Let’s talk about one of my FAVORITE ways to combat the late night snackies.
Mug cakes are categorically something that tastes like a treat, but actually provides you with a ton of slow digesting protein to keep you anabolic throughout the evening.
Opting for high protein, higher fat snacks at night help you to not accidentally overeat since they assist so much with satiety!
There are a TON of mug cake recipes online, but I’m going to share what I have found to be by far the easiest method of making them! Save the main graphic on this post for easy future reference!
(All other graphics are examples of my favorite mug cake mixes- read further to see how I use them!)
Let’s talk about protein powder choice- if you have made a mug cake before, you have probably been subjected to a dry, gummy outcome. Why is this?
Think about an egg white- what happens when it is exposed to high heat? It congeals! Leave it in the heat too long and it gets crispy, dry and flakey instead of fluffy and delicious.
The exact same thing is true with protein.
You’ll notice that in the cooking instructions I have you baking the cake at a LOW power. However, the protein powder you start out with plays the biggest role in ensuring a delicious outcome!
You want to use Level 1 or Vegan Power Pro powder, hands down. Why?
Most meal replacement protein powders are cheap because they are dried quickly at high heat. This coagulates the protein molecules before they even hit your stomach acid. Level 1 and Vegan Power pro are both dried at LOW temperatures, preserving their quality and making sure you are not flushing your dollars (literally) down the toilet.
As another example, think about cooking a chicken breast in a crock pot vs in a pan at max heat. Which one cooks faster? The chicken in the pan of course. But what will that chicken be covered in? A layer of char. That char is immediately recognized by your body as waste product and flushed out. It is not converted into muscle tissue or used for blood sugar stabilization or hormone regulation.
The exact same is true with heat processed protein. 40-50% of the gross volume of the product will be recognized by your body as waste and flushed out. Because of this, the product is also highly inflammatory, leading to gas, bloating, acid reflux and often the impression that one might be intolerant to whey protein. However, that is rarely the case- most often it is simply an intolerance to poor quality protein.
So how does this translate to mug cakes?
Think back to overcooked eggs: would you use those in a cake? Of course not!! You’d want fresh, fully functional eggs! The same is true here- you want to start with low temp processed protein, and then also cook at a lower temp for longer, if you want a fluffy, rich, delicious cake-like outcome!
So what do we mix the protein with?
Personally, it is SO MUCH EASIER to just use a cake mix than to measure out 9-10 cake ingredients! It’s also SO much simpler to simply scan a bar code to log rather than having to create a recipe or log a bunch of different things!
My favorites are keto mixes, NOT because I’m keto, but because the higher fat content also helps to keep your cake moist, it promotes satiety AND you won’t wind up with a sugar high right before bed.
Additionally, most of these mixes are higher quality and contain minimal chemical flavorings/colorings/crappy oils, so low on the inflammation scale!
(As a reminder, minimizing inflammation also minimizes weight gain, puffiness, poor skin health, joint deterioration and spikes in stress, anxiety and depression. ANOTHER reason I recommend Level 1 and Vegan Power Pro over other protein types. You get what you pay for in SO MANY ways.)
All of the mixes shown I grabbed on Amazon!
For liquid, use any milk of your choice! Personally I prefer Fairlife 2%, but any works, even non-dairy!
My one caution is to make sure that you aren’t using something like Almond milk with added sugar, and I also generally recommend staying away from soy milk, as it can also be highly inflammatory.
Soy is already present in so many of our products, and there are so many other options for non-dairy beverages, that I would put it at the bottom of your list of options.
Cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, rice milk etc are ALL better options. (Nut based milks are going to be naturally lower in sugar, however).
Let’s talk toppings and fun add ins!!
Personally I love to top mine with whipped cream (there really is no added benefit to “sugar free” whip- the sugar content is hardly substantial.
Trader Joe’s has a phenomenal coconut based whipped cream if you need a non-dairy option! I am sure other stores carry similar products (most likely health based or luxury grocery stores like Sprouts, Wegmans or Whole Foods) but I don’t know of any specific brands personally.
I also love throwing a handful of low sugar chocolate, butterscotch or white chocolate chips into the mix! There are PLENTY of options that are naturally sweetened and still low sugar. Do make sure you weigh these if you are tracking macros!
If you’re behind on macros, I recommend chopping up a Level 1 bar or Power Pro bar (the fudgey dark chocolate one is my favorite ever) and mixing in for an additional boost of healthy calories and protein!)
There are endless flavor combinations you can make! From banana cake with caramel topping, to classic fudge brownie, birthday cake, apple pie (mix in no sugar added apple pie filling), blueberry muffin (use blueberry muffin level 1!), cookies and cream, you name it!
If you are a sweet tooth person, these will save your macros and progress like crazy- enjoy!!