• Sarah Hickson

Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes/Mug Cake

Chocolate Red Velvet Cup/Mug Cakes? That's right, it can be both!

Back in the summer school holidays of this year I had agreed to run cooking classes with Ruby and Ollie's All Abilities Child Care, a specialised, all inclusive childcare service, created by friend and amazing mum Rebecca Glover, which offers quality and empathetic care and education to children from pre-school to school age no matter their diagnosis or prognosis. Attending two sites in one day, with three in total, I had set myself the challenge of planning my cooking around one of the centres that included an oven, and one that only had a microwave and no stove top. An extra challenge was to keep the recipe gluten and nut free going into a child care environment, and to offer a dairy free option. As baked creations are always a big winner with children (and many of my clients - both young and a more mature), I kept thinking along the lines of making some kind of cake, researching what was possible in a microwave. Soon I discovered mug cakes, realising that "oh, it's a thing!" (perhaps my husband Gerrard and I's time going without a microwave had left me a little in the dark, although we purchased one in the past year and I am in the process of discovering its convenience and full potential).

Like any time I get caught up in a creative flow, our kitchen soon became my workshop as I "tinkered away," experimenting with different ingredients and ratios to come up a recipe that could easily be transferrable between microwave or oven, while also being wholesome and nutritious for kids, especially within the area of disability where sensory issues and food anxiety can prevail, limiting dietary choices and in turn nutrient intake. I'd run downstairs into Gerrard's home office to get him to taste each variety - microwave or baked in the oven - for his feedback. The day before I was due to run the classes I had learnt that the oven at one of the sites had become damaged following a leaking roof from heavy storms, so I was relieved that I already had something in place to overcome that problem - mug cakes for all! For these sessions, to limit the microwave time to prepare for a larger group, I lined 3 large ramekins with baking paper before baking and then pulling out (once cooled) to slice into quarters. At home however I simply just bake in a mug and eat with a spoon. Mmmm, so warm and satisfying!

I like being able to provide the option of "choose your own adventure" with this recipe, just like those books that you may have enjoyed reading when back when you were a kid. You can either prepare the batter, pour it all into a muffin tray and bake them all at once to enjoy as snacks throughout the week or to bake up for parties or events, or you have the option of preparing the batter, and putting it aside in the fridge to make freshly baked mug cakes on demand that taste like deliciously moist chocolate pudding after coming fresh out of the microwave, being perfect to serve up to your family or guests as a dessert!

Below includes instructions for the microwave or oven, depending on which adventure you would like to choose!!

Chocolate Red Velvet Cup or Mug Cakes

Preparation and Setting Time

Prep Approx 15-20 minutes | Oven Cooking Time 20 minutes. Microwave Cooking Time 60-90 seconds.


  • Measuring cups

  • Measuring spoons

  • Wooden spoon

  • Food processor

  • 12 cup muffin tray (if baking)

  • A microwaveable mug or more (if microwaving)

  • 1 large bowl

  • Measuring jug

  • Kitchen scales

  • 2x dessert spoons for filling the muffin trays or mugs



  • 75g buckwheat flour

  • 75g almond meal or sunflower seeds (if opting for nut free)

  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp of baking soda

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 80g of brown or rapadura or coconut sugar

  • 2 tbs of cacao powder

  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (optional)

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 free range eggs

  • 1 tbs of unsweetened coconut or plain yoghurt

  • 1 tbs of macadamia oil

  • ½ cup of raspberries

  • 1 ripe banana (equivalent to 1 cup)

  • ½ tsp of vanilla essence


  • If choosing to bake in an oven, set oven temp to 175C

  • Add all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) to food processor and blitz until well mixed

  • Remove dried mixture from the food processor and add to a large bowl

  • Add wet ingredients to the food processor and blitz until smooth

  • Pour wet ingredients into the large bowl with dry ingredients, add chocolate chips if using and stir in with the wooden spoon until well combined


Oven Option

  • If using the oven, line each muffin cup with baking paper or cupcake casings (if using a silicon tray, you can simply just grease with a little macadamia oil). Using the dessert spoons, evenly distribute the cupcake mixture across each cup. Decorate with chocolate chips and/or raspberries if desired

  • Place tray into the oven and bake for 15-20min (until cooked through)

  • Once cooked, remove tray from oven and allow to cool

Microwave Option

  • Pour batter into your favourite microwaveable mug, leaving 2cm of space from the top to allow it to expand while cooking. You can decorate with chocolate chips and/or raspberries if desired, although I would save the raspberries to add fresh at the end. Place mug into the microwave for 1 min at first to check, and then up to 30 seconds more until done. Use a tea towel or oven mitts when removing from the microwave as it will be hot! Repeat for the second mug, if making more, and so forth.

  • If you prefer not to cook the mix all at once, simply add to a jug or a container, cover and keep in the fridge to make on demand! Mixture will keep for 3-4 days.

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