1-2-3 Mug Cake: A Single-Serving Dessert in a Cup Using Cake Mix


Need to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try 1-2-3 Mug Cake, a single-serving warm dessert, you just microwave in a cup for a minute. It’s delicious, quick and uses cake mix!

If you want an easy dessert you can make whenever you’re craving something sweet, this simple 1-2-3 mug cake recipe is the answer.

Easy 123 Mug Cake topped with whipped cream and sprinkles

Is 1-2-3 Cake the same thing as Mug Cake? 

We are updating this post after receiving questions asking, “is 1-2-3 cake a mug cake recipe?” 

Yes it is! Mug cake recipes are as easy as 1-2-3, and that’s exactly what this recipe is all about. 

What do you do when you have a craving for something sweet, but you don’t have any cookies, cakes, brownies or other desserts in the house?

A few years ago, I came across the answer on Pinterest for a simple single-serving dessert from The Hidden Pantry called Aunt Betty’s 1-2-3 Cake. Named because the original author got the recipe from her husband’s Aunt Betty, this delicious dessert is so fast and easy. It’s the perfect warm dessert on a cold winter night when you just need something to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Close up of whip cream with sprinkles on a 3 2 1 mug cake

How to make 1-2-3 Mug Cake

All you do is combine a couple of boxed cake mixes, add water and throw it in the microwave. It’s easy as 1-2-3! There’s a recipe card later in this post with the specific instructions.

What you need:

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Kitchen Tools:


These are the ingredients you’ll need. All the exact amounts are in the printable card at the bottom of this post.

123 Cake in a ceramic mug topped with whipped cream and sprinkles

Serving Suggestions for 1-2-3 Mug Cake

As I mentioned in the recipe, you can use any flavor cake for the second cake mix. I used a dark chocolate cake mix for this blog post, but my husband and I think devil’s food just sounds like the right one to combine with angel food for 1-2-3 mug Cake. Don’t you agree? Here are some serving suggestions that we’ve tried:

  • Replace the water with Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream for a tasty treat.
  • Top your 1-2-3 Mug Cake with ice cream.
  • Pour hot fudge on the 1-2-3 Mug Cake in addition to the whipped cream or ice cream.
  • Spread a tablespoon or two of frosting across the top of the cake.
  • A few marshmallows or marshmallow fluff melted over the top of the cake would be delicious.
  • Package 1-2-3 Mug Cake mix in individual jars and give as gifts.
  • Double the recipe in a larger coffee mug to increase the size of the cake. For example in these photos, we used 5 tablespoons of mix and 3 1/3 tablespoons of water to fill the mug all the way to the top.
123 cake recipe with instructions for baking in the microwave

1-2-3 Cake Lessons Learned

As my family and I have experimented with 1-2-3 Cake, we’ve also tried a few things that didn’t work well:

  • We tried confetti cake mix, but found the colored confetti doesn’t really stand out once it’s mixed with the angel food cake mix.
  • Red velvet cake mix was delicious, but the cake was such a bright red color, it wasn’t appetizing.
  • We’ve thrown chocolate or peanut butter chips into the batter before we microwaved the 1-2-3 Cake. The chips sink right to the bottom of the cup.
  • Make sure to use an appropriately sized cup or your cake will run over the top.
  • When you’re done enjoying your 1-2-3 Cake, you may need to soak the cup with water before you put it in the dishwasher. The 1-2-3 Cake will stick to the bottom of the cup.
1 2 3 cake in cup topped with whipped cream and sprinkles
123 cake in a cup, this delicious mug cake can be made with any cake mix and is microwaveable.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.55 from 11 votes

1-2-3 Mug Cake: A Single-Serving Dessert in a Cup

Need to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try 1-2-3 Mug Cake, a single-serving warm dessert, you just microwave in a cup for a minute. It’s delicious and quick! 
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time3 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, mug cakes
Servings: 20
Calories: 175kcal
Author: Carrie Ypma


  • 1 box of cake mix any flavor
  • 1 box of angel food cake mix
  • Water
  • Whipped cream optional
  • Sprinkles optional


  • Pour both boxes of cake mix into a gallon sized sealable storage bag and shake to thoroughly combine the mixes.
  • Put 3 tablespoons of the combined cake mix in a microwaveable coffee cup. Seal and set aside the remaining cake mix to enjoy 1-2-3 Cake another day.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Stir the water and cake mix together to form a batter. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the mug to get all the cake mix granules wet.
  • Cook for 1 minute in the microwave.
  • Be careful when you remove the hot cup from the microwave. The resulting cake will fill about half the cup and have a spongy appearance.
  • Top with whipped cream and sprinkles. Enjoy this warm, delicious dessert!


Serving: 3TBS | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag us on Instagram at @kenarryideas or leave us a comment rating below.

Just Remember 1-2-3

There are just three simple steps: 3 tablespoons of the cake mix, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 minute in the microwave. I write it on the side of the gallon sealable bag so I can easily remember the next time we make 1-2-3 Cake.

We hope you’ll enjoy this delicious warm dessert as much as we do. Please comment below and share your favorite way to serve 1-2-3 Mug Cake.

Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake An Easy Dessert in 3 Simple Steps

This Inspired Idea for Aunt Betty’s 1-2-3 Mug Cake came from The Hidden Pantry and was shared with their permission. Please visit their website to find more great ideas like this.

The words and photos used in this post are our own, derived from our personal experience implementing this idea. 

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What’s Next?

While you’re here, be sure to check out some of these other easy dessert ideas on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry® –

If you enjoyed this 123 cake recipe, please share this with your friends or pin it for later:

Easy as 1-2-3 Microwave Mug Cake | Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

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  1. I love the 1-2-3 cakes! They are great bc the kids get their cake and I don’t have the temptation laying around…but if I do give in, they aren’t so bad for my diet. We like to add peanut butter or hot fudge sauce to make a lava cake version.

    1. Ooooh! I LOVE the idea of adding peanut butter or hot fudge sauce, Kim. Do you mix it into the cake mix or just throw a dollop into the batter to give it more of the lava effect?

  2. Carrie, I LOVE this idea! I’ve made mug cakes before but they’ve had too many ingredients to make it easy enough to make regularly. I am so excited to have a recipe that is so simple and easy to remember!!! I love your suggestions for topping with ice cream or hot fudge, too. And using Kahlua sounds amazing! Going to have to stock up on some cake mix. 🙂

  3. I heard from someone on instragram this little trick. Instead of 3 tbsp. of the mixture use two and one tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa. It makes the cake much richer and it looks a lot let spongy in my opinion. Delicious!!!

    1. Thanks for the idea! I used sugar free yellow cake mix, because it was the only flavor available. I was very sad it wasn’t chocolate mix…problem solved!!

      1. Hi Jessica,
        That’s the great part about this recipe – you can use it with any flavor cake mix. To give yours some chocolate flair, why don’t you drizzle it with chocolate syrup or top it with chocolate chips?

        Best wishes,
        Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

  4. Thanks for stopping by our Cook it! Craft it! Share it! Link Party. Hope to see you this wednesday night at 8:30 PM EST. -Doree

    1. Thanks, Michelle1 It is super quick. Plus it keeps well in the cupboard so it’s ready whenever you need it. In fact, maybe I should have had some tonight…

    1. Oh it’s sooo good, Colleen! In fact, this is now reminding me I have some in my pantry AND I have ice cream in my freezer. Yay! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  5. Pingback: 20 + Desserts for Two | TipToe After Dark
    1. Hi Betty, That’s such a great question! I’m not a dietician or nutritionist nor am I familiar with the Weight Watchers program, so unfortunately I’m not qualified at all to give a point value for a 1-2-3 cake serving. I think the point value would also vary widely depending on what brand and type of cake mix you used. If you figure it out though, come back and let us know!

      Best wishes,
      Ideas for the Home by Kenarry®

  6. my partner is a cupcake freak!!! i make this with brownie mix and angel food. i drop a tablespoon or so of chopped walnuts on top of the batter and they disperse themselves as it cooks very good texture. also himself tried 3 kraft caramels dropped on top and they sank a bit less than half way in and melted well. the carramel was however VERY hot.

    1. Those are such great ideas to customize this easy little dessert. I hadn’t thought to try this with a brownie mix before – that’s BRILLIANT! Thanks too for the warning about how hot the caramel gets!

  7. Is there a secret to making this in high elevations? We usually use a ramekin and it fit perfectly. In Denver it boiled over and was full of holes.

    1. Hi Paula,
      Great question! I live in Michigan and unfortunately don’t have any experience baking at high altitudes. I did a little digging online to see if I could come up with any ideas for you to try. First, use a larger coffee mug or ramekin. A standard size mug is 8-10 Oz, so I’d suggest using one that’s 12-15 Oz instead.
      Second, water evaporates at a higher rate in higher altitudes so I would recommend trying to increase the water slightly. You may need to increase the baking time slightly as well. Alternately, you could decrease the amount of cake mix. Using less cake mix may allow you to continue baking in the ramekins that you like to use.
      Third, look at the side of your cake mix boxes to see if they have any additional suggestions for high altitudes. Some sources I read online talked about adding some flour to the mix.
      Since I can’t test it out for you, it’s really going to come down to trial and error for you. Think of it like a delicious science experiment! If I were you I’d start with increasing the water by 1/2 TBS and using a larger mug and see if that makes a difference. Keep track of what adjustments you make each time and work on it until it turns out as you’d expect. Then please come back and let us know so we can update our post with your recommendation for other readers.

      Best wishes – and happy cake making!
      Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

      P.S. These tips from Betty Crocker May help – https://www.bettycrocker.com/how-to/tipslibrary/baking-tips/baking-cooking-high-altitudes

  8. I love these little cakes! I usually use a white cake mix and drop a miniature Hershey bar or milky way in the cup it floats about halfway and makes kind of a lava cake. Delicious!

    1. Ooooh! I love that idea, Cindy! I never thought to drop a miniature candy bar into the center. I’m definitely going to try that next time. Thank you so much for sharing.
      Best wishes,
      Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

  9. Can I use duncan Hines banana cake mix for the cake mix and sprinkle walnuts on top before microwave?

    1. Hi Jan,
      Sure! I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. I think you can use any cake mix as long as the second one is an angel food cake mix. When you sprinkle the walnuts on top of the mix, they *may* sink to the bottom. Give it a try and let us know how it works out for you!
      Best wishes,
      Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

  10. I love all your ideas. This is so fun to make, especially with the Kahlua! Did this years ago with my son and now I make them with my granddaughter!

  11. The cake tasted good (newly purchased vanilla and angel food mixes combined), and the coffee cup was of a ‘normal’ size, but the cake was only about 3/4″ high despite following this simple recipe to a tee. 🙁 What happened? Suggestions? Anyone else have this problem? Thanx much.

    1. Hi Nigel,
      That’s so strange. Did the cake only fill 3/4 of the mug or was it less than an inch tall inside the mug? Even with just the batter it would be that tall! I’m not sure why yours didn’t rise at all. When I’ve made it, it usually fills about 3/4 of a regular sized coffee mug – giving just enough room for a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top. Perhaps try it again?
      Best wishes,
      Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

  12. Sometimes I find that the cake rises better by elevating it in the microwave using an inverted saucer. After the minute, take the cake out, turn the saucer right side up and invert the cake on the saucer.

  13. that was an excellent chocolate snack. Devils Food and Angel Food Cake mixed together made for a great recipe for the sweet craving this old diabetic wanted.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Once the cake comes out of the microwave, it’s already a cake – so you can add a dollop of peanut butter to the top like frosting and it will sort of melt into the cake because it’s warm. I bet it will be delicious. Enjoy!

      Best wishes,
      Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

  14. I had my mix packed away for 2 years in a cannister. Still works and tastes great. My cake mix is strawberry and when it came out I put a dollop of PB on it. It was great, tasted like a PB&J and cured my sweet cravings. We are going to try the brownie mix next. It was great reading all the suggestions people posted here. Thank you all so much.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you so much! You have some great suggestions yourself – that dollop of peanut butter sounds absolutely delicious. Once you try the brownie mix, come back and let us know what you think!

      Happy baking!

      Best wishes,
      Lisa, Ideas for the Home by Kenarry

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