My family's favourite chocolate cake, by far, is one that doesn't require any baking. It's steamed, and oh so moist and rich! I make it using my trusty old wok, but you can use your steamer if it's big enough. I started making this cake when my daughter was just a tot, and it is still one of her most requested cakes. Unfortunately, I can't remember who gave me this recipe so long ago - whoever you are, you have my most heartfelt thanks!
This is a cake that I can whip up quickly for dessert after dinner or when friends pop by at short notice, so I always just ice this cake with chocolate ganache. We like this cake simple and unadorned. Plus, it's too soft and moist to hold the weight of rolled fondant icing (sugarpaste). It is high enough for me to tort it twice for a 3 layer cake, and I would normally fill it with chocolate ganache, but feel free to try other fillings. For this post, I had just enough chocolate ganache, leftover from my christmas chocolate logcake, to ice the cake, so I used chocolate pudding instead for the filling. Worked fine (though I prefer chocolate ganache as it is less milky and much more chocolatey than the pudding).
So.....how to steam this cake? I use my steamer rack and wok, but feel free to use an electric steamer or a bamboo steamer, whichever suits you better.
Fill the wok or your steamer with water and start the heat. If you are using a stove top, keep the fire at low to medium strength. Remember to keep a jar of water close at hand, as you will need to keep a constant eye on the water level in the wok (or steamer), and top up when needed.
The batter will be quite runny, so if you are using a removable base pan like mine, you should cover the base of your pan with aluminium foil to prevent leakage. Then use a sheet of foil to cover the top of the pan loosely.
Cover the wok with a lid, but keep checking water level in the steamer and top up when necessary.
Cake will be high when it's done. Leave to cool completely before removing it from the pan.
Tort the cake into three layers. You can use a serrated knife or like me, a leveler. The advantage of using a leveler is that you are assured of a straight and even cut, easily and quickly. Before the leveler came into existence, I used to measure the cake from base up at certain intervals around the cake, sticking needles into the right height, then torting the cake using these needles as a guide to ensure an even and straight cut. Boy was I happy the first time I bought my leveler. No more needles and careful measuring! Another great tool is the cake lifter. After torting the cake, just slide the cake lifter under and lift and move the cake layer, without tearing or breakage.
Use a short icing spatula to spread the filling - put more at the centre of the layer and taper off as you come to the edges. Leave the edges unfilled. This will automatically fill up when a layer of cake is placed on top of the filling and the middle is pressed gently down. Continue until all layers are filled. Use the spatula to tidy up the fillings that may have spilled at the sides.
Now, time to ice the cake with chocolate ganache. Ice the top first, then the sides. You don't need to take too much time icing this cake. Just keep the sides as straight and neat as you can, and the top even. You can use your spatula to create shapes at the top, like these waves I made. Simple and easy.
Steamed Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache
Makes 16 to 20 slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Steam Time: 90 minutes
Saucepan or stove pot
Stove top or induction cooker
Weighing machine or measuring cup
Wok or electric steamer
Steam rack and wok lid/cover (if using wok)
Ingredients Group A:
375 gm unsalted butter or 320 gm corn oil (for a moister cake, use corn oil)
380 gm castor sugar
1 can (405 gm) evaporated full cream milk (I use low fat whenever I can instead of full cream)
2 tsp vanilla (pure vanilla is preferable)
4 regular sized eggs, lightly beaten
Ingredients Group B:
198 gm plain flour
1 cup cocoa powder (use good quality cocoa powder as it will make a difference. My preference is Valrhona cocoa powder)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
150 ml cream (I prefer using low fat cooking cream, but whipping cream, double cream can also be used)
150 ml good quality chocolate (My preference is Valrhona dark chocolate, at least 55%)
1 tsp vanilla
Your preferred flavourings (optional)
Grease and line sides and bottom of 8 inch cake pan. If you use a removable base pan, cover the base with aluminium foil to prevent leakage.
Add water to steamer and turn on heat.
Put Ingredients Group A in a saucepan and stir to combine well.
Put saucepan on stove top and heat on low to medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Put aside.
Once it has cooled a little (but still a little warm), drizzle lightly beaten eggs gradually into the mixture, gently whisking the mixture to combine.
Sift together Ingredient Group B into a large bowl.
Slowly whisk in Group A & egg mixture into the large bowl with Group B. Stir well to fully combine.
Pour batter into prepared 8" cake pan.
Place cake pan into steamer, cover and steam for one and a half (1 1/2) hours. Constantly check water level in steamer and top up when needed.
Cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Put cake pan on grid and leave to cool completely before lifting the cake out of the cake pan.
Gradually heat cream and vanilla in a saucepan until the mixture boils. Switch off heat.
Add in chocolate and stir until fully combined.
Leave to cool. Then whip the ganache in a mixer and ice the cake.