When I woke up this morning, something in me just craved comforting food. Maybe it’s the grey skies. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s getting cooler. Maybe it was the cookie butter that arrived in the mail.

I know that mug cakes are a bit outdated, but damn if something in me doesn’t just love ’em. They’re a great option that I can healthify if I need something sweet in the afternoon, and they’re always there if I underestimate how much dessert I should make for the week — meal prep is on Sundays, and while I almost have it down to a science, sometimes I’m a bit off…or sometimes, the husband (lean as he is, lucky guy) sneaks a second helping.

Most mug cakes, though, really aren’t healthy, especially because the best ones usually use some form of fat to help keep the cake moist. I’m definitely not fat-phobic; a certain amount of healthy fats are good for you! But it really ups the amount of calories in a single serving. For those of us watching our waistlines, there are ways to make sure we end up with that same gooey treat…just a bit better for us.

So I found a recipe on Pumpkin ‘N Spice for a cookie butter mug cake. At first glance, there are 4 culprits that raise the calorie count (and unhealthiness, in some ways) for this little treat:

  • Flour
  • Oil
  • Egg
  • Sugar
  • Milk

The small amounts of these things really aren’t bad in moderation, but this little treat tops 400 calories just by itself, and adding sugar on top of this recipe really would send most people down Sugar High Lane.

Well, I managed to healthify this recipe by swapping a few ingredients:

  • Replace the egg with a flax egg
  • Replace the flour with cocoa powder (ooh, chocolate)
  • Replace the oil with applesauce (or, if you like, pumpkin puree — NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • Replace the sugar with erythritol
  • Replace the milk with water

This recipe goes from a hefty 400+ calories to a mere 185 calories, meaning that if you’re looking for a sweet treat to end your day, this mug cake will help satisfy that sweet tooth without breaking the calorie bank.

Note: If you were hoping for a low-sugar recipe, this mug cake unfortunately isn’t for you. (Sorry, diabetics and low-carbers!) The amount of sugar in the cookie butter alone helps contribute to a whopping 52.5 grams of sugar in the modified cake. To lower the sugar in this recipe, consider substituting a natural nut butter (one without any added sugar) to make this recipe not only vegan/vegetarian, but gluten-free and diabetic-friendly. The calorie count will jump a bit, but only slightly, and the amount of sugar will drop to a more reasonable level.

Want to know how to make this lovely little piece of gooey, chocolatey heaven? I’m sure you do.

Reduced-Sugar Cookie Butter Mug Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: 1 mug cake

Serving Size: 1

Calories per serving: 185

Fat per serving: 11.0g

Saturated fat per serving: 3.0g

Carbs per serving: 70.5g

Protein per serving: 5.8g

Fiber per serving: 9.2g

Sugar per serving: 52.2g

Sodium per serving: 198mg

The cookie butter lover's dream -- healthy, with a dollop of cookie butter.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons erythritol (or sugar, or other substitute that measures like sugar)
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cookie butter

Instructions

  1. Combine the ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water in the bottom of a mug. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. After the flax egg is made, add cocoa powder, baking powder, erythritol, salt, water, applesauce, and cinnamon in the mug. Stir to combine thoroughly (no flour, so there's no worry about over-mixing here!), then add the tablespoon of cookie butter in the middle of the batter.
  3. Microwave 2-3 minutes. I microwaved mine for 1 minute and 30 seconds, then checked it. It wasn't quite done for my taste, so I popped it in for another 30 seconds. At two minutes, it was done enough for me, but I like my mug cakes slightly underdone if I can. Start with two minutes and then add another 30-60 seconds if you want it cooked a bit more, depending on the wattage of your microwave and how done you want the mug cake to be.
  4. Let cool for a couple of minutes, then enjoy! You can run a knife around the edges of the cake and invert it onto a plate, or you can eat it straight from the mug.
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