Citrus-Bay Laurel Mug Cake


Those of you who are new to baking (and new to me) may find it a bit odd to see herbs in desserts.  But those who know me know will recognize my MO.  My pastry friends and I started doing this in the 80’s—in San Francisco, when California Cuisine was hitting its stride.

But, as is the case with my clothes and music collection, I find it hard to let go of culinary styles.

The thing is, you shouldn’t find it odd.  Herbs are a natural partner to fruits.  Aromatic oils from leaves run the gamut from sweet to and floral to piney, all of which taste great with tomatoes (a fruit that is sweet), carrots (a vegetable that is super-sweet), and onions (also super sweet, especially when caramelized, as happens in the sauté pan).  Citrus has long been a savory ingredient (lemon with fish, crammed up a chicken, or zested into gremolata). And fruit has been a friend to meat since there was fire—and modern cooks can’t resist rolling a pork loin around wintery-sweet dried fruits) .

So, you see, it was inevitable that we would start using a formerly “savory” ingredient with peaches and berries.  Its what all the cool kids are doing nowadays.

This recipe is from my Mug Cake book, and while it is mug ready, you can also make it in a large batch (start with x4) and bake it in a conventional oven.


1 large egg

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ teaspoon pulverized bay leaves

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1tablespoon orange juice

1tablespoon lime juice

1tablespoon milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour*

Pinch of kosher salt

¼ cup citrus supremes



1.  In a large mug, whisk together the egg, oil, and bay with a fork.  Stir in the zest, juices, milk, and sugar.  Add the flour and salt.  Beat the batter until smooth, then fold in supremes.

2.  Divide the batter between two mugs, and microwave then separately for 1 ½-2 ½  minutes each, until risen and firm.

To finish, top with whipped cream, lemon curd (or a 50-50 blend of both), powdered sugar, or candied citrus peel.  (a recipe for which can also be found in Mug Cakes).

*We use self-rising flour in Mug Cakes because it is easier, and Easy is a Mug Cakes middle name.  But…


Make your own mixture, and keep it on hand for mug cakes at a moments notice.


1 cup all purpose flour

¾ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of kosher salt



Whisk together with a fork and store in a dry, airtight container.  Measure out from this batch for individual Mug Cakes.

(You can double, triple, or quadruple this if you feel a lot of Mug Cakes are in your future.  Or…go to the store for self-rising flour.)


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