Steamed chocolate cake

Steamed Chocolate Cake

I usually bake my cakes and such but I wasn’t in the mood for working with a hot oven, with a big belly and all. So I thought I’d try something new like steaming up some desserts instead. Steaming desserts is more of an Asian technique rather than European (although I could be wrong) and as such, it is not uncommon to see steamed cakes available for sale in many Asian shops or markets.

I decided to try out a recipe I found online with some adaptations – I didn’t have any evaporated milk and I added a bit more cocoa powder plus sugar to make up for the fact that I wasn’t going to use any frosting on the surface. Just an added precaution, you could say. I am not very familiar with the texture or technique involved in making steamed cakes and when I was putting the liquids together (oil, milk, eggs and water), I was a bit tad worried about getting a too-runny cake batter. But at the end of putting everything together, it looked just about right.

I used a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe and lined it with greaseproof paper before pouring the batter in and then setting it on top of my steamer in my wok. Of course I was sure to test that everything fits right. No point in pouring the batter into the pan only to find out that you can’t cover your wok because the pan is too high or too big!!! After covering the wok to let the cake steam, the only thing left to do was to check every so often that there was enough water in the wok – the last thing you want is to run out of steaming hot water and end up burning your wok!

Texture- and taste-wise, this cake is ultra moist and fluffy, and not sweet at all (despite me adding in a little more sugar than called for in the recipe). There is a good deal of chocolate-y taste to it not to mention a slight tinge of vanilla fragrance but I might just add more vanilla extract next time. Also, I might try this again with melted butter just to see what effect it would have on the fragrance. But overall, it turned out well. Definitely a keeper! πŸ™‚

Steamed chocolate cake
Adapted from Recipe for Keeps’ Steamed chocolate cake recipe


1 3/4 cup plain flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup (heaped) brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda/soda bicarbonate
1 tsp vanilla essence


  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl. Add in the sugar and stir to mix well.
  2. Add in the oil and mix well. Repeat with the milk and lastly the eggs before adding in the vanilla essense and boiling water. Stir to mix well. The batter shouldn’t be too runny but thick like regular cake batter.
  3. When ready, pour the mixture into a 9″ pan that has been lined with greaseproof paper or butter. Place on top of a steamer and steam over medium heat for 45 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If not, steam for another 5 minutes.
  4. Once ready, remove to cool and serve as is, with ice cream or decorate with ganache or a frosting of your choice.

Steamed chocolate cake

You may also like


  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m going to try this for hubby – he loves chocolate. Congratulations on your move back to Singapore. Being a Malaysian who has lived in the UK for 20 years, I understand your anxieties about going back (especially your point about being a stay at home mum). Good luck with that!

    Take it easy, it’s hard being pregnant!

    Mabel Reply:

    Thanks! For now, I’ve left the packing and arrangements to Nil to worry about – I just pack up my stuff, worry about the baby and all. LOL. I suppose we’ll tackle those anxieties when they *do* come. πŸ™‚

  2. Looking good as always Mabel, I might atuclly try this out…steamed cakes just taste a whole lot more like home. I thought of you today and decided to drop a note to see how you’re going with your pregnancy. Hope all is well & you’re feeling good!

    Mabel Reply:

    Thanks for the note! I’m doing good – belly’s big and all not to mention I’m developing an itchy mouth (feel like munching on stuff all the time). Need to still watch the weight though. GAH! XD

  3. Hi Mabel, your cake looks so tempting that i want to try them right away. Just to confirm, plain flour means wheat flour?

    Mabel Reply:

    Yup, plain white flour is always normal wheat flour. πŸ™‚

  4. can you use a rice steamer? Thanks!

    Mabel Reply:

    I’ve never tried it before; maybe you can have a go and see how it turns out!

  5. Hi Mabel,

    Thought I would just drop by to comment that this is my second attempt at baking. And to my surprise this recipe was simple & just to steam it and the cake turns out just nice, my hubby likes it. Will try out your other recipes πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing

    Mabel Reply:

    Glad to hear that it turned out well! πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *