When you think of the term “baked goods,” cakes are often the first sweet dish to spring to mind. Even no-bake cakes fill a certain niche, but steaming food seems to be the exclusive domain of vegetables. Believe it or not, steam cooking is a totally viable option for cakes, from vegetable-based cakes to sponge cakes and sweet Asian-inspired recipes. Compared to their baked cousins, steamed cakes have a fluffier, moister and lighter consistency.

Things You'll Need

Prepare your cake batter. Examples of steam-cooked cakes include fruit cakes, sponge cakes and savory vegetable cakes.

Place a steam rack in the bottom of a large covered pot or wok. Line a small cake tin, about 4 1/2 inches in size, with wax paper and pour in your batter. Place the tin atop the steam rack.

Add about two inches of water to the pot or wok and bring it to a boil, setting your burner to high heat. Separately, simmer water in a saucepan. When this water heats up, you can add it to the pot or wok as the boiling water dissolves. Allow the cake to steam in the pot or wok for 20 to 30 minutes, adding water from saucepan as necessary.

Test the cake by poking it with a skewer at about 20 minutes. If no batter or residue is on the skewer, the cake is done. If the cake is not done, allow it to steam for another five minutes and check again. When it’s done steaming, allow the cake to cool for about five minutes before removing it from the tin. Once it’s removed, serve the steamed cake fresh.


  • While 20 or 30 minutes of steaming should do the trick for a small, personal-sized cake good for about two-to-four servings, you’ll have to steam longer for bigger cakes. For a cake that serves about four-to-six, steam for roughly 45 to 55 minutes. For a six-to-eight serving cake, steam for about an hour and 45 minutes.