Healthy Pumpkin Mug Cake is a healthy and nutritious fall treat that is perfect for breakfast, snack or a quick single-serving dessert when you have zero time. Made with canned pumpkin, almond butter and almond flour, it is high in protein and delicious.
What do you do when it’s already sweater weather, the days are shorter, the leaves are turning and you are craving a nourishing warm treat but don’t feel like baking a batch of muffins or, worse, cleaning a pile of dishes after? You make a Pumpkin Mug Cake!
It takes literally a couple minutes and all you will need to clean is one mug and one spoon. As long as you have a microwave at your house, you can have an indulgent fall treat made super fast. Then, all you need is to light up that pumpkin spice or apple cider candle, wrap yourself in a soft blanket and embrace all the fall feels while digging into the pumpkin chocolate goodness straight from the mug.
I played with this recipe to make it grain-free, dairy-free, paleo and high in protein. The final cake is all of those things but more importantly, it is soft, moist, gooey and absolutely delicious. Oh, and the amount of chocolate chips in the recipe is just a suggestion. Use however much chocolate the day calls for.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Canned Pumpkin Puree: make sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling is full of sugar and other ingredients, while the puree should only have pumpkin on the ingredients’ list.
- Almond Butter: creamy, all-natural almond butter provides healthy fat and protein in this mug cake.
- Almond Flour: for extra nutrition and to make this little cake paleo-friendly. I get mine at Sam’s Club.
- Maple Syrup: use 100% pure maple syrup. Mine is always from Maine.
- Egg: use free range, organic egg if possible. Since one whole egg is quite a lot for a single-serving cake, I recommend using a smaller egg to avoid overly eggy flavor. If all you have is large eggs, pick the smallest one in your egg carton.
- Baking Powder: to help the cake rise.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: it’s a blend of spices traditionally used in a pumpkin pie, typically made with ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Look for it in the spice aisle at your grocery store or on Amazon.
- Cinnamon: for the ultimate fall flavor.
- Vanilla: use vanilla bean paste (my favorite) or pure vanilla extract.
- Salt: to round up the flavors.
- Chocolate Chips: dark chocolate chips will work best. For a paleo recipe, use dairy-free chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY PUMPKIN MUG CAKE
You will need one mug, one spoon and a microwave oven. Here is the best thing about mug cakes – they take no time to make and there is virtually no cleanup.
STEP 1: Mix all wet ingredients in a mug. No need to spray it with oil. If your almond butter is on a thick side, make sure to stir vigorously so the mixture is smooth and has no clumps.
STEP 2: Add dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Don’t overmix.
STEP 3: Stir in most chocolate chips leaving some for the top.
STEP 4: Decorate the top with the remaining chocolate chips and microwave on high for 90 seconds to 3 minutes.
Note: Cooking time will depend on the strength of your microwave and the kind of mug you’re using. Start by microwaving for 90 seconds, then check for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out mostly clean, your mug cake is ready. If not, keep microwaving at 10-20 second intervals until the top look done and the toothpick comes out clean.
STEP 5: Let the cake cool for at least 5 minutes before digging in.
TOP TIPS FOR MAKING A MUG CAKE
- Don’t overfill the mug. I know you’re tempted to for that satisfying overflowing top. If you fill your mug to about ⅔, the egg and baking powder will do the job. However, if you fill it to the top, it may explode and create A LOT of mess in your microwave, which defeats the purpose of a mug cake (no clean up).
- Don’t overmix the batter. All the ingredients should be incorporated to form smooth batter but don’t go overboard or the cake may turn dense and tough.
- Don’t overbake. I recommend starting with 90 seconds of microwaving. Add more time if needed but in small increments until the mug cake is just right. Use a toothpick to check. You can also use the finger method: touch the top gently – if it feels a bit sticky, it’s done. If it doesn’t stick at all, you probably overcooked it.
- Enjoy immediately. This one is key. Microwaved cakes are super hot when they first come out so give it a couple minutes to cool (and make yourself a cup of tea) but don’t let it go cold. After about 10 minutes, it will start turning dense and the texture won’t be right. It’s really best warm!
I like to serve my healthy pumpkin mug cake warm with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Other topping suggestions include a dollop of Greek or coconut yogurt and/or a drizzle of your favorite nut butter.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND SPECIAL DIETS
This mug cake is dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and naturally paleo. As always, I encourage you to play with the recipe and make it your own. Here are some suggestions on how to shake things up a bit.
- Instead of almond butter, you can use peanut or cashew butter.
- You can swap maple syrup for honey, agave or coconut sugar.
- If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, replace it with more cinnamon. It will still be delicious!
- For an egg-free version, use egg replacer.
- My version uses dark chocolate chips as mix ins, but feel free to use chocolate chunks, milk chocolate chips or whatever chocolate you like.
- Chopped pecans or walnuts mixed into the batter will also work well.
FAQS AND EXPERT TIPS
WHAT IS THE TEXTURE OF A MUG CAKE LIKE?
Mug cakes are soft, sticky, gooey and satisfying. It’s definitely different than “regular” cake but I still consider it cake, just warm and super soft. If you’ve ever had a steamed English pudding, that would be the closest texture I can think of. In fact, when you nuke batter in the microwave, you are actually steaming it, not baking.
CAN I STORE MY MUG CAKE IN THE FRIDGE AND ENJOY LATER?
Technically yes but mug cakes really are best when you eat them immediately. Unlike regular cake that’s typically cooled and sliced, a mug cake gets steamed in the microwave which makes it softer and gooier – perfect for eating warm. If you let it cool completely, it turns hard and dense.
CAN I FREEZE MUG CAKE?
I wouldn’t. Since it’s a single-serving cake, it’s easy to whip up at any time though so you probably won’t have leftovers.
WHAT MAKES THIS PUMPKIN MUG CAKE HEALTHY?
This mug cake is definitely healthier than regular cake because it is made with 100% whole ingredients, no refined sugar, butter or oil. Almond butter and almond flour make it high in protein (12.6g per serving) and fiber (5.8g per serving) AND let’s not forget that it’s made with pumpkin which is a super healthy vegetable!
CAN I MAKE THIS MUG CAKE WITHOUT EGG?
Egg or no egg in mug cakes is definitely a matter of personal preference. Some people like the super fudgy texture of an eggless mug cake and find the egg to be too overpowering. Personally, eggless mug cakes are not my favorite unless it’s something like a mug brownie which is NOT supposed to be cakey. If you’re allergic to eggs or vegan, I recommend using egg replacer instead.
WILL PUMPKIN PIE FILLING WORK IN THIS RECIPE?
No. Don’t do it. Pumpkin pie filling in a can is processed and full of sugar.
If you try this Healthy Pumpkin Mug Cake and love it, or if you have any questions about this recipe please leave me a comment below!
MORE HEALTHY SWEETS TO TRY
- Healthy Banana Cake in a Mug
- Peanut Butter and Chocolate TikTok Baked Oats
- Banana Strawberry Oat Muffins
- Chocolate Bliss Balls
- Apricot Bliss Balls
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Healthy Pumpkin Mug Cake (Paleo, Gluten-Free, No Oil)
- Place canned pumpkin, almond butter, maple syrup, egg and vanilla in a mug and stir with a spoon until well mixed.
- Add almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and stir until combined.
- Stir in most of the chocolate chips and decorate the top with the rest.
- Microwave on high until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Start with 90 seconds. If it needs more time, microwave longer, in 10-20 second increments checking with a toothpick after each increment until just right. It should be slightly sticky to touch but not raw.