Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake

I learned how to make this cake while living in Okinawa. It has become a family favorite although this is not the prettiest cake in the world, it is most likely the crumbless and it really is “sponge” cake. Cube it up for a great snack for kids on the go with no mess (don’t frost or glaze it) or for a chocolate fondue. Add some red dye and this fakes as a “brain” for halloween!

Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake


  • 8 eggs or equal amount of egg substitues
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar, separated
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 sheet cellophane wrap
  • Flavored extracts of your choice, vanilla, almond, and lemon are favorites


  1. Prepare: Must have a bamboo steamer. These are pretty common nowadays if you look for them. Make sure your cake pan will fit in your steamer and that you have a pan that your steamer will fit on. Your steamer should be tall enough for the cake pan plus an additional 3 inches in height for the rise of the cake. Be sure to have enough water in the pan to boil for 40+ minutes without going dry. The steam will “bake” the cake.
  2. 1. With a hand or electric mixer. Beat the eggs until foamy. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat until dissolved. Mix in the oil, baking powder, flour, and the other 1/2 cup of sugar until well blended. Add your choice of extract to taste (1/2 to 1 teaspoon should do it – try mixing flavors!), mix.
  3. 2. Line a round cake pan with cellophane and pour in the batter. Place the filled pan in a steamer and cover with steamed lid and steam over high heat for 40 minutes. Do not let the pan boil dry.
  4. 3. When the 40 minutes is up, test the cake for doneness with a cake tester (long toothpick). Warning! Steam is very hot, steamer will be very hot, pan will be very hot, handle with caution! Remove pan from steamer. Remove cake from pan by lifting out by the overhanging cellophane. Transfer to wire rack for cooling. (I find that if the cake sits in the pan it will get kind of soggy). At this point (while still warm) you can plate and glaze this cake or let it cool completely and cut and eat or dip pieces in chocolate or what ever you want. It is great just plain!



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