Thursday, June 30, 2016

Like Violet Kwan Lana Cake Chocolate Cake - The Steamed Version (Ultra Moist and Fudgy!)

If you are a Singaporean and love moist and fudgy chocolate cakes, you might have known Lana Cakes. Do you?

Located in 36 Greenwood Avenue in Singapore, Lana Cake Shop is an old school bakery famous for its ultra moist chocolate cakes which are also nicely frosted with thick, smooth, shiny, dark and fudgy chocolate frosting. Many chocolate cake lovers said that the Lana's chocolate cakes are like the Awfully Chocolate chocolate cake. Hmmm... kind of but I can detect the slight difference in them. To me, Lana's cake is fluffier in texture and lighter in taste and its chocolate fudge frosting is rather old school with a hint of jelly-like of texture. Whereas, AC's is more modern with denser and more fudgy texture and also stronger chocolaty taste. You think?

Based on this article that was published in Feb 2016, Mrs Violet Kwan, the owner of Lana cake shop said that she is retiring. Since 1964, she has been selling about 100 cakes a day, mostly chocolate ones and she is looking for a successor. I sincerely hope that she can find someone that will cherish her shop and also famous recipe because I really wish that her legacy won't vanish into nothing once she stopped baking!

Have I been eating Lana's chocolate cakes? Yes and heaps!!! I was the fat kid who often requested my father to buy the Lana's cakes for our birthdays or any celebrations and whenever I suggested Lana's cakes, there was always no objection. Speaking of Lana's cakes now, I feel like drooling again... Gosh!

You might ask... If Lana's chocolate cake is so popular, there must be a copycat Lana chocolate cake recipe and you are absolutely right!!! If you search "lana cake recipe" at Google, you will find several different chocolate cake recipes and one of them is this popular steamed chocolate cake recipe by Cookie Fleur and this similar steamed chocolate cake recipe can be found at here and here.

True enough... this heavenly steamed chocolate cake is ultra moist, fudgy and delicious but is it similar to Lana's chocolate cake?

violet kwan lana chocolate steamed cake
Like Violet Kwan Lana Cake Chocolate Cake - The Steamed Version

Say that I'm fussy or critical because I would say that this moist chocolate cake is only 70% like Lana's all because it is an ultra moist chocolate cake. Please don't get me wrong... This cake is very delicious but I have to honestly say that it is not 100% Lana's!!!

Why 70%? I will tell you...

Starting from 100%, I'm deducing 10% because this chocolate frosting is too runny. Even when the cake is fully chilled, the chocolate frosting is still pretty runny. I remember Lana's chocolate frosting is dark, smooth, a little jelly-like and it should be firm enough to be piped into patterns and should be something like this chocolate frosting that I have made before but need to be darker and more jelly-like. This runny frosting? Not so Lana's leh...

Next, I'm deducing 10% because this cake is way too dense and fudgy. I remember Lana's cake is a little fluffier in its texture and I reckon this one is more like Awfully Chocolate's.

Last, I'm deducing another 10% because this cake is way too rich in its taste. Remember that I have said that Lana's cake is old school? Yeah because most old school cakes aren't as rich like this kind of cake.

On second though, do think that Lana chocolate cake is better than this cake? You know what? Both can fight!!! ... because both are good in their different ways.

Lana = nostalgic and this cake is not!
This cake = luscious and indulging and Lana is more humble and homely!

See the differences?

If you are one of chocolate lovers who think all chocolate cakes are the same or all chocolaty or fudge chocolate cakes are nice, I'm sorry to say that we don't speak the same language here :p Different chocolate cakes are different!!! And we should appreciate and enjoy different chocolate cakes very differently :)

Whether this chocolate cake is more or less like Lana's, I'm happy that I have made this heavenly moist cake. Plus I had learned something valuable here that I can't help to suspect that the moist chocolate cake like Lana's cake might be actually steamed!!!??? You think? No one except Mrs Violet Kwan knows... LOL!

Me no Mrs Violet Kwan and so this is how I steamed this cake... LOL!

Instead of butter, I have used rice bran oil to make this cake.
There won't much difference if you use butter but butter will make the cake richer with more milky taste.
First, I did this.
Then I did this.
And I steamed the cake! So easy!!!
Remove cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling, I made the chocolate glaze. This chocolate glaze is so runny that I don't even call it a frosting!

Ingredients to make the glaze.
Combine all and cook until it reaches its smooth and thick consistency.
Coat the cake with the glaze.
Transfer into a serving plate and chill until the glaze is slightly firm.

Did I said that making this cake is easy? Yes I did and you will see that this cake is so easy to make in my one-minute video. Enjoy...

Sorry that I don't have a picture showing a slice of this cake as I have made this for a birthday celebration. Having said that, I still have something to show you... and it is a picture of some delicious "waste" that I enjoyed after I assembled this cake.

violet kwan lana chocolate steamed cake
I'm not wasting any part of this cake :p
This is a piece of the trimmed cake top that is served with some leftover glaze.
Not so glam but yet still so heavenly!

Want something more like Lana Cake?

It can be a new mission for me to pursue but I'm actually quite happy with this steamed chocolate cake recipe at this moment.

I have seen a few other steamed chocolate cake recipe at here, here and here with different combination of ingredients and / or a reduced amount of flour added and would love to see that they can make fluffier and lighter chocolate steamed cake in the future. Well, we'll see...

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from Cookie Fleur

Makes one 15 x 15 cm or one 16 cm round cake

For the cake:
3/4 cup (180ml) vegetable oil, preferably neutral tasting and smooth like rice bran oil or sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
3/4 cup (150g) raw caster sugar (or regular white caster sugar)
3/4 cup (180ml) regular evaporated milk (not fat reduced and 180ml is about half a can)
2 large eggs, about 70g each with shell and lightly beaten
3/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste
1 cup (150g) all purpose or plain flour
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process (I used Valrhona)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

For the gooey cocoa glaze:
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder, sifted and preferably Dutch process (I used Valrhona)
200g regular condensed milk (not fat reduced)
2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil, preferably neutral tasting and smooth like rice bran oil or sunflower oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
To make the cake:

Grease the inside of your cake pan by brushing a coating of oil and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of baking paper. Set up a large steamer with boiling water.

Add oil, sugar and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Place the saucepan over a low heat and use a hand whisk to whisk mixture while cooking until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from the heat. Allow mixture to cool until it is nearly like room temperature or cool enough to touch.

Add eggs and vanilla into the oil mixture and whisk until combined.

In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift flour mixture into the oil mixture and whisk until all are just combined. Do not over mix. Please note that the cake batter will be runny.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and place the pan into the steamer. Cover pan with a large piece of baking paper so that the water vapour from the steam won't wet the cake batter. Steam with medium low heat for 90 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the steamer and allow it to cool completely in the pan before removing it onto a wire rack. It is important to wait for the cake to cool completely before pouring the glaze on it.

To make the gooey cocoa glaze:

Place cocoa powder, condensed milk, oil and salt in a saucepan and place the saucepan over a low heat. Keep stirring or whisking while cooking the mixture until it is smooth and shiny. Important: Do not boil mixture!!! Once ready, remove saucepan from the heat. Stir in vanilla and allow mixture to cool to a stage when it is still gooey and not too stiff to coat the cake. If mixture is too stiff to use, warm it up a little until it reaches its ideal consistency.

To assemble:

Use a serrated knife to trim the dome top of the cake into a flat top.

Place cake on a wire rack with a lined tray placed at the bottom of the rack to collect any excessive glaze. Pour glaze to coat the cake and use a spatula to coat the glaze at the side of the cake. The cake is not coated enough? Collect the excessive glaze and reuse it by pouring onto the cake again until the cake is well coated with a good amount of glaze. If the glaze is too stiff to use, warm it up a little until it is smooth and gooey again.

Allow the glaze to set slightly onto the cake at room temperature for about 30 mins. Transfer cake onto a serving plate and chill the cake until the glaze is set enough. 

Slice and serve.

Store any uneaten in the fridge in airtight container for up to 5 days and you will surprise that it is still moist!!!

Happy Steaming 
Please support me and like me at Facebook...


  1. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. i am too much interested in cooking and crazy to try new items. This is something different and interesting. thanks for this wonderful items. Expecting more and waiting for that :) Keep trying and sharing :)

  2. Thanks ur recipe,im looking for cocoa glaze making by cocoa powder,cx many recipe is making from chocolate bar,cocoa powder will more easy to do it~like it so much~

  3. How much butter if not using oil?

    1. Same amount of the oil. 180g butter replace 180ml oil.

  4. ooooh yumm , have to take down the address of this Lana cake shop then, we might be heading to singapore end of this year, hubby hinted he might have a conference so hoping to tag along.

  5. looks so moist ,airy and yummy zoe

  6. Hi Zoe,
    This chocolatey cake with gooey cocoa glaze really look so tempting ! I'll just a have mounthful ... hee .. hee..

  7. Really enjoy reading your blog.

  8. Wow....! This looks so tempting and I feel to grab it.... :)

  9. I totally love moist cakes, and that too anything with evaporated milk always seems to have an edge... I would have eaten up that whole cake...

  10. Hi, can this be made into a 4 layers cake and frosted with Italian meringue buttercream?

    1. Hi,

      I have not try using this recipe to make layer cake before and can't tell if it is going to work or not. This cake is very moist and fudgy and might be difficult for you to cut into 4 equal layers and I reckon the cake base might too heavy to be placed on any silky buttercream but if you want to try, please do.


    2. Have you tried it? I want to know how it turned out cuz I'm planning to do something like that

  11. Looks so yummy! Have a lovely week, babe! xoxo

  12. Zoe, this is so gorgeous. Tomorrow is Hari Raya. I'm going to make this gooey fudgy lana cake! :D

  13. Swooonn......Zoe, I am on a diet but I am starting to change my mind LOL!

  14. Hi

    How long do I need to steam my cake if I'm using a 23cm cake pan?

    1. Hi Leng, Sorry that I have not tried steaming this cake with such a large cake pan to steam this recipe into a very shallow cake and won't know the best timing to steam it. Depending on the steaming heat that you used, the best thing to do is to keep checking and steam until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cheers!

  15. Hi, can I use self raising cake flour to replace all purpose flour?

    1. Hi,

      SR cake flour and all purpose flour are both very different flour. I have not try making this cake with SR flour without the baking powder and soda and so I can't comment further to say whether it will work or not. Sorry!


  16. Thank you so much!
    Will attempt this for my mum's birthday !!!!
    We all love moist cakes :))

  17. Thank you for sharing the detailed recipe. I have followed it closely! My neighbour commented the texture was good and soft! I have only tested out the cake, glaze will be next experiment. Any suggestion why my cake has many holes on the surface? Is it because I open the lid of the steamer 2-3 times to check if water is sufficient?

    1. Hi Ai Ling, The big holes on and in the cake might be caused by 1) over-mixing and the gluten get toughened after over-working or 2) the baking powder and soda are not mixed into the batter thoroughly. To avoid this, you can give your filled cake pan a gentle tap before steaming it. And, don't over-mix the batter and must sift in the dry ingredients. Cheers!

    2. Thank you for your suggestions. Will do so in experiment number 2!

  18. Hi Zoe,I just made this and love it! I credited the recipe to your site, on Instagram but somehow it doesn't show up as a link. Thank you anyway... what an awesome recipe! Not too sweet, yet chocolatey and has how old-school texture!