This single-serving vegan pumpkin mug cake is ready in less than 5 minutes using classic pumpkin loaf ingredients and a microwave. It's perfect for when you're craving an easy & warming fall treat!
What's better than a pumpkin dessert that's ready in less than 5 minutes? I can't think of much! As much as I love making a batch of vegan pumpkin muffins or an entire gingerbread loaf, sometimes a quick mug cake is the way to go.
This mug cake is egg-free as is, so it's easy to make vegan by using non-dairy milk. It's lightly sweetened, pumpkin-spiced, and made with baking staples.
I think I tested this recipe at least 10 times to make it just right (good thing mug cakes don't require many ingredients!). The result is a fluffy and tender mug cake that's the perfect addition to chilly fall mornings alongside a cup of coffee or tea.
- Simple ingredients: This pumpkin mug cake uses all of the same ingredients as a traditional pumpkin loaf without tearing up the kitchen to make an entire batch of pumpkin bread.
- Soft and fluffy texture just like pumpkin muffins or bread. This guide includes a handful of tips to make sure you get the best texture and not a rubbery mug cake!
- This is a great option when you don't have time to make decadent desserts like pumpkin cinnamon rolls. But don't mistake this for a healthy recipe, we're still using sugar and all the good stuff.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Pumpkin puree: Not to be confused with canned "pumpkin pie filling". Pro tip: freeze leftover pumpkin puree in a closed container for up to 3 months (or use it in this pumpkin smoothie!). Let thaw overnight in the fridge when ready to use.
- Neutral oil: Canola oil is my go-to, but vegetable oil or avocado oil also work. If using olive oil I recommend a light flavor so that it doesn't overpower the mug cake.
- Milk: Any kind works, but I usually use unsweetened/unflavored soy milk. Water does work in a pinch.
- White sugar (granulated sugar): Choose organic sugar to make vegan.
- Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon give the classic warming pumpkin pie flavors. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, here is how to make your own at home.
Tips for the best mug cake
- I recommend mixing all ingredients in a small bowl before transferring to the mug. It's one extra dish but it is more fool-proof than mixing in a mug, where dry ingredients can get stuck in corners/edges.
- How to tell it's ready: You can tell that the mug cake is ready if the top is slightly tacky to tuch but not wet. The cake will also be pulling away from the edges. You can also use a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake. The toothpick should have only a couple of small crumbs when removed.
- Cook time: Microwave cook times vary, so start out by cooking for just 1 minute. Add an extra 15 seconds at a time as needed.
- Microwave power: Cook on high power in the microwave. If you can't cook on high power, cook for 15-30 seconds longer.
- Let it rest: The pumpkin mug cake is still cooking when you remove it from the oven so let it rest at least a minute before digging in. It's better to undercook than overcook, as the mug cake can turn rubbery and dry.
- Add-ins: You can fold in toasted pecans or walnuts, chocolate chips, or dry fruit to the batter or sprinkle it on top before microwaving. I recommend adding no more than 2 tablespoons per mug cake.
- Toppings: I like to serve my mug cake with whipped cream and a few chocolate chips on top. An extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top is a nice touch as well.
- Gluten-free flour: I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour. I do think gluten-free all-purpose flour blend would work. I don't recommend using almond flour or oat flour.
- Pumpkin spiced milk: Trader Joe's carries pumpkin-spiced milk in the fall which is perfect in pumpkin desserts in place of milk. If you already have some on hand, I can't recommend trying it enough!
Type of mug to use
- Size: I recommend using a small to medium mug that isn't too narrow. The mug in the photos is 12 ounces and is a little wider at the top than the bottom.
- I don't recommend using very wide latte mugs.
- Classic coffee mugs work best. Think a traditional diner mug that has a uniform shape throughout.
- Material: Most importantly, the mug should be microwave-safe. Ceramic works best.
More fall favorites
Wondering what to do with the leftover can of pumpkin? Fall recipes like this pumpkin pie dip are the perfect way to use it up:
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Pumpkin Mug Cake (Vegan)
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white sugar plus more for topping
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- pinch table salt
- 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk any kind works
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream and ground cinnamon for serving
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and pinch of salt. Whisk in the milk, pumpkin puree, oil and vanilla. Stir until just combined, careful to not overmix.
- Pour the batter into a 12 ounce microwave-safe coffee mug. Sprinkle a pinch or two of sugar on top if desired.
- Microwave on high power for 1 minute. Check for doneness. It should be dry but lightly tacky on top. Continue microwave in 15 second intervals as needed.
- Let rest for one minute before serving. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!
- I recommend using a small to medium coffee mug that isn't too narrow. The mug in the photos is 12 ounces and is a little wider at the top than the bottom. I don't recommend using very wide latte mugs.
- Microwave cook times can vary, so start out by cooking for 1 and ½ minutes. Add an extra 15 seconds at a time as needed.
- Add-ins: You can fold in toasted pecans or walnuts, chocolate chips or dry fruit to the batter or sprinkle it on top before microwaving.
- Make it vegan by using soy or almond milk and dairy-free whipped cream.