With Just 5 Minutes, 5 Ingredients, and No Oven, You Can Have Homemade Chocolate Cake

No need to warm up the whole house when you can use the microwave instead!

One of the best parts about working from home for more than a month now is when I get designated to try out the latest recipe hack trending online. It's even better when the recipes turn out to be as delicious as they look, like this 3-ingredient crème brûlée I made last week. This week, one of my coworkers made a recipe from a YouTube video (with more than 3 million views and counting!) that sounded almost too good to be true: a chocolate cake that only requires five ingredients, plus some water, and is ready in five minutes. The most amazing part? It doesn't require an oven, but rather the microwave. After chatting with her and learning it "made a surprisingly legit cake for so few ingredients," and watching the video by Emma's Goodies, I decided to give it a go. Here's how it turned out and how to make it.

chocolate cake with sprinkles
Katlyn Moncada

How to Make a 5-Minute Chocolate Cake

If you've ever made chocolate mug cake, this is essentially the same idea, only it's a larger serving and doesn't require milk, butter (though it's optional), or eggs. So this is also a bonus vegan dessert! Make sure you're using a microwave-safe container, around 9- to 10-inches in size. Since I'm self-isolating at home and don't need a giant cake to myself, I decided to halve the following recipe and used a Pyrex 4-cup glass storage container ($5.99, Target) that did the trick.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup + 1 Tbsp. oil or melted butter
  • 1¾ cup + 2 Tbsp. warm water

Method

  1. Prepare your dish by lining with parchment paper, then greasing and lightly flouring the inside.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. Stir in the sugar (I used a combination of brown and white sugar for more flavor).
  4. Add the oil followed by the water and combine using a whisk.
  5. Pour into your prepared dish and microwave 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The YouTuber notes that cooking time will vary depending on your microwave and the size and material of your container, so start with 3 minutes and if the cake is still runny in the middle (give it a little shake), then add another minute or two if it needs it. She also recommends not refrigerating the cake, which I assume is because it may dry out faster. So plan on consuming it asap.

Allow your cake to cool 5 minutes before turning it out onto a plate or cutting board. Our other BH&G editor and I both found this cake to be a little lacking in flavor, so while I believe all cakes should have frosting, this one definitely needs it. For this cake, I made a classic chocolate icing that's used on a Depression-era cake recently found in the Better Homes & Gardens recipe archives. I threw some sprinkles on top for fun, so use those or go crazy with nuts and chocolate chips, if you like. The cake itself is a little denser in texture than your average baked chocolate cake, but it's definitely an easy way to get a sweet tooth fix when you're craving dessert and don't want to heat up the oven.

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