You’ve probably heard of cooking hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, but have you ever considered baking a cake? Yes, you read that right. You can actually bake a cake over a campfire, and it’s not as complicated as you might think.
While it might seem like an odd idea, baking a cake over a campfire can be a fun and unique experience for everyone. Not only does it offer a challenge, but it’s also a great way to impress your friends and family with your outdoor cooking skills. Plus, who doesn’t love cake?
So, can you really cook a cake over a campfire? The answer is yes! There are several methods you can use to bake a cake over an open flame, including Dutch ovens, double cast iron skillets, and even makeshift ovens. With a little creativity and some basic baking knowledge, you can whip up a delicious cake that will have everyone asking for seconds.
So you want to bake a cake over a campfire? It’s not as hard as you might think. My sister is the one who first showed us how it is done, and there are a few things you need before you get started.
What You Need
First things first: you need the right equipment. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Cake mix: Well, you can’t make a cake without the mix!
- Eggs: You’ll need these to bind the cake mix together.
- Water: Again, you need this to mix with the cake mix.
- Oil or butter This is what will give your cake its moisture and flavor.
- Cake pan: You need something to bake the cake in!
- Aluminum foil: You’ll use this to cover the cake and protect it from the flames.
- Cookware: You need something to cook the cake on. We’ll get to that in the next section.
Choosing the Right Cookware
Now that you have your ingredients, it’s time to choose the right cookware. Choose the option that works best for you, they each have their own challenges. If you are trying to keep it simple I strongly recommend either a dutch oven or the double cast iron skillets. Our success with those have been very high while mug cakes and foil wrapped cakes are pretty hit or miss. Here are a few options for cookware:
- Dutch oven: This is a classic choice for campfire cooking. It’s a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid that can be used to bake cakes, bread, and more.
- Double cast iron skillet: You can use this to create a makeshift oven. Place the cake batter in one skillet, then place another skillet on top of it. Place the skillets over the fire and let the cake bake.
- Makeshift oven: You can create a makeshift oven by digging a hole in the ground and lining it with rocks. Build a fire in the hole and let it burn down to coals. Place the cake pan on top of the coals and cover it with a metal sheet or more rocks.
- Foil wrapped: If you don’t want to carry a lot of gear you can bake directly inside an aluminum foil wrapping.
- Mug cakes: If you don’t want to mess with cookware, you can always make mug cakes. Mix the cake batter in a mug and cook it over the fire.
I get it if you don’t want to lug a heavy Dutch oven or cast iron out to camp and home. If you are looking for a lightweight camping cookware set this one has everything you need to cook a cake and more.
Camping Cookware Set - Compact Stainless Steel Campfire Cooking Pots and Pans | Combo Kit with Travel Tote Bag | Rugged Outdoor Cook Set for Hiking | Barbecues | Beach
A Basic Campfire Cake Recipe
So, you want to bake a cake over a campfire? Well, you’re in luck because we’ve got the perfect recipe for you. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 box of cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
- Aluminum foil
- Cooking spray
Now that you’ve got your ingredients, it’s time to get started.
- Start by preparing your campfire. You’ll want to have a good bed of hot coals to cook on.
- Next, mix your cake batter according to the instructions on the box.
For Dutch Oven or Double Cast Iron Skillet
- Coat the inside of the Dutch oven with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking. Make sure the Dutch oven is clean and dry.
- Place the Dutch oven over the campfire: Carefully place the Dutch oven on the cooking grate over the hot coals or charcoal briquettes. Make sure the Dutch oven is stable and level.
- Add heat on top: Place a few hot coals or briquettes on top of the Dutch oven lid to create even heat distribution and promote even baking. Use heatproof gloves or tongs to handle the hot coals or briquettes.
- Bake the cake: Allow the cake to bake in the Dutch oven according to your recipe’s instructions, taking into consideration the adjustments for campfire baking and high-altitude camping if applicable. Keep a close eye on the cake to prevent burning or undercooking. You can periodically lift the lid and check for doneness using a toothpick or the touch test.
- Rotate the Dutch oven: To ensure even baking, you may need to rotate the Dutch oven and lid periodically during the baking process to distribute the heat evenly.
- Remove the cake from the Dutch oven: Once the cake is fully baked, carefully remove the Dutch oven from the campfire using heatproof gloves or tongs. Place it on a heatproof surface and allow it to cool slightly.
For Foil Wrapped Cake
- Take a piece of aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray.
- Pour your cake batter onto the foil and spread it out evenly.
- Wrap the foil around the cake, making sure it’s sealed tight.
- Place the cake on the hot coals and cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
- Carefully remove the cake from the coals and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
And there you have it, a delicious cake cooked over a campfire. Just be sure to keep an eye on it while it’s cooking, and don’t be afraid to adjust the cooking time if needed. Most importantly remember to have fun no matter how it turns out.
Q: What type of cake recipes work best for campfire baking?
A: When choosing cake recipes for campfire baking, it's important to keep in mind that campfire cooking can be unpredictable, with fluctuating temperatures and uneven heat distribution. It's best to choose recipes that are forgiving and can tolerate some variation in cooking times and temperatures.
Q: Can I use a regular cake recipe for baking over a campfire?
A: Absolutly. In fact we have the best luck with the regular boxed recipes. Once you get more experience there are endless ways to get more creative but start simple.
Q: What are some tips for achieving even baking over a campfire?
A: Getting an even bake is the biggest challenge when baking over a campfire but there are a few things that you can do to ensure an even bake. First keep a close eye on the heat and make adjustments. Move and rotate the cake every 10-15 minutes and keep the fire as even as possible. Second, use an oven thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cake while it's baking.
Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when baking a cake over a campfire?
A: The biggest mistake is not keeping an eye on the fire while baking and allowing the cake to get too hot on one side. This will lead to an uneven bake.
Q: How do I know when the cake is done when baking over a campfire?
A: Timing isn't as useful as it is when baking in an oven so you will need to pay extra attention to other indicators. Check the color, smell, and texture and ensure that the center is fully set. A toothpick or cake tester will also be helpful.
Q: Are there any safety precautions I need to take when baking a cake over a campfire?
A: Ensure you are using proper cookware which I covered above. Many of the cake pans you use at home wont hold up to direct flames. Other than that be careful not to burn yourself and follow these [campfire safety tips](/camping/simple-campfire-safety-tips/).
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By Summer and Bill
Summer and Bill are the dynamic duo behind Adventureite.com, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to explore the great outdoors. With a combined lifetime of experience traveling and adventuring across America, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. From hiking to camping, kayaking to travel, Summer and Bill are passionate about helping others discover the beauty of the natural world.