Cup cakes being made from Steamed Cakes (Mushi Pan)
Mushi Pan- Japanese Steamed Cake used for making Cup Cakes

Do you always need an oven to bake a cake? Really? Neah.. Not really so! You can STEAM your cake rather than baking it!!

Sometimes you just wanna make something different from the old basic sponge cake and try something new, but the constant craving having homemade cakes never leaves you.  that’s where comes our superhero, steam bake cakes!


Ever heard of Japanese steamed cakes? They are called mushi pan, made with very simple ingredients like flour, eggs, milk, sugar, etc., these are the most versatile steam bake cakes. These treats may look like muffins, but – they’re not.  We call these Steamed Cakes “Mushi-pan” in Japanese.

These tiny treats look totally like muffins, however aren’t quite similar when it comes to the flavors and textures. The biggest difference between these cakes and muffins is that these delicious little treats are steamed instead of baked. Making these soft, light, spongy Japanese steamed cakes (Mushi-pan) is surprisingly easy. You can enjoy them as a healthy breakfast or after-school snack.   Choose savory or sweet based on the ingredients you use.

You could easily play with flavors when it comes to mushi pan, use spices, sweets, nuts, fruits, whatever is your personal choice. They easily go with everything!

Mushi Pan topped with chocolate and sugar
Mushi Pan topped with chocolate and sugar


Cakes can not only be made in oven but also in steamers and pressure cookers with some minor adjustments.

On absence of steamers, we could always use pressure cookers or a wide pan to steam the cakes. Just add some water to the utensil, make a base (with a baking stand or a general stand) so that the cake tin isn’t directly touching the base and heating. Remember, cake needs to be cooked with steam produced by the water and not the direct heat obtained from the induction or stove.

Once the setup is complete, you could place the cake and cover it with a lid. In case of pressure cooker, remove the whistle to all the steam to gradually pass through.

These steam bake cakes have their own advantages and disadvantages as at the end of the day, you’re messing with a classic recipe to mold it according to you. But making some minor changes, we can closely obtain the texture and flavor.  

However, there are a few differences between baked cakes and steam bake cakes, depending on personal choice, call them advantages or limitations:

  • There will be no browning + less flavor

The dry heat of the oven promotes browning. When you steam a cake, you don’t get the same browned edges as you would if it were baked. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can and does affect the flavor. Steamed cakes will have a more pure flavor of the ingredients that make up the cake. Baked cakes will have a more rounded flavor, and this is because of the browned edges.

Sample Mushi Pan- Japanese steam cake
Sample Mushi Pan Cake- Japanese Steam Cake
  • You’ll get more moist and spongier cakes

As steam bake cakes are, as the name suggests, cooked in steam, so, they tend to be more moist and spongy as compared to baked cakes. So, you get extra soft and spongy cakes in half of the time!

  • The cake will be soft and moist but dries out faster, too.

The advantage of steaming is that it’s quite fast. In fact, the speed is halved when you steam instead of bake a cake. However, the danger of steaming is that steaming can result in the loss of moisture faster since it loses it faster too as it cools. 

  • You need to add more fat

Since steamed cakes can dry out, you’ll need to add more fat (butter or oil) to retain the moisture that it loses because of evaporation as the cake cools. But don’t you worry my health conscious cravers, adding yogurt and sour cream can also help in keeping the cake moist as it cools.

  • Steam bake cakes use less sugar

As compared to baked cakes, steamed cakes use lesser sugar and thus, can be called healthier option… maybe. As not to forget, it uses more fat!

With these differences a Mushi Pan is certainly going to be a welcome break from the usual for you and your family to try out!