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Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake

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This Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake is a no-bake cake with a super moist crumb, light texture, and chocolatey perfection. It’s delicious eaten plain, or you can decorate it with a chocolate ganache like mine.

moist steamed chocolate cake

Great news everyone! You don’t have to bake in the oven to have a delicious chocolate cake at home. This Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake is steamed to perfection, yet it is moist, light, and decadent with deep chocolate flavor.

The cake itself is also very easy to make and it is sufficient to mix the batter with a hand whisk. There is no special equipment needed to make this recipe, all you need is a steamer. If you do not have a steamer at home, just a large deep pan with a lid will do.

Steamed vs Baked Cakes

While baking cakes in the oven are commonly used in every household in the United States, but not in Asia as not every home comes with an oven. Steaming is a common way of cooking in Asia, especially when making traditional desserts, such as my Putu Ayu and Kue Lumpang Ijo recipes. Therefore, steaming seems like a great alternative for anyone that does not have an oven or microwave.

There is no way the cake will dry out when cooked in a wet environment. The steaming process makes the chocolate cake softer and moister than any baked goods. The steamed cake also cuts down the need for oils, which can provide a healthier alternative to a chocolate cake. However, steaming may impact the texture and flavor as you will not get the same browned edges you would get if it were baked. The steamed cakes also have a more pure flavor of the ingredients.

steamed chocolate cake

Can You Bake the Cake in the Oven?

If you are not convinced to steam the cake, you can bake the cake in the oven. Bake the cake at 355°F/180°C for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You can also divide the batter into 2 pans and cut the baking time to 25-30 minutes. Please note that I really recommend steaming the cake because it makes softer and moister crumbs.

moist steamed chocolate cake

Key Ingredients to Make the Best Chocolate Cake

Each ingredient serves an important role in making the cake. Don’t substitute these ingredients to achieve the best chocolate cake.

  • Instant coffee. Instant coffee is optional, but I recommend its addition because it enhances the chocolate flavor. I promise that the chocolate cake will not taste like coffee.
  • Oil. Don’t use butter in this cake batter. In general, cakes made with oil tend to bake up loftier with more even crumbs and stay moist and tender far longer than cakes made with butter.
  • Hot water. Hot liquid encourages the cocoa powder to bloom, dissolve in the batter easily, and enhance the flavor. You can also substitute it with hot coffee. If you are using a hot coffee, don’t forget to omit the instant coffee.

Pair the Cake with the Best Chocolate Ganache

Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake paired with chocolate ganache is pure double happiness. Chocolate ganache is very easy and quick to make. It is basically a 1:1 mixture of chocolate and warm cream. I also add a little bit of butter to make the ganache shiny. Stir them together until smooth, silky, and shiny. 

For the best chocolate ganache, make sure to use high-quality chocolate. I personally love the pure acidic chocolate flavor, so I use 3:2 55% and 70% cocoa dark couverture chocolate. You can also use other varieties of chocolate too, such as milk chocolate and white chocolate. If using white chocolate, reduce the cream to 2/3 cup because white chocolate is softer.

moist steamed chocolate cake
moist steamed chocolate cake

More Steamed Cake Recipes

Looking for more steamed cake recipes? I think you are gonna love these!

moist steamed chocolate cake
4.6 from 50 votes

Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake

This Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake is a no-bake cake with a super moist crumb, light texture, and chocolatey perfection. It's delicious eaten plain, or you can decorate it with a chocolate ganache like mine.
Author: Jaja Bakes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 6-inch/15 cm cake
Tap or hover to scale!
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes


Steamed Chocolate Cake

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) warm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125 gr) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp (45 gr) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (200 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) hot water

Chocolate Ganache

  • 8.8 oz (250 gr) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp (45 gr) butter


Steamed Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the steamer by bringing the water in the steamer to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch the condensation.
  • Grease a 6×3-inch/15×7.5 cm round pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add granulated sugar and instant coffee. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk the mixture until well incorporated. Add hot water and whisk until well combined. (*see Notes)
  • Pour the batter into the pan. Tap the pan on the counter to release the air bubbles.
  • Steam for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cools in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan by placing the wire rack on top and flipping it over. Remove the parchment paper. Place another wire rack on top and flip it back. The top of the cake is now facing up. Let it cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer (do not boil).
  • In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, butter, and hot cream. Stir the mixture until completely combined and the chocolate has melted. If it is not melting, place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan (bain-marie).
  • Let the ganache cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate the ganache until it becomes spreadable. Stir it a few times as it sets in the refrigerator so it remains even and smooth. (*see Notes)


  • Cut the cake horizontally into even 3 layers.
  • Place the bottom cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread the ganache and level the top with a spatula to make it even.
  • Place the middle cake layer and spread the ganache. Then place the top cake layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with more ganache.
  • Make swirls with the back of a spoon or the tip of a cake spatula to decorate.


The cake batter will be very thin after adding the boiling water. This is normal.
The butter makes the ganache shiny. You can omit the butter, but the frosting will look matte.
Make sure to keep an eye on the ganache because if it is left too long in the refrigerator, it will harden. If it becomes too stiff, just reheat it in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan.



Serving: 1whole cake | Calories: 4479kcal | Carbohydrates: 455g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 303g | Saturated Fat: 158g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 42g | Monounsaturated Fat: 84g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 751mg | Sodium: 3279mg | Potassium: 1209mg | Fiber: 39g | Sugar: 301g | Vitamin A: 5354IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 682mg | Iron: 13mg
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4.56 from 50 votes (48 ratings without comment)

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  1. Hi Jacinta,
    If I want to bake this cake in the oven (because I don’t have a big steamer that suits my pan 🥲) should I double the amount of oil to 1/2 cup instead of 1/4

    1. Hi Wanny,

      You can use the same recipe, no adjustment, if you want to bake this cake in the oven. If you feel like the cake is not moist enough, you can make a simple syrup (2 tbsp sugar + 2 tbsp hot water) and brush the cake slices with the syrup before frosting the cake.

  2. Old dog, new tricks! At 85 I’ve been baking for a long long time,but had never come across this method of cooking a cake. Total success AND approval from the whole family. Does Mary Berry know this method?

  3. Hi Jacinta,
    What a lovely cake!
    Would Dutch processed Cocoa Powder be okay for this cake?

    Can’t wait to try it.

    Thank you

  4. I just found this recipe roughly 2 weeks ago and I have made it three times since. I have 4 picky kids and a picky husband and every single one of them LOVED this cake. The only reason I even came across this recipe was because my oven isn’t working properly and everyone was asking for dessert. I wasn’t sure what to do without an oven and two of my kids HATE cake with a passion lol. But thankfully I thought I would give it a shot and convinced everyone to at least try it since it was different than any cake I’ve ever made. Praise his name!….I was able to make every single person happy with this recipe. Delicious! Thank you

  5. Hi Jacinta,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ve tried so many versions of chocolate cake recipes and I must say this one came out the best so far. I had to steam for around 60min to get the insides cook. Is it ok to steam longer as compared to baking I think steaming will not overcook the cake too much right?

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for sharing your feedback and I am super glad you like it. When your cake is not done yet at 50 minutes mark, it is fine to cook it for a longer time or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. However, I do not recommend steaming it for way too long because the cake will become too wet and mushy.

  6. Hii, I would like to ask since I’m using electric stove instead of gas, may I know what is the best temperature to steam the cake? I would like to bake it for my bf for his birthday on 24th September 2021. 🙂

  7. Can this cake be made without the cocoa? It is an awesome delicious chocolate cake, and I was wondering if I could make it as a vanilla version too?

  8. Such a great recipe. Made it for my daughter’s birthday because my oven died on me and everyone raved about it. What do you use to frost large swirls on the cake? Thanks!

    1. Yay, thank you for the feedback Valene. Glad everyone seems to enjoy the cake. For the swirls, I use an icing/frosting/offset spatula, but a regular spoon also works as well. You can watch on the video below the recipe to see how I made the swirls for reference.