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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Steamed Mugcakes with Blackcurrant Jam


Mugcakes?! You’ve guessed it, they are made in mugs! And they are steamed, not baked.

I’ve had Chinese steamed cakes before in my childhood days. I remember they would come in white and red. I preferred the white ones at that time. They weren’t my favourite cakes as a child. They were a bit bland and too plain for a child! But I did like them sometimes.

And so they came to my mind. But when I looked for a recipe online, all steamed cakes that I found actually contained eggs. (I thought they would!). So the challenge was to make them steam well and rise without eggs.

They turned out good on the first try and I am well pleased with them! They are much softer and moister than baked cakes and they were actually nicer than the ones I used to buy even when eaten plain.

The reason why I used mugs to steam them is because I did not have anything else! (My new kitchen is still not well equiped yet). Silicone cupcake moulds would have been perfect but then my mugs actually did an awesome job for me!

You can use silicone or metal cupcake moulds if you have them or just use mugs like I did! Make sure your mugs will stand the heat for about 35 minutes without breaking.

If you are using smaller moulds, they might take less time to steam. So, do the toothpick check (well you know, insert the toothpick in the centre and if it comes out dry, it's done!)

For steaming I used a deep pan and arranged a metal rack inside it to hold the cups.


A bamboo or normal steel steamer can also be used. My pan wasn’t tall enough for the mugs though and I finally had to turn the rack upside down, just so the mugs weren’t directly in contact with the pan, and filled the pan with water. The mugs were slightly within the water. So it was more like a bain-marie but it was fine. The cakes turned out good!

If you don't want fruit cake this Christmas (I don't know about other parts of the world but in the UK and I guess in Ireland too, fruit cake is the traditional dessert for Christmas), you could have a go at these. And if your pan is big enough you could steam more than 2 at a time.

Ingredients (2 mugcakes)


Dry mix -
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons demerara sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt

Wet mix -
½ cup (100 ml) soy milk
1½ tablespoon vinegar (I used malt vinegar)
¼ cup (50 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon black currant jam (well whisked to liquefy)

Jam glazing:

2 tablespoons blackcurrant jam (or any of your choice)
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon tapioca starch or potato flour or cornstarch

  • Start heating water in a deep pan with the rack in place.

To make the cake:

  • Mix all dry ingredients together.
  • Add the vinegar to the soy milk and let it thicken. Then add in the vegetable oil and vanilla.
  • Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix well. Do not beat.
  • Mix gently but thoroughly until no dry ingredients are left at the bottom.
  • Add the jam.
  • Fill each mug halfway. (*I just thought of adding this: it's a good idea to grease the mugs with a bit of vegetable oil or vegan margarine)
  • Place both mugs in the pan of boiling water (be careful with the steam).
  • Cover and steam for 35 minutes.
  • When uncovering the pan, lift the cover so the steam is directed away from you and avoid droplets of water from falling back onto the cakes.
  • Test with a skewer until it comes out dry. Remove from the stove and carefully remove the mugs and let cool before turning them out.


  • Arrange on serving plates.

For the glazing:

  • Place the jam and 1 tablespoon water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir and mix well until a smooth liquid is obtained but do not boil.
  • Mix the tapioca starch with 1 tablespoon water and add this in the saucepan.
  • Continue to stir until the liquid thickens.
  • Remove from heat and pour immediately over cakes.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!



  1. Those are so pretty! I love the idea of making them straight in the mugs. Genius!

  2. Is "Mugcake" a Veganlovlie original? What a great idea! And the glazed ones are beautiful.

  3. Gorgeous photos! I think I will make this sometime this week, they sound delicious and I always like to try something new. =) Great idea

  4. uhmm instead of the red colour i would prefer to put blue or yellow is blood's colour :P
    lovely cake, seems yummy :)

  5. Theresa, I'm glad I tried the mug idea!

    Ricki, I haven't seen 'mugcakes' anywhere and I thought why not try it!

    Shelby, thanks! I'd love to see people try this.

    A blue glazing? Blueberries might be nice too for glazing!

  6. Ooooh! Such a cute idea!! I will most definitely be trying these, they sound great :)

  7. these are beautiful! I have to try this technique!

  8. Awww they're beautiful! I love the idea of mugcakes!

  9. So divine! They are perfect for a tea party! Exquisite!

  10. They look great, and so nice to see a variation that isn't chocolate! I greatly prefer jam sponges.

  11. this is brilliant and awesome! wow, Lovlie! what a wonderful idea and such a beautiful creation! i love it the most! thanks for the recipe! yay!

  12. they look so yummy! I might actually try it later today :)

    have you ever made vegan cupcakes btw?

  13. V, I've made cupcakes a lot of times but I haven't posted any yet. I don't have a proper tray so they would retain their nice shape, and they all go out of shape. I try to use 2 papercups to hold them better but they are still not great, shapewise! Once I buy a proper cupcake tray, I'll post some cupcakes!

  14. Yum, I love the idea of mug cakes and the glaze looks delicious too!

  15. This idea is great, and not something I've seen before. Steaming? Yes. But not in a mug! But... Where did you get your bamboo steamer?

  16. Christina, I found this bamboo steamer in an Asian store close to my place in Dublin. I had one when I was in London too.

    I got them from a Asian/Thai/Chinese store there too.
    If you can't get one, a rack will work fine with the cups on it. Just make sure there's enough space for the steam to circulate and that the lid is well closed.

  17. Gorgeous pictures! The cakes look so moist and tasty.

  18. Ahhhhhhhh j'ai trouvé ^^, vais la noter and i will try to do this delicious cake... (oui je suis comme k-maro je parle le franglais)

  19. Yummy and beautiful! Good work!

  20. Gauri Radha गौरी राधा24 November 2010 at 03:24

    Those look so cute and so good too!!


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