Minimal Monday: 30 Second Cake for One (or two)

Chocolate Cake for One |

A little silly, and maybe impractical, but I think there’s a place in this world for a great tasting 30 second single cake.

Instant gratification, in the form of a quick single microwave cake, cake-in-a-mug, or cupcake has been flitting around the Internets and Pinterest for a while now. I thought it was a cute idea, but kind of silly and definitely not something that would be worthwhile from a taste point of view. Baking is an exacting science that involves the right equipment, and lots of  time and patience. You just don’t think of cake and a microwave in the same sentence. Boy was I wrong.

Not only was this little cake as easy and quick to make as advertised—it was incredibly delicious. I have never eaten cake with this kind of texture. Maybe it’s a hybrid cake/pudding/souffle, maybe it’s some kind of futuristic category of deliciousness, but let me tell you it’s WONDERFUL.

It’s not lumpy, or unevenly cooked, no dry spots, just pure smooth dark chocolate. Even after the cake cools down it still has the same impossibly light texture. A layer of frosting just puts it over the top. Whipped cream, ice cream, caramel or hot fudge sauce would do the same job.

The first time I tried this recipe, I put all the batter in one silicone cupcake wrapper.

It overflowed.

So I tried again, and divided the batter into two cups. Perfection. You could also use a medium sized mug, or any microwave safe container, such as little glass prep bowls, ramekins, even a small drinking glass. But be aware that with the microwave you’ll never get a domed top like you do in the oven. I don’t know the science of why that is, but it just is. No matter, though, the taste is amazing, dome or no dome.

There are lots of examples of recipes online, I adapted one from  Chocolate Covered Katie. None of them are very visually appealing, especially when they try to turn them out of the containers for display. You need to embrace the ugliness factor, and you’ll be rewarded with a surprisingly wonderful little cake. I plan to work on this concept and come up with some of my own variations this fall.

FYI, I ate the first cupcake right away, and left the second one out on the counter overnight. ‘In the interest of the blog’  I checked it out, and it was every bit as good the next day. Just thought you’d want to know.

Have a great Monday!

Chocolate Cake for One |
5 from 1 vote

Minimal Monday: 30 Second Cake for One (or two)

Author Sue Moran


For the cake

  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp milk cream, or half and half
  • a few drops of pure vanilla extract

For the glaze/frosting

  • 4 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk or cream
  • a drop of vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder will make it chocolate


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a little mixing bowl.  Be sure to combine well, you don't want to bite into a lump of baking powder.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to blend well.  Put the batter in a two standard silicone cupcake containers or small ramekins.  You can grease the ramekins if you want to turn the cake out after baking.  I just leave it in and eat with a spoon.
  • Microwave on regular power for 30 seconds.  I watch it carefully, if it looks like it's going to overflow, I stop the microwave and then start again.  Mine took just 30 seconds exactly.  I 'baked' mine one at a time.
  • Mix the glaze ingredients together in a small glass.  Add a little more sugar or milk to get the right consistency.
  • Frost the cupcakes and enjoy.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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  • Reply
    February 22, 2015 at 4:46 am

    I just made these (on a snowy Swiss afternoon) with my three daughters (6, 4, 2). It didn’t really work for them- the taste is too adult. Also we need to fiddle with the timings. 30 seconds wasn’t long enough, and 40 was too long… Maybe 30 seconds and leave it for 10 minutes in the mold?

    Also, oddly, the batter for one batch (they each got to stir their own bowl) was really clumpy, whereas the others were a lot smoother. I don’t know why that happened- maybe the 4 year old stirred too hard? 😉

    • Reply
      February 22, 2015 at 7:14 am

      Not sure what went wrong with the clumps. but the timing should be easy to adjust. I do think the little cakes need some sort of frosting, maybe that’s what your girls were missing? I hope you try again, and thanks for the feedback Taina!

  • Reply
    Sulpicia (III)
    September 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I just read this and I made immediately upon reading because the friends I’m staying with had all the ingredients lying around. Everyone is raving. I used melted chocolate chips for the frosting instead of the glaze.

    Thanks for posting it! I never would have tried microwave cake without your recommendation.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    September 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Love the silicon baking molds and those cakes are just so cute and look delicious. I like the touch of the candle! we all deserve a candle right?

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson-Ditch
    September 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I love cake-in-a-mug…perfect when you’ve had one of those days! I like you’re little cups. Makes it look festive!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Sue, I swear we are sharing a brain these days! I just tried a microwave cake for the first time last month. Cooking it in a shallower dish was the trick. I used flat ramekins and loved the result; although, your molds are MUCH cuter! Have a blessed day, my friend!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I too am skeptical, but I trust you. I’ll try these as a quick dessert for my 2 grandsons. they’ll like the idea of their own cake

  • Reply
    Bites from life with the barking lot
    September 18, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Yes, in interest of the blog one must definitely try things again in the am! Love Love the photographs! Makes me wish I had a microwave. Cannot imagine the texture as you described, but sounds divine.

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    September 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Like you, I have always assumed this type of cake wouldn’t have much in the way of taste… I will have to give this a try sometime soon!

  • Reply
    Nantucket Daffodil
    September 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    This is fabulous, and if I wasn’t on a diet I’d whip one up right now (or 2).

  • Reply
    Karen Harris
    September 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Adorable and oh so Pin-able! My single daughter will love this as much as I do. I will certainly pass this on to her. I am a fellow participant in the Muy Bueno Spotlight. I can’t wait to see your post. What a fun feature.

  • Reply
    A Trifle Rushed
    September 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    What great fun, it almost makes me wish I had a microwave, but in my tiny London kitchen there is just no space! I love the idea of instant cake!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Haha, I’m always intriguied by those type of instant-portion-controlled-cakes that have been all over pinterest. I guess I feel too guilty to ever try it, though I’m really curious. Next time I’m craving some chocolate I’ll just make this–it is really well portion-controlled. Haha, and my sister was just commenting on my blog how we must “resist instant gratification”! Sometimes we need it, though. 🙂

  • Reply
    l o v e l y t h i n g s
    September 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    What a wonderful idea…I must give this a whirl for my kids this week. I love how festive yours look in the pink molds with sprinkles and a candle.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    September 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I love your little cakes, Sue! And that you embraced the microwave method. I know in the past you’ve said you’re wary of no-bake bars and things like that but sometimes they do just…work! And I think it’s great you used two silicone molds that are shallower. When I make microwave cakes I used a coffee mug but b/c of the depth, sometimes the batter cooks widely unevenly – the top will be burnt and overflowing and the underneath at the base of the mug will be soupy and raw. So the shallow/split into 2 idea is great!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    oohhh can’t wait to make this!! looks so easy and delicious. love that cupcake tin, too!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    September 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Goodness! You are cranking out beautiful posts and recipes as fast as I can post a comment! I must have been sleeping in a cave because this is the first time I’ve seen microwave cupcakes – but love the idea. These are so cute and sound delicious. You know I love chocolate!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Oh it looks like a proper fairy cake, you Americans have exiled them with your gorgeous big cupcakes but this takes me back to my younger days!

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