How to Steam a Cake Without a Steamer: No Steamer? No Problem!

Whether you’re thinking of making a cake for a special occasion or just a nice treat, you’ve probably come across a few steamed cake recipes you want to try.

Instead of baking, for a change.

Thus, we will look at the differences between the two and tell you how to steam a cake without a steamer.

Baked Cake vs. Steamed Cake

When baking a cake, you are using dry heat (usually from an oven) that heats your cake tin and ingredients up to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cake rises, and a lot of the moisture is lost to the air around it, which results in the cake becoming drier, and browned on the top and edges.

On the other hand, a steamed cake is cooked using moist air. The cooking temperature will be much lower as the steam is formed when water reaches its boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit).

Interestingly, the cooking time generally remains the same, as heat is more effectively transferred to the cake tin and ingredients through the moisture in the air.

Do note, though, that the flavor of a steamed cake will be slightly different from that of a baked cake as it won’t become brown. The cake will instead taste closer to the original ingredients used.

So, which one is better?

That’s for you to decide, as it really does come down to personal tastes and preferences.

How to Steam a Cake Without a Steamer

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You don’t necessarily need a steamer to steam a cake to perfection. Below we’ve described an effortless way to steam a cake on your stove using normal pots and pans.

You can also steam a cake in a rice cooker, a pressure cooker, or a microwave!

Nonetheless, we will focus on steaming cake using the stove method.

Steaming anything on the stove can be easily achieved with a large pot with a lid. Just fill up the bottom of the pan with water and bring that water to boiling point before adding your cake tin(s).

Top Tip: You will also need to use a kitchen towel or cloth to cover the pot before putting the lid back on. This will ensure that your cake doesn’t get dripped from the condensation that will form inside the pot lid.

Small Cakes

If you are cooking small cakes or cupcakes, then you can use cupcake liners set inside ramekins.

Sit the ramekins directly in the water and then cover them with the lid to cook. They have a relatively short cooking time, so they don’t require too much water.

Large Cakes

If cooking a larger cake, you’ll need quite a bit more water to steam the cake properly.

There are a few ways to raise your cake tin off the bottom of the pot to accommodate the extra water needed. Here are our top three ways of doing this:

  1. Use several large rolled-up balls of tin foil, put them in the bottom of your pan in the water, and set your cake pan on top. You’ll have to ensure that they are all roughly the same size so that your cake sits evenly.
  2. Use several plates at the bottom of your pan. Create extra height by stacking them top to bottom with each other until your desired height is reached.
  3. Use string to tie around your cake like a parcel and then attach it to the handles of your pan to suspend your cake up out of the boiling water.

Finishing Tips

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Whether you have a steamed or baked cake, you may wish to decorate it with fondant icing for a special occasion.

Once iced, sometimes a steamer is used for a short time to give the icing a nice, shiny finish.

No steamer? No problem!

Use the steam your iron created (the one you press clothes with) to give your cake that beautiful, glossy finish.

You certainly couldn’t steam a whole cake this way, but the steam let off by the iron is more than sufficient for your fondant glossing purposes.

Cake Steaming Success

Steaming is often preferred over other cooking methods for many reasons. When it comes to vegetables, you preserve a lot more nutrients by steaming rather than boiling them.

Some people prefer a steamed cake over a baked cake from time to time as it tends to be a lot moister and retains more of its natural ingredient flavors.

It is pretty easy to steam all sorts of things without owning an actual steamer.

Although if you find yourself steaming a lot of different food, whether it’s vegetables or cakes, it’s probably easier, in the long run, to invest in a good one with various layers saving you a lot of stove-top space.