These days in Japan, many people have an oven in their kitchen, but it is most likely bench-top oven, rather small and looks like a microwave. Home baking is still not very popular over there. When I was a child, no one had the oven. But my mother and grandmother used to make cakes. How? They used the steamer.

Cake Tin

18cm Round Cake Tin
*Note: You can use a Bamboo Steamer if you have one.


4 large Eggs *room temperature
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Milk
60g Butter
1 cup Self-Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon Bi-Carb Soda (Baking Soda) *IMPORTANT
2 tablespoons Raisins OR Sultanas

  1. Line the base and sides of a cake tin with baking paper. If you use a Bamboo Steamer, use a large sheet of baking paper to line.
  2. Place Milk and Butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds or until Butter melts. You can do this process using a saucepan.
  3. Beat Eggs in a large bowl. Add Brown Sugar and mix well. Add Milk & Butter mixture and mix well.
  4. Add Self-Raising Flour and Bi-Carb Soda, and mix well. *Note: Bi-Carb Soda is essential. It creates a unique flavour.
  5. Heat the steamer with enough water to steam for 20 minutes.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and scatter Raisins OR Sultanas on top. Carefully place the tin into the steamer, cover with lid and cook for 20 minutes OR until cooked through. *Note: I recommend to wrap the lid with tea towel or large cloth, so that water won’t drip onto the cake.
  7. Enjoy the cake warm, though it’s still tasty when cold.