It’s Time for Two-Ingredient Emergency Cake

It’s Time for Two-Ingredient Emergency Cake
Photo: Claire Lower
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

I almost always have a box of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie mix in my pantry. At this moment I have about 2.2 kilograms of the stuff.

I really adore brownies, but — even with how easy boxed mix brownies are to execute — I don’t always want to make an entire batch, mostly because I will consume that entire batch in approximately 36 hours. Luckily, one can use brownie mix to make a very chocolatey cake for one. You just need a little sour cream.

How to make a two-ingredient cake

I started out making this “cake” with 1/4 cup brownie mix and 2 tablespoons water, and it was ok, but then our managing editor Joel Cunningham mentioned his wife makes a very similar treat using yogurt instead of water. I didn’t have any yogurt, but I had sour cream (because I simply must have it in the house at all times), so I gave that combination a whirl, instead.

It worked beautifully. The sour cream gives the cake a little more substance and a lovely little bit of lactic tang. If you get a mix with chocolate chips, you get an almost lava cake-like effect.

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

You can cook the cake in the microwave or in an air fryer (or another small convection oven), but the air fryer will bake a better cake. Microwave cakes (like the one directly above this paragraph) come out slightly damp and rubbery (but not bad); cakes cooked in the air fryer (like the one at the top of this blog) come moist but fluffy with a thin, shiny crust on top.

No matter how you cook it, the ratios are the same.

Simply combine 1/4 cup brownie mix and 2 tablespoons of sour cream in a greased mug or ramekin and stir with a fork until you have a smooth batter, then cook the cake in the microwave for one minute, or an air fryer for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Let cool for a minute or two before enjoying. Repeat as needed.

If you’re without an air fryer and would like to introduce one into your life, allow us to help. This Philips Daily Collection option is currently on sale for $149.00 on Amazon or this Innsky 5.5L Air Fryer is just $89. We also have a running list of air fryer deals (regularly updated) on the website here.

This article on the two-ingredient cake has been updated since its original publish date.

Log in to comment on this story!