3-2-1 Sponge Cake (Single serve microwave sponge cake)

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3-2-1 Microwave Sponge Cake

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about this “3-2-1 cake” online…  It’s supposed to be a really easy single serving cake to make in the microwave using a rice bowl or a mug (which is great if you don’t want to have an entire whole cake lingering around your kitchen).  **Cough** …portion control… **Cough** (You know what I mean…)  The “3″ stands for 3 T. of the cake mix, “2″ stands for 2 T. of water, and “1″ stands for 1 minute in the microwave – an easy formula to remember!

The taste and texture of this cake is very similar to a Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake – you know, the kind they serve in dim sum restaurants?  (One of my favorites!)  You can also vary the flavor by substituting any flavor cake mix for the Yellow Cake mix.  Chocolate, Strawberry, Lemon… whatever you like.  Just make sure that you always mix it with the Angel Food Cake Mix – that’s the part that gives the sponge texture to the cake.

I think this is going to be a great recipe to use for gifts – for baby/bridal showers, Christmas gifts… you can easily package the cake mix in cute little mason jars and attach a label with instructions.  You could even buy inexpensive rice bowls, put a plastic pouch of the cake mix inside, then wrap up with cellophane and a ribbon…

This recipe makes 28 individual servings, 133 calories per serving.  Not bad!

3-2-1 Sponge Cake Mix:

  • 1 box Angel Food Cake mix
  • 1 box Yellow Cake mix


3-2-1 Sponge Cake :

  • 3 T.   3-2-1 sponge cake mix
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 rice bowl or mug

1.  In a gallon sized zip-lock bag, empty the egg white packet and cake flour packet from the angel food cake mix.  Then, empty the flavored cake mix.  Seal the bag, and shake to mix completely.  You can now store this mix in your pantry in the sealed zip-lock bag.  (Write the directions for one serving directly on the bag using a sharpie marker.)

2.  To make one serving of cake:  Put 3 T. of the “3-2-1 sponge cake mix” into a rice bowl or mug.

3.  Add 2 T. water, then mix.

4.  Microwave for about 50 seconds to 1 minute.  (In my microwave, this cake is done perfectly at 50 seconds.)

5.   Eat the cake right out of the bowl, or invert it onto a plate for a more elegant presentation.  You can garnish with fruit, nuts, whipped cream – whatever you like!  Enjoy your single serving of cake, only 133 calories!


  1. Petalbelles says:

    I just tried this and it’s delicious! It turned out exactly like it did in your picture. One of the best things is how quick it baked in the microwave oven. Definitely play with the length of time. 50 seconds was just right for my microwave. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I tried another on line recipe for chocolate mug cake, one that’s from scratch (no cake mix) and it was a terrible, rubbery mess. Just awful. I was suspicious about another mug cake recipe but your step by step pics won me over. By the way, I poured a little half and half on top when it came out and it was just like hot, steamed vanilla pudding cake. Thanks again, Mika!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Yay! I’m so glad it worked for you!!! I think we must have tried the same “chocolate mug cake”…. I tried that one too and it ended up overflowing out of the mug, and was an awful rubbery mess to clean up. I was skeptical about this 3-2-1 cake everyone was talking about… but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not quite a “butter cake” type of cake, but very sponge cake like – which I love. I’ll have to try the half and half over the top next time and see what that tastes like – sounds good!

  2. Rina says:

    Can this be done using any type of angel food cake mix? I would love to try this for Mother’s Day.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Rina, yes I think you can use any brand of angel food cake mix. But make sure you include the egg white packet (sometimes it’s a separate packet within the angel cake mix). Let me know how it turns out! :)

      • Judy says:

        I just tried this with chocolate cake and added a little more coco to give it more chocolate taste, but I used the angle food all in one cake mix, nothing separated for the egg whites, it was great. Now experimenting, adding nuts and different things to each cup. I am just using a coffee mug and works great at 50 seconds in 1100 watt oven.

        • Mika Mika says:

          Sounds delicious! :)

  3. Joyce says:

    Hi Mika, I really want to try this recipe but I can’t find “organic” angel food cake mix. Would you happen to know if there’s a substitute for the angel food cake mix? Thanks!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi Joyce – I’m not aware of any organic angel cake mixes either. :( The reason why this recipe uses regular cake mix (and regular angel food cake mix) is for convenience of storage – being able to keep the mix for awhile, using only one portion at a time. If it’s important to you to have organic mix only, you could try creating your own homemade version of angel food cake mix and look for organic egg white (meringue) powder, organic sugar, and organic flour. I wish there was an easy substitute, but I don’t know of one.
      But for starters, you might experiment with:
      1 cup cake flour
      1 1/2 cups white sugar
      8 T. egg white/meringue powder
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      I’m not sure if it will work – but if you feel like experimenting, let me know how it turns out.

  4. Susan says:

    My mom loves mushi-pan. Do you think this recipe would work to satisfy her cravings? Thanks!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Maybe? It’s a simplistic version… but might be similar, although not exact.

  5. Patti says:

    Thank you for clarifying in YOUR recipe about the two packets that come in some angel food mixes!! So many recipes don’t specify, and some mixes are only one packet, not two… I was soooooo confused! Thank you!

    • Mika Mika says:

      You’re welcome! ;)

  6. Isabel says:

    OMG!!!! i was so skeptical when i saw this recipe…i read many many microwavable cakes before and people were commenting how good they turned out which convinced me to try it but no luck…i tried this one and finally a real microwaveable cake!! Thanks a lot Mika! I also tried the chinese birthday cake and turned out exactly as the pictures! I wonder if you have any recipe for chinese steamed cake…no matter what i do with the eggs i can’t get the cake to raise :(

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there! I’m glad you like the recipe. :) Chinese steamed cake is one of my favorite dim sum recipes… I’m working on it, but I haven’t figured it out yet. Soon… I hope!

  7. Monica says:

    I have been making these for the past year whenever I need a little sweet something :-) . Wonder how many weight watcher points it is…..

  8. Emma pate says:

    My Grandma makes these ALL the time

  9. Rene says:

    Hi Mika!
    I love your recipes! I have 2 questions about this 3-2-1 sponge cake:
    1) Have you tried adding fresh fruit (like mango), red bean paste, or flavorings (like almond extract, or matcha powder) to this 3-2-1 sponge cake recipe? I love how simple it is, and wonder if it can be a base for an assortment of different sponge cakes.
    2) Have you tried making a larger portion of the cake or microwaving several bowls together? I’m wondering if there is an efficient way of making 4 portions.
    Thanks so much!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there! No, I haven’t tried adding other flavors or fruit… but I don’t see why you can’t? Actually I think that’s a very good idea! No, I’ve never tried microwaving a larger portion… but you could certainly try it. If you do, let me know how it turns out!

      • Rene says:

        Thank you Mika! I’ll let you know if I try variations on the 3-2-1 sponge cake! BTW, I made your pumpkin spice pecan recipe with walnuts, and they are delicious! Thank you!

        • Mika Mika says:

          Let me know how it turns out! :) Glad you liked the pecans… they are addictive!