond flour can be a bit gritty (do you buy the super fine grind?). But yes, if you’d like to blend first, go for it! You can also use hazelnut flour in this recipe. :) So happy you love it Erika!

  40. Will you marry me? As my second wife? Because my first wife loved this so much we are considering making more babies tonight and we’ll need help. 😁

  41. I LOVE this recipe! I have substituted the maple syrup with honey before, and also with agave nectar and it is so yummy! Do you have an idea on the number of calories this contains?

  42. I love this mug cake recipe! I make one almost every day! They are so quick and easy and are a great snack or dessert! I’m so glad I found this recipe!

  43. Desperately searched the internet as I promised my (very food restricted) boys dessert and they didn’t want whipped frozen fruit. This was perfect! So quick and delicious! They’re only allowed honey as a sweetener so I substituted that for the maple syrup.

  44. The absolute best and healthy too…double delish!!

  45. I have tried several different mug cake recipes and so far this one is the best and the healthiest. I loved it topped with strawberries and Greek yogurt

  46. Just made this for a bedtime snack since I was starving – oh my goodness – it is so delicious!! Thank you very much!

  47. Can you put it in the oven if you don’t have a microwave?

  48. You are my savior!!!! Per my doctor’s orders I have to cut back on carbs and sugar, but I desperately love chocolate and had lost all hope of finding anything somewhat healthy with chocolate. Then I found out about the raw cacao and found your recipe. It is amazing!!! I might have gone a little to long in the microwave this time since it did come out a bit dry but I don’t even care. The next time will be less time. My craving was satisfied in an instant and I could not be happier. This is definitely going pay a significant role in helping me fight really strong desperate cravings as it is incredibly satisfying and just what I need. Thank you so much!!

    • Yay!! So happy you liked the recipe Contessa! It really is the perfect recipe to satisfy those sweet cravings without going overboard, as it’s perfectly portioned. You’ll definitely dial in your microwave’s timing after a few tries (which I feel will probably be in your near future). ;) x

  49. I’ve never actually tried making a mug cake before but I’m trying to eat healthier and less sugar but love chocolate so definitely want to give this one a try! One question, can I use any other type of flour besides almond flour such as whole wheat flour? And if so would it be the same quantity of flour. Thanks! :)

    • Hi Shivani – I only tested this recipe with almond flour, so can’t comment on whole wheat flour (as I’m gluten-free). I imagine it should work fine, though you may have to tweak the ratios a bit. Hazelnut flour would also be very similar to almond flour. Let me know how it turns out for you! :)

      • Oh okay, I will see if I can buy hazelnut flour or almond flour and try it out. I will let you know how it turns out when I try it! :)

    • I experiemented making these for a small dinner party of four, using different methods, and my husband and I were pleased with the results. I had put the mix in mini bundt cake tins and used convection toaster oven; 350 degrees for 8 minutes seemed to work for mine. In the first ones I made in the morning, I substituted the maple syrup with honey and made two others with the honey and substituted the almond floor with whole wheat flour. They still come out fine, but they do tend to have more of a dense texture with the whole wheat flour, and the honey makes them less sweet, more like a healthy breakfast muffin you wouldn’t have any guilt eating every morning. (I might try the lighter version of this recipe with oatmeal next time.) As for my evening version, I used the maple syrup, added chocolate chips, and sprinkled with powdered sugar and strawberries after I heated them in the oven just enough for the chocolate chips to get soft. They turned out great; however they probably weren’t as healthy at that point but still good for serving guests. :)

  50. If I want to make these for a dinner party, can I micro-bake several mugs at a time or must they each be done individually?

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  52. OMG! This was da bomb!! I followed directions exactly and then topped with shaved dark chocolate and sliced strawberries. Soooo good!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

  53. made this twice now and love it, especially topped with your coconut whipped cream!
    If I want to double the recipe, do I need to use 2 eggs?
    Thank you!

  54. These are fabulous!!! No more oven cakes for me – scrumptious and elegant recipe!! Thanks 😊

  55. I just made this and OMG – it’s so good. I feel like I got my little chocolate treat….but without the guilt & bad ingredients. Thank you!!

  56. Could I use coconut flour instead of almond?

    • Unfortunately coconut flour does not replace almond flour 1:1 as it’s highly absorbent. It’s possible to use coconut flour in this type of recipe, but the ratio of the liquid ingredients would have to be significantly modified. If you try something that works, let me know! :)

  57. this sounds simple and awesome! i can’t wait to try it. thanks for sharing!

  58. ok , so I made my first GF Low Fodmap mug cake and tossed in a couple TB of 71% chocolate chips! MMM-mmm! yep! I would do it all again with a couple raspberries and a mint leaf or a scoop of raspberry lime sorrbetto on the side. Thank you Lisa for a new addiction…..in a single serve recipe! :)

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  60. I too was always skeptical of mug cakes (especially when using eggs… don’t want to risk the cake not fully cooking!). Love your nourishing, perfect chocolate mug cake recipe!

  61. Oh my, I bet my daughter at college would LOVE this! Yum!

  62. This sounds intriguing. I have made these before but want to try your ingredients.

  63. The only mug cake I’ve ever tried didn’t turn out well– I need to try this one! Your photos are gorgeous

  64. You had me at chocolate, haha. But I do love mug cakes because they’re perfectly portioned!