Bake it Anywhere: How To Make Cake Without Oven?

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: May 29, 2023

a delicious cake made without oven
A delicious cake made without oven

There’s something uniquely heartwarming about a homemade cake. The rich, intoxicating aroma that fills the kitchen, the anticipation of that first sweet bite, and the satisfaction of sharing your creation with others make baking a delightful experience. But what if you don’t have an oven? The lack of this conventional baking equipment shouldn’t deter you from your culinary adventure. It’s completely possible and surprisingly simple to make a cake without an oven, and this comprehensive guide will show you how to make cake without oven.

Whether you’re in a dorm room with limited appliances, traveling in a camper van, living off-grid, or dealing with a broken oven, you may find yourself in a situation where an oven isn’t available. Don’t despair. Even without an oven, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth and impress your friends and family with your baking skills. You only need to think outside the proverbial box – or in this case, outside the oven.

In this guide, we will explore various methods for making a cake without an oven, using equipment you likely already have at home. We will delve into stovetop baking, slow-cooker cakes, and the ever-popular microwave cake method. So, let’s get started.

1 Method 1: Stovetop Baking

egg cake being cooked on stove top
Egg Cake being cooked on Stove top

Stovetop baking, or using a “bain-marie” or “water bath” method, is a classic and reliable way to make a cake without an oven. It involves heating the batter slowly and gently, similar to the principle of steaming.

To begin, you’ll need a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, a smaller baking pan that fits inside the larger pot, and a metal rack or trivet. The rack creates a gap between the bottom of the pot and the baking pan, ensuring the cake doesn’t get too hot and burn. Here are the steps to make a stovetop vanilla cake:

  1. Prepare the cake batter: Use your favourite cake recipe, or start with a simple vanilla batter. Mix together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of oil, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Gradually combine the wet ingredients with the dry until the batter is smooth.
  2. Prepare your pot: Place the metal rack or trivet at the bottom of the large pot. Then, pour in about 1-2 inches of water, ensuring the water level stays below the rack.
  3. Prepare the baking pan: Grease a smaller baking pan that fits inside the large pot and pour the cake batter into it.
  4. Baking the cake: Place the filled cake pan onto the rack in the large pot. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat to medium-low. The water in the pot will create steam, which in turn cooks the cake. It should take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the cake every 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  5. Checking doneness: To ensure the cake is cooked, insert a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready. Remove the pan from the pot and let it cool completely before removing the cake from the pan.

2 Method 2: The Slow Cooker Cake

an apple cake cooked in cooker
An Apple Cake cooked in cooker

Slow cookers are another useful appliance for no-oven baking. A slow cooker maintains a low, steady heat, making it perfect for baking cakes. Here’s a simple slow-cooker chocolate cake recipe:

  1. Prepare the cake batter: In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder, 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, mix 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Gradually combine the dry and wet ingredients, and stir in 1 cup of boiling water last. The batter will be thin, but this is expected.
  2. Prepare the slow cooker: Grease the slow cooker pot, then pour the batter in. Cover with the lid.
  3. Cooking the cake: Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 2 to 3 hours. A slow cooker doesn’t heat as intensely as an oven, so cooking times are longer. It’s also important not to lift the lid during cooking, as this releases the heat and moisture necessary for the cake to cook.
  4. Checking for doneness: Similar to the stovetop method, insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready. Once done, turn off the slow cooker and remove the pot. Let it cool completely before serving.

3 Method 3: The Microwave Cake

microwave cake
Microwave Cake

Microwaves are often overlooked as baking tools, but they are perfect for quick and easy cakes. For this method, we will be making a classic microwave mug cake.

  1. Prepare the cake batter: In a microwave-safe mug, mix together 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of baking powder. Stir in 3 tablespoons of milk, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and a dash of vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
  2. Cooking the cake: Place the mug in the microwave, and cook on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. The cake will rise dramatically in the mug, then settle back down as it cools.
  3. Serve and enjoy: Let the mug cake cool for a few minutes before eating. Top with a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of chocolate sauce if desired.

4 Important Tips and Tricks for No-Oven Baking

Despite the straightforward nature of these methods, no-oven baking can come with its challenges. Here are some tips and tricks to make your baking experience smoother:

  • Patience is key: Baking without an oven often takes longer than conventional oven baking. Make sure you allocate sufficient time to ensure your cake is thoroughly cooked.
  • Monitor your heat: Too much heat can cause the bottom of your cake to burn. Ensure you maintain a low and steady heat, especially for the stovetop and slow cooker methods.
  • Don’t peek: Resist the urge to keep checking on your cake, especially when using a slow cooker. Constantly opening the lid releases heat and moisture, disrupting the cooking process.
  • Size matters: Make sure your baking pan fits comfortably inside your pot or slow cooker. It shouldn’t touch the sides of the pot, and there should be enough space for steam to circulate.
  • Cool before serving: Allow your cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan or serving. This will prevent it from breaking apart.

5 Wrapping Up

In conclusion, you don’t need an oven to make a delightful and delicious cake. With some creativity and a little patience, you can create mouth-watering cakes using a stovetop, slow cooker, or microwave. So the next time you’re facing a kitchen without an oven or simply want to try something new, don’t hesitate to give these methods a shot.

While it may seem daunting at first, remember that baking is as much a science as it is an art. It takes practice and experimentation, so don’t be discouraged if your first no-oven cake doesn’t turn out as you expected. Each attempt is an opportunity to learn and improve, and before you know it, you’ll be a pro at no-oven baking.

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Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: May 29, 2023
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