How to Make a 5-Ingredient Chocolate Cake in the Microwave

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

One of the best parts about working from home is when I get designated to try out the latest recipe hack trending online. It's even better when the recipes are as delicious as they look, like this 3-ingredient crème brûlée.

One of my coworkers made a recipe from a YouTube video (with more than 15 million views and counting!) that sounded too good to be true. It's a chocolate cake that 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. So 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-Ingredient Chocolate Cake in 5 Minutes

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 ($10, Target), 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 ($6, Target) that did the trick.


  • 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


  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 ($11, Bed Bath and Beyond).
  5. Pour into your prepared dish and microwave for 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cooking time will vary depending on your microwave and the size and material of your container, so start with 3 minutes. If the cake is still runny in the middle (give it a little shake), add another minute or two if needed. The YouTuber recommends not refrigerating your 5 ingredient chocolate cake, which I assume is because it may dry out faster. So plan on consuming it asap.

Allow your 5 ingredient chocolate cake to cool 5 minutes before turning it out onto a plate or cutting board. Our other BH&G editor and I found this cake slightly 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 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 is a little denser in texture than your average baked chocolate cake.

This 5 ingredient chocolate cake is 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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