Gluten Free Vanilla Mug Cake

Gluten Free Vanilla Mug Cake

A gluten free vanilla mug cake recipe with no egg for a moist and tender single-serving yellow cake in your microwave in just minutes.

Fingers holding a spoonful of vanilla mug cake

Choosing a gluten free flour blend for this recipe

When I was first developing this recipe, I used a more traditional all purpose gluten free flour blend that already contains xanthan gum in the blend (I used Better Batter original blend). It made a lovely, high-rising cake and tasted good. You can use it in this recipe with success.

But the texture wasn’t quite as tender as I’d like it to be. It was also a bit more dry, since that flour blend (like most all purpose gluten free flour blends) absorbs a lot of moisture.

Overhead image of vanilla mug cake ingredients

Our gum-free gluten free flour blend is really best here

I prefer to use my gum-free gluten free flour blend, which is made with 3 simple flours: 66% superfine white rice flour + 22% potato starch + 12% tapioca starch/flour. It’s such a useful blend that I think it’s worth committing those percentages to memory, but I’ve done the math for you in the recipe card below.

Without the xanthan gum in the mix, though, the cake made with the gum-free flour blend doesn’t rise quite as high in the mug, but I don’t mind that at all. If you’d like to have the best of both worlds, try using the gum free blend, and adding a scant 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum.

Most of all, let’s try not to make this overly complicated! It’s a mug cake.

Vanilla mug cake raw batter in mug overhead image

Microwave oven details

This cake is developed to be made in a microwave that is approximately 1000 watts. It isn’t for the oven. That’s where we make regular cakes!

This is just to make a quick-fix for your sweet tooth’s desire for a “little something.” Maybe late at night? Maybe you just don’t feel like sharing. No judgment.

Please don’t email me to tell me that the microwave is going to kill us all. Or comment that below. Your feelings are private, and your own business. Sharing them with me is mine. Thank you for coming to my motherhood TED talk.

Vanilla mug cake batter raw in mug image from side

Sorry about the math, but here’s how it works.

My microwave is oddly powerful at 1200 watts. I need to use a reduced power percentage to approximate 1000 watts. For me, that means using 80% power because 1200 watts x 80% = 960 watts (that counts as “about” 1000 watts).

It just requires the simplest math. ? I know some of you hate math, and I’m so sorry. At least you don’t have to do it on an abacus. ?

You’ll only have to do the  math once, though. And then you’ll be able to make vanilla mug cake, and chocolate mug cake with success. And you’ll maybe understand your microwave a bit better.

If you’re not sure how many watts yours is, and you can’t find the information on the appliance itself, just google your microwave brand and the word “wattage” and you’ll find the information.

Whole just cooked vanilla mug cake in mug

Ingredients and substitutions


The only dairy in this recipe (unless you’re using Cup4Cup as your flour blend, which contains dairy) is the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. You can easily replace that with your favorite vegan butter. I bet even Earth Balance buttery sticks would work.

Please don’t use oil, though. You might be tempted, since you’re melting the butter anyway.

In a simple recipe like this with such a neutral flavor profile, oil will steal flavor away from the cake, and leave it with an oily taste.


There are only 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in this recipe. I’ve also made it with 3 tablespoons, and I thought it was too sweet.

I really don’t recommend reducing the sugar in this recipe. It’s just 25 grams of sugar, and it helps to tenderize the cake (sugar isn’t just for sweetness in baking!).

If you’d like to try using an alternative sugar, try Lankato brand monkfruit granulated alternative sugar. It will probably mean a more stiff batter, so consider adding another teaspoonful or two of applesauce to compensate for the drying effect of alternative sugars.

Edible decorations

For full information on gluten free edible confetti, please see our recipe for gluten free “Funfetti” cupcakes. I love baking with edible confetti, but it can be a bit difficult to source because some companies make it, and then stop. I’m looking at you, AmeriColor! But you can find it, and it’s worth the effort.


Closeup image of spoonful of vanilla mug cake

Vanilla mug cake ingredients, raw batter in mug, and cooked spoonful

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 mini cake


2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, softened or melted and cooled

3 tablespoons (45 g) smooth applesauce

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (54 g) gum free or all purpose gluten free flour (see Recipe Notes)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon edible gluten free confetti, nonpareils, or sprinkles (optional)


  • Grease microwave-safe mug or mason jar with at least an 8-ounce capacity and set it aside. In a mixing bowl or measuring cup, place the butter, applesauce, and vanilla, and whisk vigorously to combine very well. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk again to combine. Add the flour blend and baking powder, and whisk until smooth. Add the optional edible decoration, and mix until evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour the batter into the greased mug, and smooth the top.

  • Place the mug in your microwave oven and cook at about 1000 watts for 1 minute 45 seconds. Test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. If not, cook for up to another 20 seconds at about 1000 watts. Allow to cool briefly before serving.


Comments are closed.

  • Bonnie Sanchez
    October 4, 2020 at 8:11 PM

    Nicole, I love your recipes! I followed your recipe and directions exactly for the gf vanilla mug cake. After I cooked it and the taste was off, I realized I did not add the vanilla. Looking back at the directions I noticed it is not in the directions where or when to add the vanilla. Please update. Thanks!

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 5, 2020 at 7:41 AM

      You’re right, Bonnie! So sorry about that. It’s fixed now, but just so you know in a properly written recipe, the ingredients are always used in the order in which they’re listed. Thanks for pointing out my error!

  • Sandy
    September 10, 2020 at 5:55 PM

    A jar of baby food applesauce.

  • Jan Marie Thompson
    September 3, 2020 at 6:56 AM

    I’m allergic to all fruit except berries. I’ve been substituting blueberries blended with water into your applesauce recipes (I used 3 T frozen blueberries and 1 T water and blended). I also used coconut flavoring (allergic to beans). It was so good! Ugly, but yummy!

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 3, 2020 at 9:22 AM

      That’s a really interesting swap, Jan Marie! I’m not sure where the bean allergy came into play, but I’m really glad you were able to find something to work for you.

  • Janet T
    August 21, 2020 at 6:26 PM

    Covid19 has me at home and I tried a replacement. No Applesauce, but I had a snack cup of pears. I blended them and substituted. The batter seemed pretty stiff and the cake was fairly dense. I had a very ripe pear (read lots of brown spots) simmered it into a thinner sauce. Wonderful! The pear might be a whole new avenue for you, Nicole. I added about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a shake of ginger. Next time I’ll add some chopped candied ginger. But that will have to wait until I can go to the store. Such fun! and a real treat. I’ll also try a gum free GF flour. That should make it lighter, too.

  • Stef
    August 16, 2020 at 5:01 PM

    Does the applesauce replace an egg?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 16, 2020 at 6:28 PM

      I describe everything about the applesauce in the post, Stef. But generally, just follow the recipe precisely, and it’ll turn out!

  • Nancy Duty
    August 16, 2020 at 9:13 AM

    A six-pack of applesauce is easy to use for this recipe over and over again. Anxious to try this.

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 16, 2020 at 1:17 PM

      Good idea, Nancy!

  • Judi
    August 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM

    Can i use Swerve instead of sugar?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 16, 2020 at 1:17 PM

      Alternative sweeteners tend to by drying, Judi, so I’m honestly not sure.

  • Stephanie Aston
    August 14, 2020 at 1:42 AM

    This looks so good! I was wanting a vanilla mug cake a couple weeks ago and just left the cocoa powder with your chocolate mug cake recipe and reduced the sugar a little bit. It worked fine, but this is very exciting! I don’t normally keep applesauce, any preferred substitutes? Thanks for creating all these delicious recipes!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 14, 2020 at 7:20 AM

      I’m afraid you absolutely need applesauce, Stephanie. It provides moisture and some structure. If you replace it with something like bananas, the whole thing will taste like bananas.

  • Susan
    August 13, 2020 at 10:55 AM

    Thanks again for another wonderful recipe! While your peanut butter protein cookies were in the oven I made these last night for the hubby and daughter and they loved them! Also, love your comment on ‘no comments on microwaving’ – made me laugh. You go girl!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 13, 2020 at 4:21 PM

      Haha sometimes I feel like I have to head certain comments off. Like the one on Facebook that the recipe “looks good, but I don’t use a microwave. Ever.” So glad they enjoyed the mug cake, Susan. And the comment. ?

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