How to Make a Birthday Cake Over a Campfire

How to Make a Birthday Cake Over a CampfireJust about anything can be cooked or baked out in the backcountry. Though icing the tiers of a three-layer cake may be a bit unrealistic, any backpacker who loves to cook knows that just because you aren't at home doesn't mean you can't fix up something special. If it's your buddy's birthday, surprise her with a cake even if you're camping in the middle of nowhere.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Frying pan
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered milk
  • 2 tbsp. powdered egg
  • ½ tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar or honey
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. melted margarine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Birthday candles
Step 1
Measure the ingredients for the cake before leaving for your trip. Place the dry ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and label it "Cake" or "My Powdered Vitamins" if you want the cake to be a surprise. Having everything measured in advance makes it a lot easier to cook in the field.
Step 2
Mix all the dry ingredients in a clean cooking pot, and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir until smooth.
Step 3
Light your backpacking stove and set it to medium heat. Pour your batter into a 12-inch nonstick frying pan and cover it with a lid.
Step 4
Make sure the stove is not too hot on any one area of the pan. You may wish to rotate the pan several times during cooking. Cook your cake for about 20 minutes or until it is golden brown. Insert a knife or pine needle in the middle, and if it comes out clean, it is done.
Step 5
Let the cake cool in the frying pan. Since you are in the backcountry, it is easier to cut pieces for people right from the pan. If you want to cool it down faster, you can turn the frying pan over and gently tap the bottom so that the cake comes out. Catch it on a plate or with your hand, and set it on a clean surface to cool. The back of a frying pan lid works as a cooling rack, as does an empty plastic bag on a flat rock. If it's windy, you may want to just let it cool in the frying pan to prevent dirt from blowing on it.
Step 6
Frost the cake with either a sweet peanut butter and sugar mix (½ cup peanut butter and ½ cup sugar or honey) or backcountry chocolate frosting (½ cup cocoa mix and ½ cup sugar or honey melted with 3 tbsp. margarine and 2 tbsp. water; use coffee instead of water for mocha flavor). Stick a few birthday candles in your cake, light them and you have yourself a party.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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