This Instant Pot cake is an amazing chocolate dessert that you can whip up WITHOUT turning on your oven (or if you don't HAVE an oven). It's also Paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

If you're sick of getting dry chocolate cake, I have a solution for you. Because, well, who likes dry chocolate cake? Instead – make this Instant Pot cake.

You probably wouldn't expect that an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker can give you deliciously …. oh man…. how really do you say this without offending like 90% of the population? Um, so the Huffington Post says I can say these words instead of the word I want to use:

  • “not dry” (creative)
  • “hydrated” (really…. hydrated? For a cake?)
  • “good crumb” (that's a stretch)
  • “spongy” (ok, that's a bit better but not quuuite what I'm going for)
  • “divine” (I guess I'll take that one)

 

You get the idea, right? It ain't dry, and it tastes DIVINE 🙂

A scene of a chocolate cake on a white stand with fresh berries and coconut whipped cream on a turquoise tray

 

Why Make an Instant Pot Cake

When I first heard of making desserts in the Instant Pot, my first thought was “Why would you do that?”.  I mean, cakes in the oven work just fine!

But as I did more research and made them myself, I realized there are some advantages to it. Some disadvantages though too.

 

Advantages:

  • You don't need to turn your oven on. This is great on a hot day.
  • You don't need to preheat your oven or worry about any exact temperatures – I like this since my oven sucks. It consistently runs inconsistently!
  • If you don't HAVE an oven you can still make one – so in a college dorm, a small apartment, a tiny house, an RV, during a kitchen remodel, etc
  • If your oven is completely occupied you can still make a cake (holidays, dinner parties)
  • The cake seems to consistently need the same amount of time to “bake”, unlike in an oven where often have to do the toothpick test to see if it is really done or not and often have to add a few more minutes, then a few more minutes…
  • The cake consistency comes out “divine” – see above terminology 🙂

 

Disadvantages:

  • You can't make more than one layer at a time, so if you want to make a layer cake you're better off baking it in the oven
  • These cakes seem best served warm and within a day of baking (at least the Paleo versions – which is often true of most Paleo baked goods)
  • You're limited to a 6-inch round cake if using a 6-quart Instant Pot. No long flat cakes, square, larger circles, or interesting shapes

Close up of chocolate cake on a white plate garnished with coconut whipped cream and some fresh blueberries and raspberries

 

How to Make A Cake In the Instant Pot

 

So you're probably wondering exactly HOW you do this feat of “baking” a cake in a pressure cooker, right? Trust me, I was very confused about how this would work at first. It's not complicated though, and not altogether different from baking a cake in the oven.

 

Paleo freebie library

 

Tips for Success With An Instant Pot Cake

There are a few things that are essential to make this a success:

  • You need to use the “pot-in-pot” method – this is where you still put your cake into a normal round metal or silicone baking pan INSIDE the inner pot of the Instant Pot
  • You must use a liquid like water in the inner pot. This is essential in pretty much EVERY Instant Pot pressure cooking recipe, and this is no different.
  • You need to use a wire rack, steamer basket, or trivet to keep the cake off the bottom of the inner pot
  • You don't want to do a quick release of pressure at the end because it'll ruin the texture of the cake. I find that 10 minutes of natural release is perfect, then you can quick release the rest of the pressure (if there's still any left)
  • You should eat a cake cooked this way within one day, preferably soon after it's made, as it does start to dry out

 

The Process

The initial process for making a cake in the Instant Pot is the same as baking a cake in the oven. It diverges a bit once you cook it though.

  1. Grease the baking pan, add parchment if necessary, mix up the ingredients and add the batter to the baking pan.
  2. Pour water (2 cups should be fine for the majority of electric pressure cookers) into the bottom of the inner pot
  3. Add a wire rack, steamer basket, or trivet to keep the cake off the bottom
  4. Place the cake on the rack
  5. Close the lid and close the pressure valve to “Sealing”
  6. Hit “Manual” and adjust the time to what is indicated in the recipe and let it cook
  7. When it beeps, let it naturally release for at least 10 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure if needed
  8. Let the cake sit for 10-15 minutes more, then run a butter knife around the outside of the pan to release it onto a plate/serving dish. Best served warm.

 

A scene with a closeup of a slice chocolate cake and the rest of the cake in the background

You May Need:

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I have this Instant Pot –> the 6 qt DUO 7:1. it's the older model, therefore cheaper now, but I love it!

Instant Pot Duo 6 qt 7:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

6-inch aluminum cake pan

cake pan

 

 

 

 

Sealing Rings (use one for savory dishes, one for sweet, and one if you make yogurt – this helps your sweet dishes not taste like last night's chili)

Sealing rings for Instant Pot

 

 

 

 

 

Steam Rack (get this to keep your cake off the bottom if your Instant Pot didn't come with one)

Steam Rack for Instant Pot

 

 

 

 

A scene from above of a chocolate cake on a white stand with fresh berries and coconut whipped cream on a turquoise tray

Instant Pot Chocolate Cake Recipe

When first exploring this whole world of Instant Pot cakes, I originally set out to make an Instant Pot version of my Apple Cinnamon Cake. I DID do that and will share that recipe in a few weeks, but I've been having a craving for some fudgy chocolate cake so decided to figure that out, especially since Valentine's Day happens to be a few days after I'm writing this.

This cake is, of course, Paleo, since ya know, this is a Paleo blog and all, BUT I really think it'll be a crowd pleaser for those of you non-Paleo eaters. It's naturally gluten-free through the use of almond flour and it's also dairy-free.

A few things to note:

  • If you are finding that it's not rising as much as you'd like, add a bit more baking soda. I have to make this caveat since I haven't tested this recipe at sea level and any baking recipes can be finicky at different altitudes (I live at 5430 ft). BTW – please let me know if you have made this at sea level so I can update this post to reflect what you need to use! 
  • Use the parchment paper circle on the bottom of your cake pan because it helps immensely with getting the cake out of the pan in one piece
  • To make this cake entirely dairy-free, make sure you use a dairy-free chocolate chip. I like Enjoy Life brand.

 

You can watch me make this cake with my 8-year-old son Nathan on this Facebook Live video (the link is to YouTube, so you don't need a Facebook account)

Print
Close up of chocolate cake on a white plate garnished with coconut whipped cream and some fresh blueberries and raspberries

Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Michele Spring
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

This Instant Pot Cake is not at ALL dry and intensely flavorful. Like a delicious, fudgy brownie that you made without having to heat your house up with your oven.


Ingredients


Instructions

Line a 6-inch stainless steel cake pan with a piece of parchment paper and grease lightly.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk, stirring frequently. When melted, add the palm shortening and stir until melted. Turn the heat off and set aside to cool a bit.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the eggs and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and stir to mix. Add the dry ingredients and gently fold in just until everything is mixed together.  Pour into the prepared cake pan.

Pour 2 cups of water into the metal liner of your Instant Pot. Then place the metal wire trivet into the basin. Place the cake pan on top of that, close the lid, and set the vent to the sealing position. Press the Manual button and then the ‘+' to adjust to 40 minutes.  (It takes about 10 min to come to pressure)

When the Instant Pot beeps at the end of cooking, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure. Let the cake sit for another 10-15 minutes before serving. This cake is best served warm.


Notes

*If you aren't Paleo you can use regular cane sugar.

If you can tolerate dairy, I HIGHLY recommend checking out my friend Kristen's Instant Pot Creme Brulee. OMG, it looks so good! Wish dairy and I were friends…

 

Make Paleo easier, faster, less expensive, and way more fun with all the resources in my Freebie Library! Click on the picture to find out how to access it.

 

MORE POSTS YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Instant Pot Breakfast Porridge

chocolate zucchini bread

Instant Pot Cinnamon Apple Cake

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. This means I might receive a small amount of compensation if you purchase something through one of the links. This does not mean the price will be any greater for you, in fact, I might be able to negotiate even better prices and discounts for you. The compensation I receive helps me pay for the cost of running this blog and bringing you all of this free information. Thanks in advance for supporting me!

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