Cake! Who can live without it? Certainly not us... Which is why we HAD to find a way to bake a cake without an oven. And it works! We proudly present our steamed pressure cooker cake - the chocolate and banana edition...
This original recipe was first created in an experiment to make a vegan basic sponge cake. But soon it developed an existence of its own. We now have several variations of this vegan banana cake recipe, but this one is our favourite. The pressure cooker, our versatile best friend in the camping kitchen, allows us to cook this banana and chocolate cake while we are travelling the world in Ronnie, our campervan.
We don’t ever turn on the fridge in our camper van. It runs off gas or mains hook up. Since we prefer off-grid camping we don’t ever use mains electric hook-up, and we save our gas for cooking. It means that we just use the fridge as another food cupboard, useful for storing jars and bottles, especially when they are opened, as it still acts as a sort of cool box. However, it also means we don’t buy any food that needs storing in the fridge over a long time, and that includes vegan spread and margarine.
So, when we are travelling we simply use vegetable or even olive oil to bake cakes. Sometimes we use coconut oil, but it is not only quite expensive but also can have a very strong flavour of it’s own. Using liquid fat also has the benefit of not having to use as much fat as you would otherwise. Some reduce fat to half the amount when substituting oil for solid fats.
In our vegan banana and chocolate pressure cooker cake, the banana acts as a binder and brings moisture to the cake batter. We recommend using as ripe bananas as possible. The more brown bits on your banana skin, the better they are for baking. They become sweeter and the banana flavour softens. You can also add a bit of almond or vanilla extract to supplement the banana flavour with some different aroma.
So how do you make a cake without an oven?
The method of cooking cake in the pressure cooker is actually more steaming than baking. But don’t worry, the result is just as satisfyingly rich. Admittedly, it was a bit tricky at first to get the method to work out the way we wanted. Lucky for you, we’ve done all the hard work (involving a lot of cake baking, and eating too) to provide you with all the tips and tricks to get so you too can bake cake no oven required!
You just need a pressure cooker with a trivet, and bowl which will fit inside, when the lid is secured. Our stainless steel bowl fits perfectly, you could also use a pudding basin or cake tin, just as long as it is heatproof. You fill the base of the pressure cooker with water (don't fill higher than the base of your cake bowl) and steam the cake. Steaming the cake gives a lovely light, sponge texture.
••• If by now you are are like NOOOO I don't have a pressure cooker but I need cake, then it would be possible to make this cake in a basic saucepan bain marie style, or by putting the cake bowl inside a steamer. It will just take a lot longer to cook this way.
Pressure cookers can vary so we you might find that your cooking times may be a bit different from ours. Experiment to find what works for you. After cooking at high pressure for 20 mins, if you find your cake is not done, you can bring it back up to pressure and cook for a few more minutes. Or just go with a slightly gooey lava cake! We sometimes still end up with an underdone, spongy or sunken cake - once we taste it, we don’t care that much anymore. So much yum!
We are very happy to be able to bring the comfort of tasty cake with us on the road. Life is not the same without cake! Pressure cooking a cake works for every camping kitchen, however small, without the need for an oven. Thank you, Universe, for pressure cooking, and for cakes!
Banana and Chocolate Pressure Cooker Cake
- Mash the bananas until smooth
- Mix with oil, then add sugar, flour and baking powder and combine
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add into batter
- Fill your pressure cooker with the minimum water level required or about 3cm of water
- Pour the batter into a greased heatproof pudding bowl that fits on top of a trivet in your pressure cooker
- Place the bowl in the pressure cooker on the trivet, put the lid on, and then bring up to pressure.
- Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and let pressure release naturally
Have you making a cake without an oven, or tried our pressure cooker cake method? Let us know how it worked for you!
Paul and Sophie