Steamed Honey Sponge Cake

Hope you all had a great Easter. I wanted to wish you Easter and was planning to post this recipe for Easter, but it didnt happen. I blame Jose for that. Recently whenever we go out, people are commenting that Jose has lost so much weight and then my turn comes and most people go like this ” you're looking healthy now”!! What a polished way of saying you've put on :((. Since I was getting too much “healthy” comments, I thought I should do something about it and I even compalined to Jose that I dot want to look that healthy, but my wish happened literally :(.

It all started with a kich kich in throat just like the vicks ad. Then it became worse day by day and finally one day when I got up in the morning, I lost my voice :(. Still I havent got my voice, hopefully I will get it soon. Lesson learnt, be careful about what you wish for!

Anyways I dont want to miss out wishing you on Vishu also. I know cake & vishu is not a good combo …but something is better than nothing, right :) ?

Wish you all a happy Vishu and my parents are celebrating their wedding anniversary tomorrow, happy anniversary to them, may god bless them!! I hope I will get my voice back to wish them tomorrow!

Now coming to the the cake recipe, this is a simple cake. If you're a regular visitor here, you should be knowing my love for plain cakes by now :). But that's not the main reason why I made this. I get mails/comments from readers, especially those who dont have ovens, for microwave cake recipes or pressure cooker cake recipes etc; I did try a few microwave recipes, but I was not very happy with the texture. I know, I know… so many people have posted beautiful microwave cake recipes. I really dont know where I went wrong, but somehow I was not happy with it. Thats when I saw this cake recipe in a cookery show called “the chef and his better half” on NDTVgoodtimes. Though I was very skeptical about the outcome I decided to give it a try and it came out really well. I think I liked it more on the next day. It has very good texture, its moist and spongy! So all those people who are dying to bake a cake, but dont have a oven, please go ahead and try this.

Here is the recipe:

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Steamed Honey Sponge Cake

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Course: Baking, Cake, Dessert, Sweets
Servings: 5 -6
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 150 gms Plain flour
  • 1 tbsp Custard powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 50 gms Butter (softened)
  • 150 gms Light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 3 Eggs


  • Combine together flour, custard powder, baking soda and baking powder and sift it. Keep it aside. Add brown sugar to softened butter and combine well using a whisk. Add oil and whisk. Make sure its mixed well. Add honey and vanilla essence and whisk again. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Make sure that you get a lump free batter.
  • Add the sifted flour mixture, little by little, to the egg mixture. Whisk well after each addition. Pour the prepared batter to a well greased steaming dish. Cover the dish with aluminium foil. Place the dish in a steamer/appachembu filled with water. Steam for 35 – 45 mins (refer notes). Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 – 15 mins and remove from pan. Serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzled honey.


I steamed it in low – medium flame. After the first 25 minutes, check the water level and add more water, if required. The cake should be done in 35 – 40 mins, ideally. So check it at around that time. I made the cake in a 6 inch round aluminium tin. You can store the cake at room temperature upto 3 days and can be stored in the refrigerator upto 5 days. If kept in refrigerator, microwave it for 10-15 seconds before serving.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu

Btw, if you are planning to make payasam for Vishu, please check out the following:

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  • Hi Maria,

    Is it ok to cover the cake tin with a lid instead of foil? Also, can normal sugar replace the brown one?

    Love your recipes,

  • Hi Maria,

    Is it ok to cover the cake tin with a lid? Also can normal sugar be usef instead of the brown one?


    • Hi Pooja,

      I covered the cake using al.foil, if the lid fits tightly I think it should be ok.

      Brown sugar gives the colour and a caramel flavour to the cake, but if you must then you can use regular sugar.


  • hi maria,

    i need a help from you. sometimes i will be just too bored to select recipes for lunch box… i know it’s little too much ;)…. you just suggest some combo for lunch box… for kids and the “elder kids” too :D
    Hope you understood my level of laziness :P

    • Hi Deepthi,

      Tell me about it ;) dear, the thing is I dont have much of a lunch box cooking :(

      However let me see if I can come up with something…


  • Hi Maria,

    I tried this recipe this weekend… cake came out yummy…. few additions: i took 1hr 20 minutes to steam it. that too in between i kept it on full flame. and i used powdered jaggery instead of brown sugar. the cake batter came out real good with the measurements that you gave. but i feel we should cook it in high for some time and then to medium.

    and there is another way to bake the cake without oven… take one pressure cooker (preferably an old one, bcoz if we bake so often it will damage the cooker), put some sand (manal) at the bottom… heat it in full flame till the sand becomes hot. and then keep the cake tin with batter covered with aluminum foil. and close the pressure cooker without weight and washer. and keep it on lowest flame and bake it for 30-40 min. and open it and check with a tooth pick. i tried this method of baking and was successful but at that time my batter measurements was not this good.

    Hope it will be helpful for ppl who dont have oven…

  • Good-looking cake dear often do u make cake?I love to make cakes but my hubby doesn’t. He warned me not to make cake anyone( ok for bdays).but when I see you recipe everytime I want to give it a try.Whenever I bake a cake his facial expression is like “why are you doing this over and over..because of you I am going to get cholestrol,sugar and other dreadful diseases!”

    • Hi Anu,

      Earlier, I used to bake once in a week or so, but now I bake once in 2 weeks.

      If you are worried about health, you can always try healthy baking recipes. Also when you bake, try bake a small qty, so that you dont over eat. I think if you do exercise regularly and eat moderately, it should be ok :)


    • Hi Anu,

      Earlier, I used to bake once in a week or so, but now I bake once in 2 weeks.

      If you are worried about health, you can always try healthy baking recipes. Also when you bake, try bake a small qty, so that you dont over eat. I think if you do exercise regularly and eat moderately, it should be ok :)


  • Hi Maria..
    I tried this yest and came out so well.. n tasted really mmm… My husband loved it too… thanx a lot for the recipe :)

  • Hi Maria
    I made this cake … in the oven … came out very nice .. the colour, the texture, it was awesome … somehting different from the usual plaion cakes … Thanks
    Bindu Joseph

  • Hi Megalaraju,

    Thanks for trying this recipe. I’m glad that it came out well for you. I havent tried baking in pressure cooker yet, so I’m not sure about brownies baked in pressure cooker.


  • Hai.. I tried this recipe in pressure cooker.. The result was awesome.. I got a very good sponge cake.. As you mentioned i ve done it with covering the vessel by aluminium foil. Thanks for the recipe.. Add many recipes based on the pressure cooker. Especially Brownies, Is it possible to do brownies using pressure cooker ?

  • Hi Maria,
    Can you share a healthy eggless steamed cake recipe with yeast?
    The term healthy refers to natural ingredients honey,jaggery(no butter) etc
    I love to make cakes.But couldn’t make rich cakes because of health reasons.
    Please help.

    • Hi Sumy,

      I havent used any substitutes as such. But google tells me you can use equal qty of cornflour  & may be a tsp of vanilla essence as a substitute for custard powder. Hope it works!


  • oh this cake loooks so good…gonna try this weekend…hey could u pls tell me wats bittersweet chocolate?is it dark chocolate…
    hope u will clear my doubt…. anyways keep up the good job…and plsssss try to post more steamed cake recipes…its so helpful for people like me…thanx

    • Thanks Najma. You can use the semi sweet chocolate chips bor bitter sweet chocolate, you can use chocolate with 50 % of cocoa for this. Hope your cake comes out well.

      I’ll keep in mind your suggestion for more steamed cake recipes :)


  • hey Maria,
    i tried this… bt it took 2 hrs 2 cook.. n dat too center portion was so liquidy… dont no wat happened… bt de cake tasted yummy… rly luved it… thanku.. btw.. i dint hav whisk i used mixie ;).. can it b cos of dat?

    • Hi Priyanka,

      How are you?

      I’m not sure why it took so long to cook. Did you use a small size tin for steaming? The steaming time can vary depending on the size of the tin & also the heat. Did you use very low flame? I dont think using mixie can be the problem.

      Hope it comes out fully cooked next time. Anyways its nice to know that you liked the taste.

      Wish you and your family a very happy & blessed new year!


        • Hi Silpa

          If you used 2 small size tin, its ok. I was wondering if you used a small size tin for the above qty, it will take long time to cook.

          Anyways I do hope that it comes out well next time…

          All the best!


  • Hi,

    I normally use aluminium tin, but I guess its okay to use steel tin also. Make sure you grease it with butter well.

    Hope the cake comes out well :)


  • hey,
    m planning 2 make this weekend. can u just tell me 1 thng. hre m nt getting brown sugar. so m going 2 use normal sugar. i get castor sugar too. ll dat help. if nt can u tell me qty of both can b same?

  • Hi..Maria..
    im new to this delicious world..:) i jus luv ur wonderful recipes..:) i tried many..myself nd ma hubby is very happy to taste new varieties of urs..thanks a lott..:) nd pls do add more recipies tht v al r waiting for u!!! :)

    luv nd cheers..Neethu..:)

    • Hi Neethu,

      Thanks a lot dear. I’m so glad you like the recipes here. Please keep trying the recipes and share your feedback too. Thanks for the comment also :)

      All the best!!


  • Hello Maria,
    I was so sad before that I could not bake, since my microwave doesn’t have the convection mode. Your steamed cake gave me the idea that cake can be made in this way also.. Anyway this is a revolution in my cooking :)

    • Hi Nishya,

      How are you?

      I’m really glad that this helps you. Please do try it, its a really soft cake. I hope you will like it :)


  • Hi,

    Thanks for your recepies.. tried your jaggery cake it came out ok..

    had a doubt on this one.. can the cake be steamed in a cooker without weight?

    • Hi Preethi,

      You are welcome and thanks for trying out the cinnamon jaggery cake.

      Yes, you can steam this using pressure cooker without weight. Since I haven’t tried it that way, am not very sure about the timing.


  • I tried this honey sponge cake. Total flop. the sides were brown, the cake still liquid even after 1 1/2 hours.
    Dont know what could have gone wrong

  • hii maria..
    i havent bakes any cakes before..:) my doubts may be stupid.please bear okay..:)

    my husbands’ bday is coming up.would like to bake a cake.v dont have a cake mixer or whisk..which would be better to buy?
    or i saw dis cake mixes in market,would that be good?in dat case i just need to add them?

    also softened butter means?
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Teenu,

      Advance b’day wishes to your husband!! Hope you both have a great day!

      Regarding baking the cake…I suggest you go for an electric mixer if you are planning to do baking regularly. Its very useful.

      Also if you haven’t baked yet, you can try baking initially with a ready made cake mix. It will help you to get an idea about your oven temperature and time required & all. Once you get that correct, you can bake a cake from scratch :)

      The cake mixes usually gives a moist cake. But a cake made by you from scratch is something different :)

      Softened butter is the butter kept at room temp. If the recipe calls for softened butter, keep the required amount of butter @ room temp for half an hour – 1 hour before baking. It helps in creaming the butter easily.

      Hope I haven’t confused you more and hey your doubts are not stupid dear :)

      Happy baking…


  • Hi Maria,

    You recipes are amazing i have tried lot of your recipes and have come out really well.Just wanted to ask you for the custard powder you have mentioned can be of any flavour like (strawberry) or it has to be vanila.Instead of aluminium tin can i use nonstick cake tin for steaming.


    • Hi Nimmu

      Thanks dear :)

      I used vanilla flavored custard powder for this cake but I think any flavor will do, the flavor of the cake will vary accordingly. If you prefer vanilla flavor, then its better to use vanilla custard powder itself.

      Regarding using non stick pan, I think its ok to use it for steaming.

      Please let me know how it comes out, if you try this cake.

      Happy baking :)


  • Hi Maria,
    I just happened to take a glance at ur website a few weeks ago.
    I liked the recipes especially Veg Stew.
    Regarding this recipe I just wanted to ask whether with all these ingredients in this proportion ,is it possible to bake this cake in a normal oven?
    My next trial after this cake is goin to be the omlette.I just loved that recipe…

    • Hi Sherin

      Thanks for dropping in :)

      About baking this cake in the oven, I haven’t tried it yet. But I think it should be ok. May be you can try baking it at 180 C for around 20-30 mins. If you try it in oven, please let me know how it comes out.

      Hope you will like the omelet too :)


  • Maria, i noticed your comment a bit late. I made the cake and it looked superb. Infact, no one could wait till it cool.. maybe cos of their ‘aakrantham’, the cake tasted sour at places. :-)

    seriously, my conclusion is, sifting was not proper and maybe, baking soda added was on high side.

    anyway, the cake looked superb and i feel confident that i can bake it better next time. thanks! :-)

  • Hi Maria,
    some of d dishes i ve tried at home with my mom n aunty………awesome………..:D……….thnx from my mom, aunty n my cuisines………….:)

    we ve a query……….do u ve any Good Ice-cream recipes………my auntz kids r craze abt ice-creamz………..:P…………..n am a bit poor in Ice-cream preparation……..;)………

    now u r holdin d “helm” of our cookin…….:)
    thnx maria………..:)ve a great time ahead………

  • I have a few queries:
    1. Can you tell me the flour & light brown sugar qty in cups? i don know how to weigh 150 gms (silly me) :)
    2. Can you give me an easy substitute for light brown sugar?
    3. Is there any other common term for bicarbonate of soda? (sales girl couldnt help me find it)

    • Hi Aswathy

      150 gms of flour = 1 cup & 150 gms of brown sugar is 3/4 cup (approx).

      You can substitute 1 cup of light brown sugar with the following:

      1 cup (215 grams) raw sugar

      1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar

      1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsulfured light molasses

      For light brown sugar – substitute 1/2 cup (110 grams) dark brown sugar plus 1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar

      Bicarbonate of soda is also known as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate.

      Hope this helps…

      Source: Joy of Baking.

  • Hi Maria,

    I guess I have graduated from just reading your blog to trying out your recipes. :)

    I bake cakes and often fancy ones with layering and frosting, but I have to admit that this simple recipe beats all of them. I made it for Adi’s ‘official’ birthday and packed it for him. Half an hour later, I got a SMS declaring that he could feel ‘my love melt in his mouth’ while eating it. ;) Thanks a lot for the wonderful recipes dear! :)


    • Hi Sumi

      wow!! thats so romantic :) and hey sorry for the delayed reply :(

      Belated happy b’day to Adi. Hope he had a great day!!

      I also fancy baking layered cakes with frosting n all, but somehow am tuck with the plain cakes :) and I enjoy plain cakes more.

  • Hi Maria,

    The cake looks yummy..
    Got a doubt. So i thought I would clear that first before trying this cake..
    What type of custard powder did you use?
    Is it Polson Vanilla?


  • Hi Maria,

    Take care of your health and Get well soon.I would like to know do you have a recipe for EGGLESS cake.As my family doesn’t eat eggs.Everyone are pure vegetarian.

    Thanks alot and take care.


  • hi Sakshi – thanks for dropping in and thanks for your wishes. Even my hubby was happy about my voice loss (for all the peace & calm he had at home ;) ) but after two days he too got cold. Anyways, please try out the cake and hope to see you back again.

    Hi Ann – thanks a lot for your wishes dear. Yes, we had a good easter with our friends. Hope you too had a good easter & vishu celebrations.

    Priya dear – thank you and also thanks a ton for passing me the award :)

    Hi Prathibha – thanks for dropping in and sharing the info about baking in MW. I’ve baked it in high, so I thnk that might be the problem. The texture is ok for the first two hours after baking in MW, after that moistness is gone. Anyways, I will try to use your tip, next time I bake in MW :)

    Thanks Rachel and hope you had a great easter & vishu.

    Varsha dear – thanks da for your wishes and I’ve conveyed your wishes to my parents too :). Kurachu divasamayittu aba jaba style aanu :).

    Ammu dear – thanks di and am always ready to come , send me the ticket ;)

    Asha – thanks a lot for your wishes and please do try the cake, am sure you will like it.

    Jess – thanks for dropping in and for your sweet words. Parrekshichu nokku, ennittu ennodu parayanne :)

    Thaks Ria dear and hope you too are feeling better now. Enikkum chelappo pattunathannu kothi moothu kore kazhikkum, pinne pani kittum :)

    Tinu – I thnk she is busy with some personal matters.

  • Maria, I really loved the look of this cake! Looks very very moist! Seems like we were in the same boat… I was down with food poisoning! :( kodhi mooothu oru motta puffs thinnatha!! ahhh.. enna cheyyana ;D

    Hope u get ur voice back soon!! I knw exactly how u must be feeling now cos I have lost mine many a time :D

    Belated happy wedding anniversary wishes to your parents!!!


  • ithu kollaam.. njaanum pareekshikkaam. photo kollaam ketto..

    aadyam malayaalaththil type cheythath display aayilla.

  • Aah.. the power of words! Hope you recover soon.
    The cake looks so tempting, and I have only baked cakes, I need to try this. Absolutely lovely photograph and presentation too.
    Thank you!

  • So..Easter asichu policho??Wow..look at that cake..looks like a honey comb..yumm..n sad that u lost voice my dear..Get well soon ..k??
    My wishes also to your parents..If you still dont have the sound to wish them,mebe you can try the “aba..jaba..” style..(refer Dileep in Punjabi house..:D)

  • I used vahchef’s recipe for sponge cake, he bakes it in oven but I made it in MW :) and even without eggs, it comes out well. I think you should adjust the temp. Try cooking it in low. I have heard ppl saying cooking a cake in high is good, but it rarely has a nice texture. So i prefer cooking it on low for 12-15min and its usually done by that time.

  • Hi Maria,

    Even I made a plain sponge cake today.. that too in microwave.. it came out well.. I dont have problems with the texture like you mentioned. I dont use the oven anymore, as I get the same kind of cakes in less time :) In a microwave, a cake can be baked on low within 12-15min, with a nice texture.

  • Maria,get well soon…
    The steamed cake looks too yummy to resist…oops..would love to have a piece..
    happy vishu to you as well..(hope you celebrated easter as well)

  • Wow a cake that can be steamed.unbelievable!! That shows how ignorant I am about baking and all. But your pic is tempting me so much to tie the apron and try this one out. Gosh you said you lost your voice…my my how badly my husband would be wishing for something like that to happen to me…Hope you get well soon and yeah even though this is my first time here will be back

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