It’s a Monday night. You lug your heavy backpack through the door, drop it on the ground, and head straight to the fridge for a much-needed snack... only to find week-old leftovers. Scrunching your nose, you continue on to your snack stash, lifting the lid as if it's a treasure chest brimming with nothing but a few stale cracker crumbs left. 

Sound familiar? Well, struggle no more. The popular cake mix brand, Duncan Hines, now offers mug cake mixes. This three-ingredient mug cake is a super easy recipe that's perfect for even the laziest culinary inept of students. All you need is water, the mix packet, and a microwave. Like magic, you put the mug with the ingredients in, and a minute later the room is filled with a glorious smell as a decadent, fluffy cake pops out.

Desiree Schippers

In addition to being super easy, another plus is the incredibly large and diverse selection—there are 18 unique flavors. These flavors are divided up into four categories: Decadent, Sunrise, Funtastic, and Fruit. There are enough options for every occasion. Another bonus is that they're only $2.50 for a box of four mug cake packets. These products are an absolute steal, and from personal experience, I can attest that they taste amazing.

The Discovery

I stumbled upon this gold mine a few weeks ago. I was moseying down the cake aisle in my local supermarket, weighing how much I wanted cake with the fact that I had no oven, pans, mixing bowl, etc. I had seen videos of these creative and “easy” mug cake recipes, but didn’t feel like researching and experimenting. That’s when the Duncan Hines mug cake box caught my eye. It was the brownie mix, and served as my introduction to this world-changing product. No measuring out ingredients, no cleaning up pans and bowls, and no agonizingly long wait to eat. These magical packets seemed too good to be true.

To my surprise, the brownie came out flawlessly. The texture was perfect, as was the taste. It was so identical to the texture and flavor that I’m doubtful I could’ve told an actual oven-baked brownie from that of the mug cake brownie. The numerous mini chocolate chips were the perfect addition to sweeten the chocolatey cake.

The Required Research

Erin Lomboy

So, I had to try the other flavors (for research purposes, of course). But what I found was that all of them fulfilled, if not exceeded, my high expectations.

All of the flavors that I have tried thus far—Strawberry Shortcake, Confetti Cake, Apple Cinnamon Muffin, and the Chocolate Lover’s Cake—have not disappointed. The flavors were all unique and perfectly emulated that of their label, and all of them possessed the same wonderful consistency; they were the fluffy and moist texture of a regular cake, and were in no way dry nor hard. Additionally, each packet offers suggestions of different ingredients to add in to make the taste even better. For instance, you can sweeten the taste with a hefty serving of whip cream, or substitute milk instead of water for more substance.

The Perfect Snack, Meal, and Sanity Saver

The many flavor options ensure that there's a mug cake for everyone, and they cater to countless situations. Any of the sunrise flavors will get you up and out of bed in no time. It’s easy to avoid that snooze button when you have a fluffy blueberry muffin or chocolatey banana bread just a microwavable minute away.

And any of these decadent flavors can be the perfect snack to get your spirits up after a long and exhausting day of work and studying. Or, it's a yummy reward to look forward to after a draining midterm! To use an Econ term, the benefit totally outweighs the cost on this one.