Mug cakes are a lot of fun to make because they allow you to bake up a cake in less than five minutes, start to finish. I tend to experiment with flavors in mug cakes even more than traditional cakes because I know that I’m not sacrificing a lot of time or ingredients if a flavor combination doesn’t turn out to have the “wow” factor that I’m looking for. This Earl Grey and Lemon Mug Cake is a flavor combination that really worked, as I happen to be a fan of classic Earl Grey tea. And what could be a better way to serve a tea cake than to bake it right in a tea cup!
This cake uses Earl Grey tea to infuse the cake with surprisingly complex layers of flavor and really sets the cake apart from the usual spice cake or chocolate cake. The whole tea blend is used, not brewed tea, in this case. The whole tea leaves – yes, that means you should cut open a tea bag or use loose-leaf tea – add a lot more flavor than a few teaspoons of brewed tea would add, and they give a nice look to the finished cake! I also used fresh lemon zest in the cake to give it a bit of color and add a little brightness to each bite. Earl Grey has an orange note to it from the Bergamot oranges used to make it, so orange zest would be a great substitution for the lemon juice if you want to try it with different types of citrus.
The cakes have a wonderfully fluffy texture, like a good sponge cake. They aren’t quite as moist as an oven-baked cake would be, but they are meant to be eaten warm when they first come out of the microwave, so you won’t really notice this much as you eat. The cakes can be served as-is, along side a cup of coffee or tea, or they can be topped off with a little bit of whipped cream or ice cream to add some extra richness to each serving. I have been known to make these for breakfast – they are the perfect quick-fix tea cake for two – so I typically eat them plain.
Earl Grey and Lemon Mug Cake
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp Earl Grey tea (whole tea leaves)
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
In a medium-sized micowave-safe bowl, combine butter, lemon zest and tea. Cook for 45-60 seconds on high heat, until butter is melted. Allow mixture to cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, egg, vanilla extract, milk and lemon juice.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add in to wet ingredients and whisk until batter is well-combined. Divide evenly into two 10-oz coffee mugs.
Microwave on medium for 60 seconds, then stir the batter with a fork. Microwave on high for an additional 90-120 seconds, until cake is firm and set.
Allow to cool for about a minute, then serve as-is or topped with ice cream.