Yes, you can totally bake a cake without an oven with this Steamed Chocolate Cream Cheese Layered Cake. Not every household has an oven or microwave. Nevertheless, it cannot stop you from making a delicious chocolate cake.
I am in fact not a huge fan of chocolate flavor. Nevertheless, my office mate requested me to make a chocolate cake for his birthday. I love baking in an oven, but my office has limited kitchenware I can use.
I believe that almost every kitchen has a stove. 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.
Steaming is a common way of cooking in Indonesia, especially when making traditional desserts. 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, which yields a moist cake. The steamed chocolate cake also cuts down the need for oils, which can provide a healthier alternative to chocolate cake. However, please note that the wet environment may impact texture and flavor. When you steam a cake, you do not get the same browned edges as you would if it were baked. Steam cakes also have a more pure flavor of the ingredients that make up the cake.
The chocolate cake is moist, rich, and decadent that people might not even know that it was actually not baked. I also layered the middle of the cake with savory cream cheese to balance the bittersweet chocolate cake. Moreover, I cover the cake with some chocolate ganache and top it with fresh strawberries to make it even prettier.
Tips for Making Steamed Chocolate Cream Cheese Layered Cake
1. Mix cocoa powder with hot milk
The original recipe calls for boiling water to help the cocoa powder dissolves into the liquid with ease. However, I reduce the amount of liquid needed so that the cake batter is thick enough to hold up the cream cheese filling. Therefore, I boil the milk instead of using boiling water to bloom and dissolve the cocoa powder. Adding cocoa powder into hot liquid also brings out the chocolate flavor in cocoa powder.
2. Use the ingredients at room temperature
While you can use ingredients directly from the refrigerator, the result will not be as good. You want your eggs and butter to be at room temperature so they can create an emulsion that traps air, which results in fluffy chocolate cake.
3. Cream the butter properly
The original recipe used vegetable oil instead of butter, which yields moister cake. Nevertheless, it could get messy as the batter was too runny to hold up the cream cheese filling. Thus, I modified the chocolate cake batter by creaming the butter and sugar to make a thicker batter. To ensure that your cake turns out light and fluffy, be sure to cream the butter and sugar thoroughly before adding the other ingredients to the batter. This might take several minutes to make the butter pale and fluffy to incorporate a significant amount of air into the mixture.
4. Soften the cream cheese
I really love the thick layer of cream cheese between the chocolate cake because I love going back from eating from sweet to savory and so on. It is important to use room temperature cream cheese for this recipe. Cold cream cheese could be lumpy so you need to set out the cream cheese a couple of hours before making this recipe.
5. Tap the bottom of the pan
Once you have transferred the batter to your prepared cake pan, tap the bottom of the pan on the kitchen counter to eliminate the remaining air bubbles in the batter and even out the surface.
6. Cover the steamer’s lid with a kitchen towel
You need to prevent the condensation from dripping down onto the batter while keeping the heat in to keep the cake warm. I tied a thin towel or cloth under the bottom of the lid to catch the condensation before it drips.
7. Preheat the steamer
Just like baking a cake, you need to preheat the steamer to cook the cake immediately and properly. Before you place your pan into your steamer, make sure that your water is already boiling.
8. Be patient
It may be tempting to open the lid’s steamer to check on your cake’s progress during steaming. The more you open the lid to look, the more heat escapes which leads to longer steaming needed to make the batter properly sets. Before you put the cream cheese filling, you need to check if the first layer of chocolate cake is done. If the batter is still wet to touch after 20 minutes of steaming, you need to steam it longer until the top is pretty dry to hold up the cream cheese filling.
9. Make the cake ahead
I really recommend making this cake a day ahead because the cream cheese filling needs to be properly chilled to set. Let the cake cool inside the pan for 2 hours after steaming to set the filling. Then, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack. To make sure that the cake is fully cooled inside and out, I put it in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to serve, pour some chocolate ganache over the top. For extra glam, I put some fresh strawberries on top.
More Steamed Cake Recipes
If you don’t know, I have several delicious steamed cake recipes that I think you will love.
- Steamed Carrot Cake
- Moist Steamed Chocolate Cake
- Putu Ayu (Pandan Coconut Steamed Cake)
- Steamed Black Glutinous Rice Cake