Red Velvet Mug Cake is so easy to make, with a moist crumb, and that chocolatey, tangy flavor we all love. The super easy cleanup is a bonus!
A Perfect Mini Dessert That’s So Easy to Make!
Remember when we all went crazy over mug cakes? These mini, one-serving microwave desserts were all the rage, and it’s easy to see why – who wouldn’t love a cake you can bake in just minutes? That trend brought about this Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake, my Easy Pumpkin Mug Cake, and this unforgettable Red Velvet Mug Cake!
Well, get ready to meet your new favorite cake in a cup – red velvet mug cake! If you love classic red velvet cake with its light, moist texture and more-ish chocolate taste, this recipe is for you.
Now, some people (cough, cough – my mom – cough, cough) don’t love red velvet. And that’s okay – it’s just that I think those people are absolutely crazy. Homemade chocolate cake, with a little tang to it, and a bright, fun color? I’m in, every single time.
What Makes Red Velvet Cake Taste Different?
Hold on to your hats, because this one might throw you off a bit. The secret ingredient in red velvet is… vinegar.
Don’t lose me, now! This cake does not taste sour. Red velvet cake was historically made with tangy buttermilk and a little extra vinegar for additional acid. Acid can help cakes rise, especially if you’re using some baking soda in the recipe. That additional acid also gave the cake its color, by reacting with the cocoa powder to create a reddish tint.
These days, whole milk and a bit of vinegar give the cake that slightly tangy flavor (think cream cheese tangy, not salad dressing tangy). Red food coloring gives it a lush, genuinely red color that’s perfect for holidays.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients you will need to make this cake. They are basically ordinary pantry staples, so you probably have most of them around:
- Milk: I like to use whole milk in this recipe.
- Vinegar: Plain white vinegar thickens the milk and gives the cake its signature tangy taste.
- Flour: You want plain, all-purpose flour, not self-rising flour.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar. Brown sugar would also work, but I think granulated is better here.
- Cocoa Powder: You can use regular, Dutch process, or raw. Regular is what I typically have and use.
- Baking Powder: For a good rise and a light cake.
- Oil: A small amount of vegetable oil gives the red velvet mug cake a moist, swoon-worthy texture, without weighing it down.
- Food Coloring: Red food coloring isn’t strictly necessary – you can have a yummy mug cake without it. But if you want the real red velvet experience, you’ll need to add a few drops of red food coloring.
- Powdered Sugar, Mini Chocolate Chips, or Frosting: For decorating. These are totally optional! I do like to sprinkle a little something extra on top, though.
How to Make a Red Velvet Mug Cake
So how do you pull together this cute little dessert? It’s actually very similar to making real cake – you mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately, and then “bake.” It only takes a few minutes to do this:
- Make the Sour Milk. In a large mug, whisk (with a small whisk or large fork) together the milk and vinegar. Set aside.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt).
- Combine the Dry and Wet Ingredients. Add to the milk mixture and add the vegetable oil and red food coloring. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour into the Mug. Scoop the cake batter into a microwave-safe mug.
- “Bake.” Cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds. This recipe will rise and then deflate slightly since it’s being cooked in the microwave.
- Enjoy! Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Helpful Tips for Success
Making mug cakes like this is fun and easy, and it can be quite addictive, too. (I mean, it’s honestly a little dangerous to know that you can whip up something this luxurious, this fast. Right?) These helpful tips will make your mug cake baking even more successful.
- No Egg: My top tip is that mug cakes are better without eggs. I know, I know – eggs are essential in most cake recipes. But for a serving this small, cooked in a microwave, egg creates a spongy, unpleasant texture. Skip the eggs, and your cake will be much more luxurious.
- Stirring: Confession time: in the directions, I say to mix the dry ingredients separately (a mini whisk makes this much easier) and then add them, because that is what you should do. But honestly, sometimes I just dump all the dry ingredients into the milk mixture at once and stir the batter a ton. It still works just fine!
- Filling: There’s a fine line between having a nice big serving of cake, and having a red velvet volcano oozing all over your microwave – so be careful not to overfill your mug. You’re welcome.
- Serve Immediately: With most cakes, you must let them cool before frosting and serving. Not with these little guys! Serve your red velvet mug cake right away for the best texture and flavor.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you have a few leftover bites of your red velvet mug cake, you can cover the mug tightly with foil or plastic wrap, and keep it in your fridge for 24 hours or so. If you keep it longer than that, it will probably dry out. Uncover the mug and heat the cake briefly in the microwave before serving.
Can I Freeze This Mug Cake?
Like most cake recipes, this one can be frozen – although it may dry out in the freezer. I really recommend making them fresh, but if you want to freeze, just wrap the whole mug tightly in a couple of layers of foil or plastic wrap, and freeze it for up to two months. Before serving, let the mug cake thaw out in your fridge, and then heat it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it back up.
Red Velvet Mug Cake
- 3 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 drops red food coloring, optional
- powdered sugar for dusting on top, optional
- mini chocolate chips, optional
- pre-made frosting, optional
- In a large mug, whisk (with a small whisk or large fork) together the milk and vinegar. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt). Add to the milk mixture and add the vegetable oil and red food coloring. Whisk until smooth. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, if using.
- Cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds. This recipe will rise and then deflate slightly since it's being cooked in the microwave. Dust with powdered sugar or top with frosting, and serve immediately!
More Red Velvet Desserts You’ll Love
- Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Red Velvet Bundt Cakes
- Red Velvet Truffles
- Easy Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Marbled Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies
- Red Velvet Layer Cake
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