Steamed Chocolate Cream Cheese Layered Cake

Steamed Chocolate Cream Cheese Layered Cake

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. Therefor, 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 the wet environment, which yields moist cake. The steamed chocolate cake also cuts down the need for oils, which can provide a healthier alternative of chocolate cake. However, please note that the wet environment may impact on 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 has 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 a savory cream cheese to balance the bitter-sweet chocolate cake. Moreover, I cover the cake with some chocolate ganache and top it with fresh strawberries to make it even prettier.

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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. Therefor, 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 resulting 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 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.

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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. A 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 remaining air bubbles in the batter and even out the surface.


6. Cover the steamer’s lid with 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.

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9. Make the cake ahead

I really recommend to make 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 refrigerator for overnight. When you are ready to serve, pour some chocolate ganache over the top. For extra glam, I put some fresh strawberries on top.

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Steamed Chocolate Cream Cheese Layered Cake

Not having an oven could not stop you from making this delicious and rich Steamed Chocolate Cream Cheese Layered Cake at home.

Course Dessert
Keyword Cake
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 12


Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup milk (240 ml)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (65 gr)
  • 1 cup butter (227 gr)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 gr)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (210 gr)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 300 gr cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 gr)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120 ml)
  • 200 gr semi sweet chocolate coarsely chopped


Chocolate Cake

  1. In a saucepan, heat milk until boil. Turn off the heat. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth and well incorporated. Set aside to cool.

  2. Grease a 8-inch round pan and line the bottom and the side with parchment paper.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and vanilla extract until incorporated.

  5. With a spatula, fold dry ingredients to the batter until well incorporated. Add the cooled cocoa powder-milk mixture into the batter and mix until well combined. Set aside as you prepare the cream cheese filling.

Cream Cheese Filling

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 2-3 minutes until soft and creamy. Add egg, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.

  2. Cover the lid's steamer with kitchen towel to prevent condensation from the lid from falling on to the steamed cakes. Bring the water in your steamer to a boil over a medium-high heat. 

  3. Gradually pour half of the chocolate cake batter into the prepared pan. Gently tap the pan to remove any air bubbles. Put the pan into the steamer and cook for 20 minutes or until the top is dry enough to hold the cream cheese filling.

  4. Pour the cream cheese filling evenly onto the first layer of chocolate cake. Cook for 15 minutes.

  5. Pour the remaining chocolate cake batter onto the cream cheese filling and cook for 30 minutes or until until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 2 hours inside the pan. Remove from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Heat heavy cream just until it is hot. Add chopped chocolate and mix until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Allow it cool completely for 10-15 minutes. Cover the cake with chocolate ganache. Garnish with optional toppings, then slice and serve.


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