Tuesday, 20 September 2011

013 - Chocolate Cake on the Barbecue

Recently I've been wondering whether I could use my Smokey Joe for indirect cooking. I've also wanted to do more desserts on the barbecue. So I decided to kill 2 beer-can-birds with 1 briquette (...sorry!) and attempt to cook a chocolate cake on my little Weber.

My initial reservations about whether indirect was going to be possible on the Smokey Joe was to do with whether I could get enough separation between the charcoal and the food itself in such a small space. As I was planning to bake the cake in a disposable foil tray, I was hoping that as long as none of the charcoal spilled vertically under the cake, that any diagonal radiated heat would be partially reflected by the shiny surface of the foil.

To remove my own baking skills, or lack of baking skills, from the equation I opted to buy a ready-made cake mix rather than attempt my own. I opted for a new one from Mary Berry. It actually came with it's own non-stick cardboard tray which I thought was quite novel - but I wasn't sure it would last very long in the barbecue!

After adding some sunflower oil and 1 egg, I whisked it up for a couple of minutes before adding the mixture to the tray.

Then I prepared the Smokey Joe for indirect. Using about 1/4 chimney of briquettes, I pushed them as far to the sides as I could get them - leaving a long cake shaped space in the middle of the barbecue. Then I put the lid on and walked away, hoping it would work.

One advantage of baking a cake on the barbecue like this rather than in a conventional oven is that I could test how "done" the cake was without having to open up the barbecue - I simply poked a skewer through the air vents! :-) After about 30 minutes the skewer came out looking relatively free of liquid, and only a little sticky - so I decided to open the lid and take a look.

I was really quite chuffed with the results - it looked like a cake! And, at only 30 minutes bake time, it took only 5 minutes longer than the packet recommended.

After it had cooled in the tray, I added the chocolate icing on top and stood back to admire the finished result :-)

I'm not saying that I'll be baking everything on the barbecue from now on. After all, this was a simple tray bake that was probably quite forgiving in terms of what temperatures it could be baked at. But it might be a fun thing to do if you're ever out camping and want a bit of cake :-)

...and no, the Butt Rub wasn't added to the cake mix!


  1. Thanks for writing this. I am going to test making a cake on a bbq with my boyfriend for his father's birthday. lets hope we get invited back to family dinner after this:)

  2. Thanks for your comment Tina.
    Hope the cake on the BBQ goes well!
    Let me know :-)

  3. We did something similar yesterday at a BBQ comp in Switzerland - Banana and Butterscotch filled cupcakes. Worked really well and tasted fantastic but obviously not popular with the judges as out of 5 teams we got no mention. Maybe they didn't believe we did it using the BBQ...

  4. THANKYOU! Finally a simple answer to my problem. Our stove died, and right now getting a new one is out, so its camp cooking on the 2 gas mates and the Weber Q. So far all good, except there are some things you just want to use an oven for! I did likewise, experimented with a packet mix. I burnt the bottom but probably because I pre-heated as I would cooking a roast. I put the foil base on the trivet and that seemed to work. Toom 30 mins. Next time I'll skip the pre-heat. GREAT POST! Michelle

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