Hotel Cooking 101: Desserts

Desserts heading

Sure you can pick up a cupcake nearby but what if you have a serious craving for a homemade Rice Krispie treat or you have specific dietary restrictions and going to a bakery isn’t so easy? I tested (and I mean tested A LOT) of mug cake & desserts recipes you can make in your hotel room. Turns out that most of those recipes DON’T work or contain thousands of ingredients that don’t make it travel friendly. Here are my faves:

Rice Krispies treat

I’ve never been a fan of those packaged rice krispies treats. Just nothing compares to the homemade recipe. This recipe is so incredibly easy plus you are likely to get a single serving Rice Krispies box and pat of butter from your hotels breakfast – all you’d need is marshmallows.

Total Time:  2 minutes
Yield:  1 serving


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup marshmallows
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal


  • Microwave butter and marshmallows in a glass bowl or mug for 30 seconds. The marshmallows will start puffing up, so keep an eye on them so they don’t flow over the edge of the bowl.
  • Stir melted butter and marshmallows together until smooth. Mix in cereal until well blended.
  • Eat it warm immediately or mold it into a square and let it cool.


Classic Yellow Mug Cake

Leslie Bilderback is a genius when it comes to mug cakes. Her cookbook Mug Cakes contains tons of great recipes and they actually work. (Spoiler alert: I tested a lot of internet recipes out there which failed miserably). Here’s a basic recipe which you can use to add toppings, choose whatever icing floats you boat, etc. to satisfy your cupcake craving,

Makes 2 mug cakes


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) self-rising flour Editor’s note: or use regular flour with a dash of baking soda

Pinch of kosher salt

Topping Ideas: Chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate jimmies, or colored sugar crystals.


Place the butter in a large mug and microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds until melted. Add the egg and whisk it in with a fork. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.


Cranberry & Pistachio Bark 

This recipe is super easy and completely customizable. I followed the directions but feel free to choose your own toppings. Since melting chocolate is just as tricky in a microwave as a stove, go easy so you don’t burn it.


400g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used a cheap Hershey’s bar)
3 tbsp dried cranberries
¾ cup pistachios, shelled


  1. In a food processor or using a knife, chop pistachios into small pieces (roughly quarters). Line the base of a 30cm x 20cm (or similar) cake pan with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (ensure water is not touching the bottom of the bowl), melt the dark chocolate, stirring constantly. This can also be done in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. When chocolate is fully melted, pour into prepared pan, and use a spatula to spread across the base of the pan.
  3. Sprinkle chopped pistachios and dried cranberries over the melted chocolate and gently press into chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When completely solid, remove from fridge and lift baking paper and chocolate out of the cake pan and set on a hard surface. Use a knife or your hands to break chocolate into rough pieces of bark. Store an airtight container in the fridge.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Lava Mug Cake 

If you’re not a PB fan, skip it and just have a chocolate lava cake instead. I used a couple squares of a Hershey bar to make this.



1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

½ ounce chunk of semisweet or milk chocolate

1 tsp creamy peanut butter

optional: scoop of vanilla ice cream



Place the butter in the mug and microwave to melt.

Add the milk, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk with a fork until batter forms.

Spread the peanut butter on the chunk of chocolate. Submerge the chocolate/peanut butter in the batter using the fork.

Microwave for one minute. Serve with ice cream and eat warm.


Gluten free Cocoa-Banana Mug Cake 

 This recipe is soooo good and it’s gluten free. Add any topping you like (I chose chocolate chips for extra chocolate-y goodness) and enjoy!


Makes 2 mug cakes


1 overripe banana

1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)

1 large egg

2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or alternative sweetener

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1⁄4 cup add-ins of your choice, including chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit


Mash the banana in a large mug with a fork. Add the nut butter and egg and mix thoroughly. Stir in the sugar and cocoa and beat until smooth. Fold in the add-ins. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.


Chocolate Chip Cookie

Cookies can be a bit tricky in a microwave – either they’re too dry or a bit cakey. This one is on the cakier side and satisfies my cookie need.



  • 1 tablespoon butter melted and cooled
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips


  • Spray the inside of a microwave safe mug with non stick spray
  • In a bowl, mix the sugars, salt, flour and chips together
  • Pour in the egg yolk, vanilla and cooled butter. Mix by hand until dough comes together

Place the cookie dough inside the mug and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minutes. Mine took 45 seconds







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