Are you craving a delicious fruit cake but don’t have access to an oven? No worries! You can still bake a mouth-watering dessert using various cooking techniques, like steaming.
In this article, I’ll explain how to make a fruit cake without an oven using three methods. From the cooking temperature to the baking time, keep reading for all the details!
Baking a fruit cake without an oven is pretty straightforward. You don’t need to alter your favorite recipe.
All you do is mix the batter and use a steamer, slow cooker, or pressure cooker for a no-oven fruit cake!
Here’s a detailed explanation of each step:
Regardless of the dried fruit you use, you need to soak it before mixing to keep the batter moist. If you skip this step, the cake will become crumbly once baked.
You can use boiling water, fresh juice, or any other liquid you prefer to add flavor.
All you do is combine the fruits with the liquid in a medium-sized bowl. Cover the container and let the mix soak overnight or for 20 minutes if you’re short on time.
Traditional fruit cake recipes contain butter and brown sugar. Creaming these two ingredients is essential for a heavenly, fluffy cake texture.
Simply use a mixer to cream room-temperature butter with sugar for around 7 minutes.
Once the batter is light in color and fluffy, add one egg at a time and continue mixing. Then, add the fruits, nuts, lemon zest, or any other flavorings. Make sure to use a folding technique to prevent trapped air from escaping.
Mixing the dry ingredients ensures the leavening agents are evenly dispersed throughout the batter. It also helps break down lumps and clumps, ensuring the dry ingredients mix well with the liquids.
All you do is add the flour, leavening agents, and spices to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the mixture for around a minute to distribute all the components evenly.
Afterward, fold the dry ingredients into the wet batter using a spatula. Mix them until they’re fully combined.
Like any cake batter, you need to bake it immediately to ensure the leaving agents are still active and all the entrapped gas is still present.
For that reason, always preheat any of the three pieces of equipment mentioned before mixing the batter.
It’s worth mentioning that those alternatives won’t produce the same cake texture and structure as oven-baked fruit cake. However, the result is still delicious; you might even prefer them more than the traditional baking method!
Here’s how to use each alternative to bake a fruit cake:
Steaming a cake will cook it all the way through, but it won’t give it a crispy, golden-brown crust. Instead, you’ll have a dense, soft cake since you’re using moist heat.
The cake will have the original taste of all the flavorings added. However, it’ll lack the unique caramelized flavor of the Maillard reaction since steamers usually operate at lower temperatures than ovens.
The good news is that you can steam the fruit cake even if you don’t have a steamer. Here’s what you need to do:
- Fill a large stockpot with 2-3 inches of water and bring it to a boil.
- Place a steamer basket on the pot and reduce the heat to medium. The bottom shouldn’t touch the boiling water.
- Cover the stockpot with its lid to prevent the water from evaporating.
- Grease a baking pan and prepare the cake batter as mentioned above.
- Add the mixture to the pan and cover it with the steamer basket.
- Use aluminum foil to tightly seal the basket to the pan. This step is crucial to prevent excess moisture from seeping into the cake container and ruining the batter.
- Place the pan inside the stockpot and steam for 30-45 minutes on medium heat. The former conditions are suitable for an 8-inch baking pan.
Similar to a steamer, slow cookers also have lower temperatures than ovens. As a result, the cake will come out extra moist.
However, you still get to enjoy brown edges since the batter is directly cooking in the crock pot—no water bath is needed. Still, the upper crust remains slightly white since the cooking conditions aren’t completely dry.
Here’s how to use a slow cooker to bake a fruit cake:
- Grease the container or line it with parchment paper.
- Pour the cake mix into the slow cooker and spread it.
- Cover the container with a kitchen towel or paper towel. That ensures the lid is tightly secured and no condensed water falls onto the cake as it cooks.
- Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it to high heat.
- Let the cake bake for 2-3 hours, and avoid uncovering the container.
As surprising as it may seem, you can use a pressure cooker for baking! The cake comes out soft without any sogginess.
So, this cooking method might be a suitable option if you’re a fan of a fudgy cake texture.
To use a pressure cooker for baking, here’s what you need to do:
- Remove the gasket and whistle since you won’t use liquids for cooking.
- Spread around 1 1/2 cups of salt at the base of the container for an insulation layer.
- Put a metal stand on the stove to distribute heat evenly and prevent the cake from burning.
- Heat the pressure cooker with the lid on for 2-5 minutes.
- Grease a baking pan or use parchment paper and pour the batter.
- Carefully place the pan inside the cooker and let it cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Once the cake rises, switch to low heat and let it cook as indicated in the recipe.
Yes! You can cook a fruit cake in the microwave, although it’ll come out slightly softer than usual. Of course, make sure to use microwave-safe cooking ware.
Adjust the temperature and baking time according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, generally, it won’t take more than 10 minutes for the batter to cook.
Not only is it possible to bake a fruit cake in an air fryer, but it also provides similar results as an oven. Since the former uses dry heat, the cake comes out with a crispy crust, even more so than when baked in an oven!
Make sure to preheat the air fryer to 320ºF or as instructed by the manufacturer for five minutes.
Then, bake the batter for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. You can use the toothpick test to ensure it’s cooked well in the middle.
Figuring out how to make a fruit cake without an oven is straightforward. With alternative methods like steaming, pressure cooking, and slow cooking, you can bake a soft, moist fruit cake that’s equally delicious as an oven-baked dessert.
Alternatively, use an air fryer to achieve a golden-brown, crispy crust. Whichever option you choose, all those cooking methods will help you bake a delectable treat without the need for traditional baking!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.