When you’re waking up covered in a light sheen of sweat to the deep-voiced man on the radio announcing “it’s already 80 degrees with a high of 99” your desire to turn on the oven turns to negative 20 degrees. Particularly when you are trying to keep costs down in the form of taming the resource-sucking A/C beast. Yet somehow, my desire for cake does not function in the same manner.
It’s true that I crave a lot more fruit, icy desserts and cool dishes in the summer. But sometimes, stumbling upon one awesome blog leads to cravings for oatmeal which leads to areyoucrazyit’samilliondegreesoutside which leads to CAKE. (as all good roads do.)
Then the idea of steaming the cake occurred to me—a common method for many Asian cakes. While I’m actually not the biggest fan of many chiffon-style Asian cakes (there is a time and place for sponge cakes and usually I’m in gooey chocolate mode, where we have no time or place for that), it turns out that, when steamed, a tangle of mashed banana, a little oat flour and some cocoa turns into a gooey, moist mass of what could very well fool someone into thinking is full-on indulgent cake.
By looks, at least. It is a naturally sweetened cake, after all. Stuffing the center with chocolate chips really ups the richness quotient and gives you an extra gooey (if not quite molten) center. Left plain, it’s completely breakfast-approved by my standards. Despite my best efforts, I’ve never been a fan of baked oatmeal (the original inspiration for this recipe)—past experiences have left me cold thanks to slimy oat bits or a dried-out crust. Steaming this cake obliterates any chance of dryness since it’s cooked with wet heat, and using oat flour in place of oats eliminates the slime factor of baked oats in favor of a cakey texture.
Even when I split this into two portions, I found it extremely satisfying, though I’ve also definitely eaten one giant cake by myself. I’ve topped it with Greek yogurt and peanuts, ice cream, and in this picture, leftover custard from a blueberry tart. You really can’t go wrong!
PS. Shout out to a certain miss who has been killing it with her step-by-step photography and inspired a lot of these photos! <3
My steamer kind of looks like this, though you don’t need to invest in a steamer to steam things! Food52 has an awesome article on how to hack a steamer. But steamer inserts are quite reasonably priced, and steaming gives you the benefits of saving major energy compared to turning on the oven for one tiny cake as well as making things incredibly moist.
A chocolate-y oat-based cake that's sweetened with banana and steamed for a low-energy, extra-moist cake.
- 1/3 cup ripe banana, mashed (this is usually nearly a full medium-sized banana for me)
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup oat flour
- 1 heaping tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chocolate chips, optional
- pinch of espresso, optional
Mash the banana until smooth. Whisk in the milk and vanilla.
Stir in the oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Pour batter into a large, greased ramekin (or divide batter into two normal-sized ramekins). For an extra-gooey center, pour in half the batter, place chocolate chips in the middle, and cover with the rest of the batter.
Fill the bottom of your steamer with water and turn on high. Once the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium and put your cake into the steamer basket. Steam for 15-20 minutes, or until cake is fairly firm to the touch (if you press it with a spoon, it shouldn't jiggle, unless you want a really undercooked cake). Feel free to under-steam it if you like since this is also really similar to any basic overnight oat recipe, which you can eat raw.
Adapted from The Oatmeal Artist.