I baked a cake in my barbecue.

August 28, 2012 · 14 comments

I have baked very few cakes in my life, and of those, I’d say a good majority came out of boxes (in my childhood, never as an adult). I’m not particularly comfortable with cake baking in general. I don’t know if my standards are too high or what, but it seems to me like eating a slice of mediocre cake is just a waste of calories. Add to that the fact that I don’t have a mixer or an oven (no electricity or space in my house), and at some point, I kinda decided that cakes were something too tough to tackle without the right skills, experience, and equipment.

I’m not sure why I changed my mind. Maybe it was my recent string of successes with pie baking or the steady stream of gorgeous cakes in my Pinterest feed, but somehow baking a cake in my barbecue began to seem slightly less daunting. Then I came across this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, and I decided to try it.

I made the batter without a mixer (as per Heidi’s recipe), and I baked it in an angel food cake pan that I bought at a thrift store a while back for $2.In the grill, I first put down a few fire bricks, and then my Lodge pizza pan went under the cake pan (kinda like the photos in this post) to shield the cake from too much direct heat. After about 40 minutes, it was cooked through without any burnt edges.

The cake itself was hearty, almost dense. In my opinion, that was a good thing. My cake wasn’t nearly as pretty as Heidi’s in part because I don’t have all the specialized pans and tools. If I’m going to be serious about this cake-baking thing I’ll not only have to buy some stuff (probably at thrift stores), but I’ll also have to find a place to keep it all. We’ll see how motivated I am.

My awesome brother in law was at our house when the cake came out of the “oven”, and being a total gearhead, he immediately started scheming on how to rig up a cordless drill with beaters as an alternative mixer. Again, I can’t promise anything, but it’s an interesting idea.

I knew the kids would be happy with any kind of cake, even something I would consider a failure, but this one got rave reviews.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

mel August 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

Love the photos of the kids in sheer enjoy mode. They are so focused on that chocolatey wonder that they couldn’t care less about your taking their photo—now that is true appreciation. ; )

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Julia (Schnake) Larsen August 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

It looks delicious; well done. I know ladies in Tanzania who bake cakes for special occasions in a small pot inside a big pot (the ‘oven’) over an open fire/coals. They mix the batter with a wooden spoon in a plastic bucket, and do all this without a recipe or access to “fancy” ingredients like butter or vanilla. Granted, the cakes turn out pretty dry and tasteless, but their resourcefulness is remarkable.

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Camille September 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Julia, I’ve got to call you and get together. Are you still around?

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abby August 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Oh my gosh, that looks totally amazing. Your kids are so intent on their cakes : ) and Charlotte’s boots are super endearing.

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tillie August 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I just want to tell you that I think you are amazing, resourceful and inspiring. I live in northern California and with the many fires burning nearby, our electricity has been off frequently. I used your barbeque trick to bake our fish for dinner on one of those nights and it worked perfectly. Thank you and many blessings to you and your family.
p.s. I also love Charlotte’s boots!

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Camille September 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Glad my example is helping you out. Thanks for your kind words.

I have no idea why she’s wearing rubber boots on such a nice day, but she definitely has her own opinions about everything.

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Katy August 30, 2012 at 9:27 am

Thank you for sharing the things that you manage to bake on the grill. We’re in the process of building our first house and we’re considering the grill option instead of an oven and you make it seem perfectly reasonable. plus that cake looks delicious.

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Camille September 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I really would not advocate for an oven-less kitchen. We don’t have an oven and don’t really have the option of getting one, so I make do with what I have, but given the choice (if I were building my own house), I would definitely make room for an oven. Using a grill for an oven is doable but probably something short of “reasonable”.

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mae August 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I love seeing your BBQ achievements. This made me think of you… maybe next time you’re feeling ambitious? http://www.theforestfeast.com/post/30537487997/tomato-parmesan-quiche

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Camille September 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm
Lynn Russell September 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm

That cake looks delicious, Camille! I don’t think you can go wrong with Heidi’s recipes, but I’m extra impressed with your barbecue baking skills :)

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Camille September 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I’m still learning, but it’s pretty fun.

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Ann October 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I think her boots are on backwards. ;)

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Teri March 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

Ok I love the wrong feet boots! ;-)

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