How to Bake a Cake in Microwave Oven Without Convection: Top Tips

microwave cake

You want to bake a cake in the microwave. You’ve seen those videos online where people just throw a few ingredients in a mug and voila! They have a delicious cake in minutes. But you’re not sure if that’s possible with your regular ol’ microwave. And you don’t want to risk ruining your cake. So, what do you do?

You’ve come to the right place. Here, I’ll show you how to bake a cake in the microwave without convection. And we’ll give you some tips and tricks along the way to make sure your cake turns out perfect every time.

Can You Bake a Cake in the Microwave Without Convection?

The short answer is yes! You can bake a cake in the microwave without convection. Whether it’s a boxed cake mix or a homemade recipe, you can make it in the microwave. However, it should be noted that the regular microwave won’t give you top golden brown results like a convection oven.

But despite that, you can still make a mean cake in the microwave. I’ve done it many times and my family loves it!

The microwaves particularly excel at cooking mug cakes, small cakes baked in a coffee mug. These are perfect when you want a single serving or you’re short on time. If you’re trying to bake a whole cake in the microwave, the results will depend on the recipes or boxed cake mix you use.

Some will come out well, while others might be a little chewy or gummy. Sponge cake, for example, works great in the microwave.

How Long to Bake a Cake in the Microwave

The cook time for a cake in the microwave will vary depending on several factors. These include the type of cake, the size of the cake, and the wattage of your microwave.

As a general rule of thumb, a mug cake will only need 1.5 to 2 minutes, while a whole cake will need 8 to 9 minutes. If you’re using a cake mix, be sure to follow the package directions.

If you’re unsure, start with a shorter cook time and then microwave the cake in 30-second intervals until it’s done. Use a toothpick or cake tester to check for doneness.

How to Bake a Cake in the Microwave: Step-by-Step

Now that you know how long to cook your cake, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to bake a cake in the microwave.

For this tutorial, I’ll be using Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge. But you can easily adapt these instructions for a homemade cake recipe.

  1. Start by preparing an 11-12 ounce microwave-safe mug. If you don’t have a mug you can use a small bowl. Just be sure it’s safe to use in the microwave.
  2. Spray the mug with cooking spray. This will help the cake release easily. Next, add the cake mix to the mug along with 4 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Stir the mixture until it’s well combined and there are no lumps. Then, microwave on full power for 1.5 minutes.
  4. Start checking the cake at 1.5 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If you spot gooey cake residue, continue cooking in 30-second intervals until the toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Carefully remove the cake from the microwave and let it sit stand for a minute or two.
  6. Serve warm topped with your favorite frosting or ice cream.

Tips for Baking Cakes in the Microwave

Here are my top tips for making the perfect microwave cake.

Choose the Right Mug or Baking Tray

One of the most important things to keep in mind when baking a microwave cake is to make sure you’re using the right dish. You’ll want to use either a microwave-safe mug or baking tray that’s big enough to hold the batter.

Let It Sit Before Eating

Once your cake is cooked through, resist the temptation to dig in right away! Instead, let the cake sit for 1-2 minutes before serving. This allows the heat to distribute evenly throughout the cake, finishing the cooking process.

Add a Couple Tablespoons of Cocoa

As mentioned before, microwaves won’t make the top of your cake golden brown. This will make some cakes such as vanilla look a bit dull. To remedy this, try adding a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder or freshly brewed coffee to your cake batter. This will deepen the color and make the appearance more appetizing.

Frosting and Decorating Your Cake

After your cake is cooked and cooled, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Follow these tips to make the perfect decorated cake.

Ditch the Plain Frosting

One of the reasons why microwave cakes can look so unappetizing is because they’re often topped with plain, white frosting. While there’s nothing wrong with plain frosting, it can be a bit boring.

If you want to fancy up your microwave cake, ditch the plain frosting and try something a little more exciting. Chocolate ganache, peanut butter cream cheese frosting, or salted caramel Frosting are all great options that will take your mug cake to the next level.

Get Creative with Sprinkles

After you’ve decided on a flavor of frosting, it’s time to get creative with sprinkles! Whether you go for classic chocolate sprinkles, nonpareils, or even edible glitter, sprinkles are a great way to add a pop of color and personality to your mug cake. And since they come in such a wide variety of colors and sizes, the possibilities are endless!

Top it off with a Cherry… or Two!

No mug cake is complete without a cherry—or two—on top! Not only do cherries add a touch of sweetness to your mug cake, but they also make it look more appetizing. If you really want to step up your game, try using chocolate-covered cherries or maraschino cherries with stems for an elegant finish.

How to Store Microwave Cake

When it comes to storing your microwave cake, the first thing you’ll need to remember is that refrigerator is not your friend. Most cakes, frosted or unfrosted, are best stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

If you need to store your cake for longer than that, you can freeze it unfrosted for up to 2 months. Simply put the cake in a freezer-safe container and wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap.

For thawing, remove the cake from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Once it’s thawed, you may notice that the frosting is a bit runny. This is expected and perfectly normal. It won’t affect the flavor of your cake, so don’t worry!

What to Serve with Microwave Cake – 5 Best Side Dishes

While microwave cake is delicious on its own, it’s often even better when paired with the right side dish. Here are five of the best side dishes to serve with your cake.

1. Milky Coffee – A must-have for any true coffee lover, a rich and creamy cup of coffee is the perfect way to offset the sweetness of the cake. Plus, the caffeine will help you power through that sugar high!

2. Fruit Salad – A healthy option that’s also refreshing and light, fruit salad is a great way to round out a dessert-heavy meal. It’s the perfect way to get your daily dose of vitamins… plus, who doesn’t love fruit?

3. Iced Americano – A refreshing alternative to coffee, an iced Americano is perfect for those who want to enjoy their cake sans caffeine buzz. Plus, the ice cubes will help keep your slice of cake nice and cool.

4. Fresh Orange Juice – A classic beverage that pairs well with just about anything, fresh orange juice is a great choice for those who want something fruity without going full-on salad. And it’s an excellent source of vitamin C!

5. Green Tea – For those who want something a little different, green tea is a fantastic option. It’s not too sweet, and its slight bitterness helps to balance out the sweetness of the cake. Plus, it has antioxidants!

Final Thought

So, there you have it! You can bake a cake in the microwave without convection. It might not be as perfect as one baked in a convection oven, but it’ll still taste delicious. And if you’re short on time or just want a single serving, mug cakes are the way to go. Even if you want to bake a whole cake, you can still do it in the microwave.

Give it a try and see for yourself!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!