Protein Mug Cake Recipe (Sugar-Free & Gluten-Free!)

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by Sil Pancho

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12.10.2021


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For a sweet treat without any tradeoffs, this chocolate protein mug cake recipe is the perfect combo of delicious and healthy food! I’m a big fan of making sweet treats with hidden protein powder, like protein muffins, protein balls, and even protein donuts. But all of these take time, and sometimes you just want a quick fix. That’s where this protein powder mug cake comes in: It’s ready in just a few minutes and will satisfy a chocolate craving fast.

Not all protein powders for mug cake work the same for several reasons… they create differences in the final texture, they have additives that don’t make a tasty cake, and they aren’t always very clean! For a truly healthy chocolate protein mug cake, I only choose Paleovalley Bone Broth Protein powder. Unlike other brands, it comes from 100% grass-fed beef bones (not hides), uses gentle extraction for maximum benefits, and even gets tested to be free from pesticides. Plus, it has a neutral flavor so you just taste chocolate — nothing else!

What Is A Protein Mug Cake?

A protein powder mug cake contains many of the elements of traditional cake (such as sweeteners, eggs, and baking powder) and cooks them in a single serving — usually in a mug with a microwave! These cakes make the perfect healthy dessert or workout snack.

Many mug cake recipes use high-carb ingredients like maple syrup, oat flour, or banana, but this one uses other healthy swaps for minimal carbs. In addition to the protein powder, the egg and almond flour also add proteins.

Why You’ll Love This Protein Mug Cake Recipe

  • Rich chocolate flavor
  • Moist, decadent, cakey texture
  • Cooks in under 2 minutes
  • 36 grams of protein per serving (!!)
  • Naturally gluten-free and keto friendly
  • No oven needed (but there’s an oven option if you want it!)
Mug cake garnished with strawberries and whipped cream

Ingredients You’ll Need

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for easy protein mug cake, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Paleovalley Bone Broth Protein Powder – The best clean protein powder for mug cakes! It blends easily and has a neutral flavor for sweet or savory dishes. This mug cake uses 2 tablespoons, which is about one scoop, but I prefer to measure using actual measuring spoons. I don’t recommend a chocolate protein powder, as flavors vary widely, or whey protein powder, which makes for a dry cake.
  • Besti Monk Fruit Allulose Blend – The best sugar substitute for a healthier protein powder mug cake recipe! This one tastes and bakes like sugar, with no calories or added net carbs, but most importantly, it locks in moisture so the end result isn’t dry. If you want to use a different sweetener, you can check conversions in my keto sweetener guide, but know that alternatives won’t make such a moist mug cake.
  • Wholesome Yum Almond Flour – With a fine grind, this flour helps the mug cake “bake” up with a fine crumb, like a real chocolate cake. Avoid substituting with coconut flour (the cake will get far too dry) or almond meal (the texture will be coarse and gritty). For those with nut allergies, sunflower seed flour may work as a replacement.
  • Butter – I prefer grass-fed butter, but any unsalted kind works. Coconut oil or ghee will also work for dairy-free or paleo options, respectively.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use a high-quality brand if you can.
  • Cocoa Powder – Of course this adds rich chocolate flavor, but it also adds bulk. You can omit this for a vanilla protein mug cake, but you’ll want to add more almond flour to compensate. It would also be best to then add more vanilla extract and/or the seeds from a vanilla bean pod, like I do for my vanilla mug cake recipe.
  • Baking Powder – Helps the cake rise and get bubbly. Be sure it’s fresh, and use the batter right away after mixing, so that the baking powder reacts properly. Don’t use baking soda, which is not the same.
  • Egg – Use a whole, large egg. A flax egg may also work, but the texture may change slightly.
Protein powder mug cake ingredients in bowls

How To Make Mug Cake With Protein Powder

This section shows how to make cake in a mug with protein powder, including step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.

  • Prep wet ingredients. Melt butter in a mug or medium ramekin. (If you prefer, you can mix the batter in a bowl instead, then transfer to a mug or ramekin to cook.) Add vanilla extract.
Butter and vanilla in a mug
  • Add dry ingredients and egg. Stir in protein powder, sweetener, cocoa powder, almond flour, and baking powder.
  • Add the egg. Crack the egg into the mug, whisk a little, then mix with the rest of the batter. Smooth the top if needed.
Chocolate batter in a mug
  • Microwave. Cook until an inserted toothpick removes cleanly.
Finished mug cake with protein powder and chocolate chips

Topping Ideas

You don’t have to top your cake with anything, but these make delicious additions:

  • Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips – They’ll soften and get a little melty if you sprinkle them on top while the cake is fresh and hot.
  • Sugar-Free Whipped Cream – You can make it with or without sweetener.
  • Keto Caramel Sauce – Drizzle on top!
  • Fruit – Many fruits are not low carb, but choose from the list of keto fruit here. I topped my cake with fresh strawberries.
  • Nut Butter – Drizzle on some almond butter, which is already runny, or heat some peanut butter with a little coconut oil to thin it out before drizzling. Nut butter from any kind of keto nuts will work in the same way.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m answering the most common questions below, but leave me a comment if you don’t see yours listed!

Are protein mug cakes healthy?

Protein cakes can be healthy, but beware of added sugar and gluten in the ingredients list (or the protein powder itself). This mug cake is healthier than most, since it uses a clean, neutral source of protein and cuts out white flour and sugar.

How to make protein mug cake moist?

There are several ways to keep a mug cake more moist:

  • Use the right protein powder – A collagen rich protein powder with a finer grind will be less likely to dry out.
  • Add enough high-fat ingredients – Use ingredients like butter, nut flours, and egg yolks to add moisture to the cake batter.
  • Avoid overcooking the cake – The cake will easily dry out if microwaved for too long.

Why is my mug cake rubbery?

Mug cakes turn rubbery from overcooking. Start with the minimum cook time and add more time as needed to keep it from taking on a rubbery texture.

What size mug should I use?

I used an 8-ounce mug because I wanted the cake to rise over the top, but know that this does run some risk of the batter boiling over occasionally. Use at least a 12-ounce mug (which is the standard size anyway) if you don’t want to deal with this issue.

Can I make it without a microwave?

Yes! Instead of making a mug cake, pour the batter into a large ramekin and bake for 10-15 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: If you don’t finish chocolate protein mug cake in one sitting, cover and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Wrap tightly and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Cooked and garnished protein mug cake next to Paleovalley Bone Broth Protein Powder

More Healthy Protein Recipes

Add more easy grass-fed protein to your snacks and meals with these easy recipes!

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Recipe Video

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Ingredients

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Keto Sweeteners

Instructions

Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Melt the butter in a mug by heating for about 30 seconds in the microwave.

  2. Stir in the vanilla extract.

  3. Stir in Besti, protein powder, cocoa powder, almond flour, baking powder, and egg. Mix well, then smooth the top.

  4. Microwave for 60-75 seconds, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, but the cake is still moist. (Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the microwave, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F.)

  5. If desired, top with chocolate chips and sugar-free whipped cream. (If you want the chocolate chips melty, you can microwave the cake for another 5-10 seconds before adding whipped cream.)

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 mug cake

Video Showing How To Make a Protein Mug Cake:

Tap here to jump to the video for this recipe — it’s located directly above the ingredients list. It’s the easiest way to learn how to make a Protein Mug Cake!

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.

Calories 364

Fat 22.3g

Protein 36.3g

Total Carbs 7.5g

Net Carbs 3.2g

Fiber 4.3g

Sugar 0.8g

Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

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© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

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