This delicious Tahini Chocolate Keto Mug Cake is not only low carb, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and low FODMAP, but it’s legit ready and in your face in under 5 minutes. Delicious, keto-friendly cake that’s ready in 5 minutes? Let’s do this. PS, I have had readers adapt to be nut-free, along with egg-free, scroll down for options.
Let me start by being very clear, this Tahini Chocolate Keto Mug Cake is dangerous. No, it’s not that it’s “bad” for you, on the contrary, but what is dangerous is just how simple it is to make this keto mug cake. Cake in about 5 minutes? Yeh, that’s information I am not sure I am ready to have.
Seriously though, this simple keto mug cake is quick to toss together and into the microwave. YES, you heard me right, the microwave! The 1990s hottest kitchen gadget. No, I generally don’t cook with my microwave. No, I don’t think it’s the best option. Yes, I have heard about the potential dangers for exposure to microwaves, but ya’ll relax, we aren’t having mug cakes daily, in fact I am not even implying you should have them weekly. It’s a treat. It’s special and the once or twice a month you use your microwave, it’ll be fine. Promise. UPDATE: I have now included oven options for those of you that don’t have a microwave, don’t want to use one or don’t mind waiting more like 20 minutes for cake.
I would like to be clear, I really don’t love all the non-caloric sweeteners prevalent in most keto recipes. Keto or not, I don’t really feel that non-nutritive sweeteners have a place in a real food diet, especially in abundance. They are highly processed, many can still impact on insulin and wreak havoc on the gut microbiome. Once in a while, a little bit of stevia in a coffee instead of sugar, a little monkfruit in a treat, probably OK, sure. But cups and cups of this stuff, day in and day out, I just don’t think this is a good idea.
For me, sugar alcohols (polyols) like Xylitol and Erythritol, along inulin-based sweeteners are absolute murder on my gut (I am working on a post as we speak about the potential harms of non-caloric sweeteners to explain why this is). I will use a little stevia now and again, a little monkfruit here and there. But, considering I am not consuming sweet stuff on the daily, when I have a sweet, it’s an occasional treat, so I generally opt for a small amount of real food sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, dates, coconut sugar, in amounts that I know will work for me, that won’t spike my blood sugar or cause cravings.
I would suggest if you are very new to keto or transitioning to a low carb or fat fueled lifestyle, especially if you are coming from a more standard American diet, eating lots of sugar and carbs, or possibly being diagnosed with a metabolic condition such as diabetes – some, natural non-caloric sweeteners may be a good option during the transitioning stages. If it’s a tool to reset your palate and taper you down and work to fight an addiction or strong cravings, then I think it can work for a temporary option or for use in small amounts. But even better yet, would be to avoid the sugar alternatives altogether and give your palate the opportunity to reset entirely and find a new way. But no one really wants to hear that kind of crazy talk on a post about cake that you can make in about 5 minutes.
If you are deeper into keto or living that fat-fueled life for sometime now, I will share that little maple syrup or coconut sugar will for the most part, not make or break you, it won’t cause sugar cravings or a blood sugar explosion and it will likely not kick your body out of a fat burning or ketogenic state. These are the benefits of metabolic flexibility. More on that below.
Sweetening this Tahini Chocolate Keto Mug Cake
since sweetness levels and sweetener preferences vary by the person. I tested this keto mug cake recipe several different ways and I am offering you lots of options below.
Granulated Sugar Options – Up to 1 tablespoon. Options include coconut sugar, date sugar, if you do the non-caloric sweeteners, those will likely work, too. I tested granulated monkfruit and coconut sugar, but no others. I also made a batch with a small amount of powdered stevia (1/2 small packet) mixed with 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar to offset the stevia. I also tested with just the coconut sugar and one with just the powdered stevia (1 whole packet). I used as little as 1 teaspoon and as much as 1 tablespoon total, it’s a really forgiving recipe, at least in my experiences. With the granulated sugars vs a liquid sweetener (instructions below), the cake is a little bit less moist, but still VERY delicious. If you are using granulated sweetener, I do suggest you consider adding 1 teaspoon of water to increase the moistness of the cake.
Liquid Sweeteners: Up to 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey or other non-caloric liquid sweeteners. Honestly 2 teaspoons of quality, organic real maple syrup is my personal go-to for this recipe. It provides the best results and flavor, in my opinion. You could also try other liquid syrup sweeteners, like liquid monkfruit or stevia, etc. You can also go with a few drops of liquid stevia (though you may want to consider adding an additional 1 teaspoon of water). For what it’s worth, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup comes out to just about 6-8 carbohydrates for the entire serving of cake. Not a keto deal-breaker, if you ask me. Ya’ll, a little reminder, this mug cake isn’t an every day food.
Wait – is maple syrup keto?
Alright let’s stop for a moment here. This is a great time to tell you that a food, sweetener or not, cannot inherently be keto or not keto. Ketosis is a metabolic state in the body, where ketones and fat are being utilized as the main source of fuel. Depending on your body, where you are at in your journey and what your goals are, foods that are traditionally labeled by some as foods not “allowed” on a keto diet, like maple syrup, honey, something starchy, etc – can absolutely be a keto-friendly food, if you can eat them in small amounts are able to maintain your keto or fat fueled metabolic state and still meet your health goals. So yes, technically maple syrup can be keto. :MINDBLOWN:
For me, I would honestly much prefer a small amount of a real food sweetener like maple syrup, now and again, in the occasional dessert that I am enjoying vs some lab created frankenfood non-nutritive sweetener. I am able to enjoy it, I don’t need much because my tolerance and taste for sweets has changed drastically after 2 years of eating keto and I continue moving forward, no cravings, no crashes, business as usual. Beyond that, foods like maple syrup actually offer some benefits in their own right as compared to a non-nutritive sweetener, maple syrup contains calcium, zinc, manganese and riboflavin (B2) and while I am not suggesting you take shots of maple syrup daily to get these nutrients, I think it’s important to remember that we can actually get quality nutrients from this food, proving that it’s a true, real whole food, which for me is always top of the list of importance for recognizing the types of foods I want to be consuming.
Play around with additional flavors, add ground cinnamon, cardamom or maybe a little orange zest. You can make this cake in a mug or in a ramekin, but if you are serving to guests, my advice is to avoid a gigantic mug, it will make the cake look puny. These photos are shot in 8 ounce ramekins, I used these gorgeous Petite Heart Cocotte in Hibiscus from Le Creuset. An 8 – 12 ounce mug will work perfectly. For cook time, make sure you start at around 45 to 50 seconds of cook time and go from there. Microwave cook times vary wildly and you may need up to 2 minutes.
Looking for more delicious chocolate treats, try my Keto Chocolate Muffins or my Keto Chocolate Avocado Pudding. If you are feeling like you want a more epic chocolate cake and you have a little time, try my amazing Paleo Chocolate Cake. If you want more of that delicious tahini chocolate vibes, you NEED this Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge or make my Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups and swap in tahini instead. If you are feelin’ those brownie vibes, my Grain-free Boosted Brownies are another great option. Don’t forget, when you serve up your mug cake add a dollop of whipped coconut cream.
NUT-FREE AND EGG-FREE/VEGAN OPTIONS: Since posting, I have had readers share that they successfully swapped cassava flour for the almond flour, making this nut-free. And several folks reported swapping in a flax seed egg for the egg with great results. Thank you everyone for sharing.
- 2 tablespoons blanched almond flour
- 1½ tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon - 2 tablespoons granulated sweetener + 1 teaspoon water or up to 2 teaspoons liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey (please see above notes on sweeteners)
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon tahini (or other nut butter)
- 1 large pasture-raised egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 tablespoon 85%-100% dark chocolate chunks or dark chocolate chips
- Additional chocolate chips or chunks
- Tahini to drizzle
- Flaked sea salt
- Fresh raspberries or other berries
- Fresh mint
- Coconut whipped cream
- In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the almond flour, cacao, baking powder and sea salt. Add the egg, tahini, olive oil, sweetener of your choice and chocolate chunks, if adding. Whisk again until very well combined. Really get into the bottom and make sure all the dry mixes into the wet.
- Pour the batter into your mug (an 8-12 ounce mug will work perfectly) and microwave for 1 minute, or until the cake is cooked through. (the time can vary based on the microwave, you may need up to 2 minutes)
- OVEN OPTION: preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pour the batter into an oven-proof mug or ramekin and bake at 350º for 18 to 20 minutes (I suggest you start checking it at 15 minutes, however since all ovens are different). Carefully remove.
- Let your cake cool a minute or so. It will be very hot.
- Enjoy with an extra drizzle of tahini, a little extra chocolate, flaked sea salt, fresh berries, coconut cream or just plain.
You can mix together the ingredients right in the mug, if you'd like. I just find it's messier for the final presentation and pouring the finished batter in is much easier.
For low FODMAP - be sure to choose a low FODMAP sweetener.
These look yummy! What volume mug do you recommend? Where did you get your heart shaped ramekins? Thank you!
Hi Vicki – WOAH literally while you were on this page, I was updating the volume of the mug and adding a link to the ramekins I used, as someone else asked me on Instagram too. So it’s all there now. But these are 8 ounce ramekins, an 8 to 12 ounce mug will work great.
Beth, this sounds delicious….I started making it a bit ago and in the instructions, it says to whisk together the flour, cocao, baking soda, and sea salt, but there is no quantity of sea salt listed in the ingredients. How much salt do you use? I am going to go ahead and make it, will use about 1/8 tsp and see if that is enough, but would like to know how much you used. Thank you!
Just made this using 1/8 tsp salt in the batter and also put some Sea Salt crystals on top right after it was done and still piping hot. It was fabulous! Mine came out a bit cakey in texture, so I’ll probably add more liquid or oil next time to give it a fudgier consistency or microwave it just under a minute, but the taste was terrific!
Hey Beth, do you think it would work well with coconut flour instead of almond?
Hi Ashley, definitely not in a 1 to 1 swap. Coconut flour and almond flour behave very differently, coconut flour is highly absorbent, has more fat and less protein, so you always need far less. I haven’t tested this recipe with anything other than almond flour, so that’s all I can offer, at this point 😉
Hi Beth, just wondering what you think about pure monk fruit powder – I would generally use 1/2 teaspoon of it in a large cake or muffin recipe?
Do you think this would work with a flax/chia egg instead of a real egg?
Thank you so much for sharing recipes.Great blog!!!