Cake and camping go together almost as well as coffee and camping (if you like coffee, that is). All three together? Mind = blown! But freshly brewed coffee at camp accompanied by four-day old cake takes the appeal out of the idea somewhat.
What if you could bake cake on your campfire at the same time as brewing up the perfect cup of Joe? Yep, campfire cake is a thing. And it’s not a cupcake with an icing campfire on top, before you ask. It’s a cake that you cook on your campfire. In fact, this version of campfire cake is cooked in an orange. So no need to even bother with any clean up afterwards! Heaven.
In this article you’ll learn how to make campfire cake in an orange as well as a couple of other methods of making campfire cake.
So put the kettle on, brew up your coffee, and enjoy!
- How to make cake on a campfire
- Dutch oven campfire cake
- Campfire cake in a muffin tin
- Campfire cake in an orange
- Campfire cake in a can
How to make cake on a campfire
Though baking isn’t the easiest method of cooking when camping, there are actually a few ways you can make cake over a campfire. Some campfire cake baking methods need specialist equipment whilst others are incredibly simple and need very little equipment.
Here are a couple of different ways to make cake on a campfire:
Dutch oven campfire cake
The best way to make cake on a fire is to bake it in a Dutch oven. However, Dutch ovens are expensive, heavy and not very portable, which is why most campers don’t have one! Making cake in a Dutch oven is also not feasible if you’re cooking out in the wild and have either hiked or paddled your gear to your cooking spot.
You can read about how to bake a cake in Dutch oven in our upcoming article.
Campfire cake in a muffin tin or cake ring
If you’re really into baking then you may want to consider investing in some specialist campfire cake making equipment. Cast iron muffin tins can be used suspended over a fire, placed on coals or used in conjunction with a Dutch oven. Alternatively, cast iron cake rings are available and are used in a similar way to Dutch ovens.
For more information about different ways to cook over a fire, read our guide to campfire cooking equipment.
Campfire cake in an orange
The above methods of making campfire cake are excellent if you have the right equipment. But, as mentioned, lugging along cast iron cookware isn’t always feasible. But this hasn’t stopped clever campers from developing their own, equipment-free version of campfire cake.
Not content with the lack of afternoon cake and tea in their lives, said clever campers resorted to using the tools that were (or weren’t) available to them. And as a result, campfire cake in an orange was discovered. By whom or when this discovery was made, no-body will ever know. But this simple method is most certainly the easiest (and most delicious) way to make cake on a fire.
The benefits of making campfire cake in an orange
Aside from it just being delicious, there are also a few other reasons why choosing to make cake in an orange as your next campfire dessert is a good idea.
It’s a fun camping activity to do with kids
They can do all the preparation themselves and even place the cakes in the fire themselves, with some supervision.
The cakes can cook while you make the rest of your meal
Because the wrapped oranges are placed directly into the fire, you can still cook over the fire if there’s a grill placed over it. This means that you don’t have to wait too long after your main course for the your dessert to arrive!
There’s no clean up
Until you’ve got your campfire cake baking skills dialled, there’s a high chance that you’ll manage to burn the base of a Dutch oven cake, leaving a crusty, sticky mess to clean up. Plus, if you’re making a single cake (instead of muffins), you’ll probably have to serve it up on plates. All of that means extra cleaning up. Campfire cakes in oranges require no clean up at all, as you eat directly from the orange. That said, it can be a messy affair, but the majority of the mess will be contained within the foil.
The oranges flavour the cake
Cooking the cakes inside oranges means that you get a delicious orange flavoured cake without adding any orange zest to the batter, which, lets face it, is a bit too faffy for camp cooking! Plus, you get some bonus orange flesh and juice to enjoy later.
Campfire cake in an orange recipe
To make this recipe as easy as possible you can simply use a pre-made cake mix. However, I prefer to mix up my own ingredients. Either way, the results are delish!
The below ingredients can be weighed, mixed and placed in a sealed tupperware box at home before you go camping:
- 35g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 40g brown sugar
- 85g dark chocolate chips
- 35g butter
- 1 egg
- 85ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
NOTE: for ease, I pre-mix the egg, milk and vanilla in one container and put the butter in another container. This makes packing and transportation really easy when camping.
- Soften the butter, either by putting it in the sun for 10 minutes of melting it on your stove top or campfire.
- Once melted, add it to a large bowl and then add in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Whisk together.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the bowl without over mixing.
- Cut the tops off the oranges and scoop out the flesh. Put this aside for munching on later or for serving with the muffin, if you like.
- Spoon the muffin batter into the oranges so that they are about ⅔ full.
- Put the lids back on the oranges and wrap each orange in foil. I leave a little peak of foil at the top of mine to make it easier to move them when hot.
- Place the oranges in the embers of a mature fire, keeping them upright. If the heat is uneven then carefully rotate the oranges after about 10 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, carefully check to see how your campfire cakes are cooking. Open up the foil, lift the orange lid and insert a small knife or skewer into the centre of the batter. If it comes out clean then your campfire cakes are done! If not, then continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, and then check again.
Campfire cake in a can
I really like this method of making campfire cake. First up, it’s really straightforward and simple. Secondly, it reuses cans that would otherwise be tossed in the recycling. And thirdly, it uses less foil and therefore creates less waste. Making cake in a can is also a great alternative to cake in an orange for those that don’t like oranges!
How to make campfire cake in a can
- Grease the inside of a clean can of beans or soup, or similar.
- Fill about ⅔ of the can with cake batter. You can use the above recipe or a pre-made cake batter.
- Cover the can with a small amount of tin foil or a lid, if you have one.
- Place the can in the embers of the fire for around 15 minutes, turning if the heat is uneven.
- Remove from the fire with heat proof gloves or tongs and enjoy!
I’ve used this method to cook campfire cake in my mug which has a lid. The results are just the same, but the lid means that no foil is used. Zero waste!