How to Steam a Cake (Without a Steamer)

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Cakes are an excellent way to commemorate a particular event, present as a gift, or just have some fun. They’re tasty and adaptable, and you can decorate them anyway you like.

Cake may be made in a variety of ways, which is both an advantage and a problem for this popular worldwide dessert. As with any baked item, little faults may lead to major issues.

Furthermore, the manner of baking will influence the texture and flavor of your cake.

Everyone has different cake tastes, and determining the best cooking process may be a fun trip. The benefits of kitchen exploration are limitless!

While you may think of the oven as the finest way for baking a cake, there are other options. Instead of going for the oven’s temperature knob or button, try steaming.

A simple bamboo steamer, which can be obtained in any home goods shop or Asian market, is one of the most common methods to steam a cake. There are, however, simple techniques to achieve the same objective without the need of specialized equipment.

Why Steam a Cake?

How to Steam a Cake (Without a Steamer)

Steam baking is a dependable alternative to standard oven baking. Steaming is very handy for persons who do not have access to an oven or their oven is inoperable.

Many individuals outside of the United States live in smaller dwellings that do not allow ovens, or in places that do not have enough energy to operate huge appliances. An simple and frequent option is to steam a cake in a saucepan or wok on the stove.

East Asian cuisine is most known for utilizing steam to cook (think exquisite steamed dumplings or delicately steamed fish), but the technique is used all across the globe.

The most well-known is arguably the steamed sponge cake known as bak tong gou (meaning “white sugar cake”). It is a Cantonese staple that is often served at the conclusion of a dim sum dinner.

Steam was a culinary wonder long before electric ovens transformed professional and domestic cookery.

What Are the Benefits of Steaming a Cake?

When it comes to cake baking, there are numerous compelling reasons to use steam over traditional methods.

For starters, heating with steam results in a more pure taste in the cake. Because steaming does not generate the browned borders of oven baking, the original tastes of the components are more prominent.

Steaming, on the other hand, enhances the moistness of your cake. Traditional oven baking employs dry heat, so as the cake rises, a lot of moisture is lost to the air surrounding it, resulting in a dry and brown cake.

Steamed cakes, on the other hand, are made using moist air. Because steam is created when water reaches its boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit), the cooking temperature will be much lower, resulting in a moister, richer cake.

Finally, steam cooks your cake twice as quickly as baking. Steam cooks around 212°F, but an oven cooks at higher temperatures, often about 350°F.

A steamer, on the other hand, will cook quicker since steam transmits heat 100 times faster than air. If you’re short on time, steaming is an excellent choice.

Fourth, since steam cannot overcook your cake, you may easily avoid one of the most frequent cake baking problems by simply using a steamer instead of an oven. Say goodbye to lengthy waits by the hot oven and time anxiety; welcome to fast and simple!

Finally, steaming cakes are more digestible. They digest more easily than regular baked cakes and are less prone to cause gas, bloating, or indigestion.

They are also considerably healthier than cooked veggies. Steamed cakes aren’t exactly diet food, but they’re a reliable replacement for oven-baked treats.

What Are the Drawbacks to Steaming?

The main difference between steamed cakes and baked cakes is that the edges are not browned. Browned edges affect the texture and taste of a cake, and most Americans are used to a less moist cake with browned edges from oven baking.

Another disadvantage is that steamed cakes dry out quicker than regular oven baked cakes. Steamed cakes start off more moister, but since they cool quicker, the moisture evaporates faster.

What Can I Do to Increase the Moistness of My Steamed Cake?

To make your steamed cake more moist, add more fats to the cake mix before steaming. Butter, oil, sour cream, or full-fat yogurt are all excellent choices.

You may also use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour to make the cake more moist. To assist seal in moisture, some cake aficionados cover the completed cake with a simple syrup mixture.

What If I Don’t Have a Steamer?

No need for a steamer! You can steam a cake with the kitchenware you already have.

If you don’t have or desire a bamboo steamer, a big saucepan with a cover on the stove will do. All you have to do is fill the bottom of the pan with water and bring it to a boil. Place the cake mix in the cake pan, then place the cake tin in the boiling water. Cover the pot and let the steam to do the rest of the job.

Here’s a pro tip: Cover the saucepan with a hand towel or cloth after placing your cake tin in the pot of boiling water. Covering the saucepan with a towel before replacing the lid prevents moisture on the lid (from when it was covering the boiling pot) from dropping into your lovely cake!

A cake may also be steamed in a rice cooker, pressure cooker, or even a microwave!

What About Small Cakes and Cupcakes?

Small cakes and cupcakes may also be baked using the steam technique. Use cupcake liners into the ramekins for cupcakes.

Then, exactly like the full-sized cake, set the ramekins in the boiling water. Cook until done, then cover with the pot lid (don’t forget the pro tip!). Cooking time will be reduced, and the pot will use less water.

What About Extra-Large Cakes?

Extra-large cakes can be steamed in the same way as regular-sized cakes and small desserts can.

Larger cakes need more water in the pot, just as cupcakes require less. Of course, a bigger pot is required.

You will need to lift the cake pan off the bottom of the pot due to the extra water. A modest metal or wood rack will suffice. If you don’t have a rack, here are a few other methods for raising:

1. Take a substantial piece of tin foil and cut it into three to five portions. Then crush each part into balls of equivalent size.

set the tin foil balls in the bottom of the pan, making sure they are fairly distributed, and then set your cake tin on top of the tin foil balls. The cake pan should rest equally on the foil balls and offer the necessary height to accept the extra water.

2. Fill the pot halfway with water, then begin stacking plates on top of each other at the bottom of the pot, using as many plates as necessary to obtain the desired height. Ordinary tableware plates should be fine for the brief period of boiling and steaming.

3. Rather of elevating the cake from the bottom, consider hanging it from the top. If you have kitchen twine on hand, you may make a sling for your cake pan.

Tie your cake tin like a parcel or present, then bind the string to the handles of the frying kettle. The tin should hang well over the water and below the lid, resulting in a beautiful steamed cake.

Can I Ice and Decorate My Steamed Cake?

Absolutely! A steamed cake, like an oven-baked cake, may and should be decorated after it has cooked. Fondant and frosting are probably the greatest options, and they may be applied after the steamed cake has cooled.

Steam may also be used in the decorating process. Just as you may steam your cake in a regular pot, you can finish and decorate it with a regular clothes iron.

Make use of the steam produced by your iron to give your cake a lovely, glossy surface. You can’t steam a complete cake with your iron, but it can help you finish your fondant and perfect your frosting.

Finally, it doesn’t matter how you prepare your cake as long as you love it. Steamed cakes are equally as tasty and entertaining as their oven-baked counterparts, despite their unique or exotic appearance.


Can you steam a cake in the oven?

Cakes may be steamed as well as baked, yielding a lighter, more delicate cake that is moister and has less crumbs than a baked cake.

Is it better to steam cake instead of baking?

Steamed cakes will have a more pure taste of the cake’s components. Because of the caramelized borders, baked cakes have a more rounded taste. 2 The cake will be delicate and moist, but it will also dry out quickly. The benefit of steaming is that it is quick.

How long should you steam a cake?

Cover the top of the steamer with a dish towel and lay the lid on top to prevent any steam from leaking onto the cake. Steam for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

What can you use if you don’t have a steamer?

The Colander Method

If you have a heat-safe colander, you may use it to make a steamer by placing it inside a big, closed pot. When steaming tiny objects, utilize the perforated bowl to keep the components contained. If you’re steaming bigger meals, such as corn on the cob or lobsters, turn it over and place the goods on top.

What can I use instead of a steaming tray?

Make golf ball-sized balls out of aluminum foil. set the foil balls in a single layer in the bottom of the pot, then set a heatproof plate or pie pan on top of the aluminum foil balls, ensuring sure the heatproof plate is level. Allow your components to steam immediately on the heatproof plate.

How do you steam in a regular oven?

So far, the most effective approach we’ve identified is to create a steam “bath.” While the oven is preheating, place a thick sheet pan, hotel pan, or even a broiler pan on the floor. When you’re ready to bake the loaves, place them in the pan and immediately pour in a cup of extremely hot water.

How do you use an oven like a steamer?

The idea here is to utilize your oven’s drip tray and then fill it with water before preheating it. (Is there no drip tray? (Use a larger pan.) Allow it to reach the correct temperature, and when you lay your leche flan cake or cheesecake within, the water should be softly steaming.

How do you steam a dry cake?

Fill a big saucepan with water until it about reaches the bottom of the steamer and place it on the fire. Bring the water to a gentle boil and delicately pour it into the cake. Turn off the heat and let the cake in the saucepan for about 10 minutes, or until it has softened and is as good as new.

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