Friday, May 9, 2014

Steamed Cake: Forget About the Oven

Most people think of cake being made in the oven, but today I'm sharing a new option: steamed cake. Steamed cake is delicious, it's got a texture different from baked cake, it's dense, soft, and perhaps a healthier choice than baked cake since there is much less oil involved. Steamed cake is somewhat of a traditional Chinese sweet pastry, in the Chinese household (or Taiwanese, East Asia in general) a oven is not a standard appliance in the kitchen, in fact, very few kitchens in Taiwan have a oven. Therefore, if you are a oven, and you really feel like some cake, give this recipe a try. When I was an exchange student in the Czech Republic the dorm kitchen did not have an oven, yet one day I felt like making pastry so bad and I thought of the steamed cake. I found a recipe online, and improvised a bit making my own chocolate steamed cake. I made mine using a traditional rice cooker, which is basically a rather simple apparatus that involves a big pot with a smaller pot inside, and water between the two pots heated by electricity. You just need a big pot, and a big bowl that fits inside the pot.

Steamed Cake

3/4 cup flour and about 1 table spoon more
2T butter or vegetable oil
3 (or 4 eggs, no need to change recipe but an extra egg makes the cake moister if that's what you like, if this your first time making it may I suggest 4 eggs?)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Steam for about 30-40 minutes, since you can't burn the cake it doesn't hurt steaming it longer.

1. Mix eggs, butter, sugar, and vanilla together till even. Use your hand or use your electric beater.
2. Add in your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder

Then just steam it! Simple as that.

To steam, fill a pot with some water, not too much water , just enough to go as high as one fourth to one third of the height of your bowl. Put on the lid, turn up your heat, and let the water bowl away.

It will puff up and form a round top, so make sure there's space for your cake to grow.

You can out three to four eggs in the recipe, I've tried both and both have been successful, it's just a personal preference, my roommate prefers four eggs.

I have survived one year of graduate school, hurrah! Thought I'd throw that in, it's a big thing. And I fly away to DC tomorrow for my internship. It's a mystery whether I can be baking lots in my summer sublease, but I have all these food stories I want to share and so there's quite some catching up to do. And Spain too, so much catching up!

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