In the Big Man's Blog, there's a recipe for Banana Bread Muffins, which I'd love to make. The problem is the very first item below, since I have no oven. I have a microwave and an induction stove (and can obtain an insertion for the pot for steam cooking). No heated oven, though, regrettably.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line up muffin liners and grease lightly.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour batter into muffin liners until close to the top.
  4. Top with extra chocolate chunks and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top.

Is there a way to cheat around this problem using the available equipment? I've read blogs showing how some people describe black magic work-arounds but I'm not sure if they actually made it and also if perhaps the tricks work for their cakes and not in a general case.

3 Answers 3


You can actually steam a lot of cakes. The basic idea is seal the cake pan tightly with foil (or even plastic wrap if your can handle the temperature) and then place it in your steamer insert/basket. I find it takes about 40 min for it to cook all the way through. Makes for a super moist and fluffy cake. Here’s a random example I found online. Paper in reference to streaming gluten free cakes (which is where I first got the idea)

  • 1
    I'm with you on this, I have made many steamed puddings (basically cakes), like sticky toffee pudding and a sticky apple pudding which are delicious. I may try a banana one next, that's an interesting idea!
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 18:34
  • Is that applicable for yeast based cakes too or only baking powder based? Also, whenyou say tightly, is it to prevent the water raining down into the batter? Or is the trick to have it hermetically inclosed not letting the steam to touch the cake? Is it the temperature from the steam that does it or is it the moist from the steam that's the main point? Also-also, why do people go with heat oven instead of steamer if the latter provides for the moistest version? Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:52
  • @GdD Please do and let us know. I'll be doing mine this weekend and I'd love to have your findings and observations prior to my baking adventure. I'd really hate to screw up. Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:53
  • @KonradViltersten I’ve only done it with baking powder but I would assume it would work for yeast risen cakes also. If you don’t rightly seal it then it stays too wet and never really cooks. But it doesn’t need to be hermetically sealed. The idea is the steam cooks it. Somehow reading your question I missed that it was about muffins (not sure how I managed that). Muffins are a very different beast than cupcakes or cake and I don’t know that this method is really the right one for the texture muffins usually are going for.
    – mroll
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 4:16
  • Well, it's a good thing you missed that because I'm actually aiming at cakes in general. In fact, I thought that muffin was just another name for cupcake, so I'm not even aware of the distinction (I'll look it up right now). So your suggestions are still fully spot-on. Just a clarification when you said that the steam does the cooking. Is it the moisture of the steam or the heat of the steam that is the main agent doing the cooking? Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 4:32

If you have an option of 'convection' in microwave settings then you can adjust the temperature (in °C or °F) and hence use that as oven. Also cakes/muffins can be made in the same way, in microwave but then in microwave proof vessels. For that you may take a microwave proof container say a square plate, grease it and pour the batter. The plate should have a height or else, the batter will come out. Now you can set the microwave at the given temperature. But now microwave takes a lot less time to bake. I had made a banana cake in microwave and it was baked in only 5 minutes. So you will have to keep checking after 2-3 minutes. On induction, you can take a big pan, with a sufficient height. Pour 2-3 glasses of water and allow it to boil. Now keep the container with the batter in it such that it should not touch the water inside the pan. For that I generally use an inverted bowl inside the pan, and on the bowl I will keep the container with the cake batter. Now close the lid of pan. With the steam the cake will be baked. Also usually in my case it takes 30-40 minutes to bake in these cases. Hence you should keep checking after 30 minutes

  • I can get one of those to be able to steam up my cake. You say 30-40 minutes, so a bit longer than the conventional oven, right? Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:44
  • You mention two approaches so I'm posting one comment to each. What do you mean by convection? I have a high-end micro from Samsung in Chief Collection so I might have that. However, when you speak degrees, you lose me. On my micro, I can set the effekt in Watt, though. Is that sufficient? Please elaborate. The micro version would be most fun to make to work as it produces less dishes and seems to go quicker. But I can't see how e.g. yeast will do under the radiation there. Then, maybe I have to go cooktop way? Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:47
  • See, about the pan on induction check this out. The link which you have given, the utensil seems fine. Also the recipe example which I have shared, in that the cake took 70 minutes, but that depends on wich one you are making
    – Ojasvi
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 20:08
  • And this one too
    – Ojasvi
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 20:17
  • About the microwave, mine is of IFB, having three modes- Microwave, Grill and Convection. The one which you have, I checked it on google, and if yours one has that convection mode it would be written on the instrument or in the manual.
    – Ojasvi
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 20:21

This is pure conjecture, as I've not actually tried doing this.

Muffins are quickbreads, and as such, are fairly similar to cake.

And there are a lot of recipes out there where people make cupcakes n a mug then microwave it.

Serious Eat's directions for microwaving a cake in a mug are:

Wipe inside rim of cup to remove excess batter. Microwave on High power until cake has risen and looks moist (not wet) on top, checking every 30 seconds, about 1 to 2 minutes. Avoid overcooking or it will be dry. Let rest to cool briefly before topping with ice cream and eating.

... but the time is also going to be dependent on the amount that you put into each cup, and the dimensions of the mug (tall & slender vs. short & wide), but I would make them one a time and experiment with the time as you use up your batter.

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