I’m not sure where the inspiration came for making this mug cake this week. It wasn’t a suggestion by a reader, it wasn’t some idea that popped into my head that I had jotted down. It just sort of magically appeared into my thoughts while I was in the kitchen. And once it was there, the question became, why hadn’t the thought appeared sooner? After all, I love red velvet cake.

I’m pretty picky when it comes to red velvet cakes. Going into this, I knew this would not be a perfect red velvet cake. Mug cakes are simple and as a result you do sacrifice some of the elements of a perfect cake. So this isn’t a perfect red velvet cake, but it’s a good quick fix.

And even though I don’t really enjoy cream cheese frosting, I made it just for this cake. Because the cake looked so lonely without it.

I was really proud at myself for opening the red food coloring bottle without staining my hands. And then carefully mixing it in and even washing my mixing utensils all without getting any red food coloring on my hands. And then I absent-mindedly grabbed a paper towel to dry my hands only to find that the end of the paper towel had drops of red dye, which I had rubbed onto my fingers. Damnit. So close. Hopefully no one during my lunch date noticed my red stained fingers.

Here’s the list of the rest of my mug cakes I’ve made so far.

Update: Please check out my new and improved red velvet mug cake here.

Print Print Recipe

Red Velvet mug cake


Please note, I have a new and improved version here.

For the cake:

  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring

For the frosting:

  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Mix all the ingredients together into an oversized mug using a fork or small whisk until batter is smooth. Cook in microwave for about 1 min 30 seconds. It might need an additional 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook as batter will become dense and rubbery.

Let cake cool slightly before piping frosting. For frosting, combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix on high speed until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cake.


38 Responses to “Red Velvet Mug Cake”

  1. Kay — March 20, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I love red velvet cake, this is so cute!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 20th, 2012 @ 8:58 am

      Hehee. I was happy with how it turned out!

  2. Carol — March 22, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I love RV cupcakes and this mug cake certainly would curb a craving. Great job!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 22nd, 2012 @ 8:21 am

      I love Red velvet too. Though I do hate eating food coloring. red velvet is the one exception I make.

  3. Sasha — May 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Which type of flour do i use?

    • Kirbie replied: — May 19th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

      Regular all purpose flour

  4. Jessica — October 9, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I love the idea of a single serving dessert..It’s quick and easy and taste great. The reason why I wanted to write down all of these single serving recipes is because me and my mom are dieting(Counting calories) and we don’t won’t a whole dessert sittin on the counter all week starin us in tha face..So if we have a sweet craving, we could just make a single serving dessert.Well in this case, I made this dessert last night..and I took a bite and it was sooo good. She took a bite and loved it as well(We were going to split the dessert). As I started calculating the calories, we both put down our spoons and gave it to my dad. Finding out that this single serving dessert was a whopping 1,557.2 calories! Splitting it would still be waaay more calories than we would consume in a meal(778.6 calories). The dessert is GREAT..but sadly won’t be enjoying anymore. :(

  5. Cyn — November 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I’m sorry to say, I tried this and it tasted nothing like Red Velvet cake. I had to throw it out, wasn’t sweet enough and very bland with an odd taste.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 21st, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

      I’m sorry yours didn’t work out. I thought mine tasted like red velvet, but not as good as a full red velvet cake recipe.

  6. NewYorker — November 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I had some leftover buttermilk and an egg that I wanted to use and I came across this recipe. I made it without the frosting and the cake was pretty good.

    But the above poster is correct in saying the calories in this mug cake are ridiculous. I calculated what I ate and it turned out to be 800 calories!!!

    The measurements are off. 3 tbsp of oil in 1 serving is way too much! You don’t even use that much oil to make an entree for 2 people. That’s roughly 360 calories or almost half the calories of the whole dessert.

    • Kirbie replied: — December 2nd, 2012 @ 12:12 am

      Actually the measurements are not off. Yes, in order for the mug cake to work in the microwave, you do need that much oil and you do need an entire egg. I do realize this is not the same proportions as if you were to scale down a full cake into a one serving cake. I’ve tried to eliminate some of the oil or some of the egg, but the texture of the cake doesn’t come out right. If you are concerned about calories, there are some mug cakes I’ve been able to lighten if you check out my mug cake series. Unfortunately this is not one of them.

  7. Mari — February 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I cut this in half after hearing how many people thought it was a bit much. The cake was exactly what I wanted after an exhausting day. Thanks!

    • Kirbie replied: — February 12th, 2013 @ 2:03 pm


  8. D — February 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    1/2 a cup of sugar mixed into two tbsp of cream cheese? is that right???

  9. skeate — April 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I was curious about the frosting as well but not the ratio. should that be powdered sugar? white sugar came out pretty dense and granulated. didn’t think about it until afterwards… otherwise though it was great!

    • Kirbie replied: — April 8th, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

      I used granulated sugar. The frosting was a little dense, but that is usually how cream cheese frosting is, at least the ones I’ve had.

  10. Linda — April 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I forgot to put the substitute for buttermilk (milk + vinegar) into the mixture, still turned out great!

    • Kirbie replied: — April 18th, 2013 @ 4:00 pm


  11. Marjie — May 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Can we substitute the oil with water or just use half of the oil measurement with water?

    • Kirbie replied: — May 8th, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

      I haven’t tried, so I don’t know the answer. I will say that I’m pretty sure you can’t completely sub out the oil because the cake does need some of it. You may try reducing the oil in half and doing half fat free milk.

  12. Maya — June 24, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Instead of butter milk can you use regular milk?

    • Kirbie replied: — June 24th, 2013 @ 9:00 am

      It won’t taste the same. Red velvet cake traditionally uses buttermilk.

  13. krysten — December 21, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Made it and its fantastic!! Am thinking of using whipped fresh cream with the sugar and cream cheese as a frosting, but was wanting to know, do you think you can freeze the cake mix? Would love to pre-make it into batches for my family.

    • Kirbie replied: — December 23rd, 2013 @ 1:40 am

      that’s a good question. unfortunately, I don’t know the answer! I’ve never tried refreezing/defrosting and then cooking it.

  14. Maddy — December 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I tried this recipe to give as a secret santa gift, and they loved it! i opened the microwave before it was done, which is why it may have been a little dense and dry, but overall really good!

    • Kirbie replied: — December 24th, 2013 @ 9:16 am

      yay! glad it worked out

  15. Cristal Cortes — January 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I made this today because I was looking for a red velvet cake, but was to lazy to make a whole one , so I decided to make this one! It turned out pretty good actually, but the calories in this mug is massive so I will only eat this once a month(sadly). Now about the cake-it was a good amount of chocolate, and as for the frosting-hmm… too much sugar. Last words tho- it is a really good cake.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 24th, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

      I’m working on trying to tweak this recipe. When I get to a version I love, I will post it!

  16. tiffanie — March 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Can i replace buttermilk with regular whole milk or low fat milk?

    • Kirbie replied: — March 25th, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

      Unfortunately no! It will completely change the cake. Buttermilk is needed for the red velvet flavor.

  17. Asdfghjkl — April 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    This worked out great! I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used half and half and it turned out fine. Really enjoying this! Only four dishes to wash and will definitely be using this again. Thank u so much for this recipe. <3

    • Kirbie replied: — April 24th, 2014 @ 1:15 am

      I’m glad it still turned out even though you didn’t have buttermilk!

  18. Scarlet — July 4, 2014 at 1:24 am

    Wonderful recipe! I’m a fan of the classic Red Velvet cakes, and this just turned out just fine. Also, this is the first microwave mug cake recipe that’s actually worked 100%. Quick, easy, gorgeous and smooth! I love it! Thank you for sharing.

  19. Jacy — January 21, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I’m curious if you would happen to have the nutritional facts on this,  but if you don’t then could you maybe take an estimated guess for me about the calories, fat, carbs, etc.

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